Part Two: 1990 - 1997

SR = Shostakovich Reconsidered
TNS = The New Shostakovich

1990 January. Fourth Estate (London) and Northeastern University Press (Boston) publish The New Shostakovich by Ian MacDonald. "I highly recommend Ian MacDonald's book The New Shostakovich. It is one of the best biographies of Dmitri Shostakovich I have read." -- Maxim Shostakovich. "The best biography of the composer available." -- Andrei Navrozov. "Remarkable... gets under the skin of Shostakovich and understands the perversity of the Soviet system and what it has inflicted on humanity." -- Semyon Bychkov. "Thank you for your wonderful book on DDS." -- Vladimir Ashkenazy. "Wonderful... serious, deep, well researched, well written." -- Maya Pritsker. "Brilliant." -- Marina Ledin. "I have spent most of Christmas reading your excellent book, which my dear friend Maxim Shostakovich reminded me about by saying 'It is the best book written about my father'." -- Seppo Heikinheimo. "Anti-Stalinist readings, of astounding blatancy and jejune specificity, for all of Shostakovich's works. As music criticism, altogether worthless." -- Richard Taruskin (2000). "Trite." -- Tamara Bernstein (2000). "A moronic tract." -- Laurel Fay (1995).
February. Abandoning faith in Lenin, Gorbachev vows to bring about "the spiritual and political liberation of Soviet society".
"On some musical citations in Shostakovich's music", by the composer's long-standing colleague Lev Lebedinsky, is published in Novy Mir. [Tr. Tatjana Marovic and Ian MacDonald, as "Code, quotation and collage: some musical allusions in the works of Dmitri Shostakovich", in Ho and Feofanov, Shostakovich Reconsidered (1998).] Lebedinsky confirms Shostakovich's allusion, in his Eleventh Symphony, to the Hungarian Uprising (cf. TNS, pp. 215-16); reveals the quotation of "Suliko", Stalin's favourite song, in the First Cello Concerto; asserts that the march in the first movement of the Seventh Symphony was conceived by Shostakovich as "the 'Stalin' theme" and that the Twelfth Symphony originated as "a criticism of Lenin" (cf. TNS, pp. 225-7); and confirms the autobiographical, anti-communist subtext of the Eighth Quartet (cf. TNS, pp. 222-4): "The quartet was composed immediately after he had joined the Communist Party -- and this, to Shostakovich, was equivalent to death itself."
June. The Leninist old guard is defeated at 28th Party Congress. The Soviet system is on the point of economic collapse.
June. Soviet issue of Tempo. Includes Malcolm MacDonald's "The Anti-Formalist Rayok -- Learners Start Here!": "Rayok represents, in an extreme vitriolic form, an aspect of Shostakovich's musical humour that could only express itself publicly through a protective mask of irony. The vitriol is here undiluted, because Rayok was written with no thought of publication."
"Shostakovich: the official and the authentic", by a long-time colleague of Shostakovich, the musicologist Daniel Zhitomirsky, is published in Daugava. [Tr. Tatjana Marovic, Katia Vinogradova, Ian MacDonald: "Shostakovich: the public and the private."] Zhitomirsky confirms Shostakovich's alienation from the Soviet regime, and endorses Testimony at length: "I'm convinced that no serious scholar of Shostakovich's work -- and, in particular of his life and times -- should disregard this source."
November 11th. "A False Note", by Shostakovich's former pupil Yuri Levitin, is published in Pravda. Levitin contests Lebedinsky's claim that the march in the first movement of the Seventh Symphony was conceived as "the 'Stalin' theme", calling Lebedinsky a "zealous scribe" and accusing him of "primitive vulgarisation".
November 24th. Harlow Robinson (The New York Times) recalls that, in Moscow in 1979, when copies of Testimony were circulating clandestinely, "Soviet musicologists and musicians (including those who knew him well) expressed reservations about Mr. Volkov's motives and methods, [but] they agreed almost unanimously that this was the Shostakovich they knew".
December 29th. "The Gulag and Shostakovich's Memorial", by the eminent Russian writer Andrei Bitov (Nezavisimaya gazeta). (Tr. Susan Brownsberger in Ho and Feofanov, Shostakovich Reconsidered (1998).] Bitov writes: "Shostakovich was not a lost sheep. He knew. He knew what he was doing and what to expect for it. Shostakovich survived nothing less than execution. For him, the execution lasted at least two decades."
1991 January 13th. Soviet special forces in Lithuania storm the Vilnius television tower in an attempt to deter separatism. Fifteen people are killed.
March 19th. Lev Lebedinsky's letter "The master's honour" published in Pravda: "Writing in the Stalinist years, [Shostakovich] had to respond to everything the era brought with it. Moreover it was a condition of that time that he could rarely reveal his specific thoughts. Thus in order to express his convictions, while at the same time concealing their form and content, he, like many of the most honest and greatest artists, was often forced to resort to the use of 'Aesopian language'. Many have not understood this fact and, even now, refuse to understand it."
May. Maxim Shostakovich (Gramophone) rejects Sofiya Khentova's biography of his father (1985-6): "I hate her book and I told her so, because all the explanations come from the wrong political angle. The facts are okay, but she makes him look like a genuine son of the ****ing Communist Party."
May. Maxim Shostakovich (interview, DSCH) comments on Ian MacDonald's The New Shostakovich: "A very good book. I like this book."
May. Ian MacDonald, "Shostakovich and Bulgakov: a significant affinity" (DSCH Newsletter XVIII).
June. Yuri Temirkanov (CD Review): "I am always nervous when I conduct Shostakovich in the West because people know only superficially what happened; they don't know the real horror of the facts, and to understand Shostakovich fully you have to understand the extent of those horrors."
June 12th. Yeltsin elected President of the RSFSR.
July 20th. Yeltsin bans the CPSU from holding office in Russia.
July. Semyon Bychkov, interviewed about Shostakovich on BBC-2, calls the Seventh Symphony a universal protest against "Hitler... Stalin... Lenin..."
"On the debate about Shostakovich", by the musicologist Lev Mazel', is published in Sovetskaya muzika. [Tr. Tatjana Marovic and Ian MacDonald, as "An Inner Rebellion: thoughts on the current debate about Shostakovich", in Ho and Feofanov, Shostakovich Reconsidered (1998).] Mazel': "[Shostakovich] gave all the outward appearances of obeying orders while staging an inner rebellion. We should be eternally grateful that throughout those desperate times he managed to preserve his genius and create works of immense power." Mazel' criticises Yuri Levitin's attack on Lebedinsky (1990). Levitin makes no response.
August 18th-21st. The Communist/KGB old guard, attempting a coup against Gorbachev, is defeated by army rebels and parliamentary resistance led by Boris Yeltsin and his deputy Alexander Rutskoi.
August 26th. Semyon Bychkov is interviewed five days after the abortive coup (DSCH Newsletter XIX). What does Bychkov think Shostakovich would have made of it all? "He would have got very drunk! I wish he and Sakharov had lived to see this day. Sakharov at least saw the beginnings. Shostakovich probably would have written another requiem. Then again, who's better off? Shostakovich, who's been dead since long before even glasnost', or someone who's still alive but conscious of a life destroyed by the old Soviet regime?" And what of Testimony? "Whether it happened exactly as Volkov said word for word is a secondary and not very interesting question. Essentially, what I read in that book is what I hear in his music. The spirit is true."
Derek Hulme, Dmitri Shostakovich: Catalogue, Bibliography and Discography (second edition).
December 1st. Ukraine votes for independence.
December 25th. Gorbachev resigns.
December 31st. The USSR is abolished at midnight.
Winter. Christopher Norris, "Shostakovich and Cold War Cultural Politics" (Southern Humanities Review) -- a hostile review of Ian MacDonald's The New Shostakovich: "The book proceeds by systematically inverting the value-judgements and the standards of musico-political accountability that were applied to Shostakovich with such brutal consistency throughout the greater part of his composing career."
1992 Inauguration of the International Shostakovich Association (Vice-President Irina Shostakovich). The body's founding statement is unequivocally revisionist.
January 25th. Maxim Shostakovich appears with Solomon Volkov at a Shostakovich symposium at Russell Sage College, New York. Maxim: "[Testimony] is a very important book which revealed a whole aspect of the composer and his life in his homeland that was really unknown before."
Spring. Ian MacDonald, "Commonsense about Shostakovich: breaking the hermeneutic circle" (Southern Humanities Review). A response to Norris's review in the same magazine in Winter 1991. [Revised as "Universal Because Specific" in Ho and Feofanov, Shostakovich Reconsidered (1980.]
Spring. Vladimir Ashkenazy (interview, DSCH Newsletter XX) observes that passages from Testimony have appeared in Sovetskaya muzika recently. DSCH: "What do you think the response will be? Will people be surprised?" Ashkenazy: "Not at all. A confirmation of what they already knew. As far as the character and image of Shostakovich is concerned, I'm sure [Testimony] is true to life. I was always sure Shostakovich hated the Soviet system because we all hated it."
Summer. Richard Taruskin (The Slavic Review) dismisses Ian MacDonald's The New Shostakovich: "A counter-caricature of Shostakovich, asserted in the teeth of the old official view (itself a transparent political fabrication and long recognised as such) that cast the composer as an unwavering apostle of Soviet patriotism and established ideology. Instead, we are now bade to believe, he was an unremitting subversive who used his music as a means of Aesopian truth-telling in a society built on falsehood. MacDonald's thesis is well insulated and as tightly argued as any conspiracy theory and the author writes with flair. But the new view is as simpleminded and unrealistically one-dimensional as the old. The very ease with which the author proves his case undoes it; for if any fool can see 'the new Shostakovich' for what he was, then any informer or commissar might as easily have caught him out in the evil days of yore."
June. Mstislav Rostropovich, interviewed by Rob Ainsley for Classic CD, tells the story of how he once found Shostakovich practicising his signature upside down. "It's for 'my' articles in the newspapers," Shostakovich explained (articles ghosted for him along approved lines and brought to him for his mandatory signature). "It's so that I can sign them when they push them across the table to me without having to turn them round to read them."
November 23rd. Maxim Shostakovich is interviewed with Solomon Volkov on Radio Liberty: "I would like to take this opportunity and thank you for your book about my father -- for your description of the political atmosphere of suffering of this giant artist."
Solomon Volkov (Muzykal'naya akademiya): "I have a perfectly clean conscience about any debt to Dmitry Dmitriyevich Shostakovich. I have accomplished everything we agreed to."
1993 "Shostakovich" by Daniel Zhitomirsky is published in Muzikal'naya akademiya. [Tr. Véronique Zaytzeff and Frederick Morrison in Ho and Feofanov, Shostakovich Reconsidered (1998).] The essay develops material first deployed in Daugava in 1990.
March. Malcolm H. Brown (Notes) attacks Ian MacDonald's The New Shostakovich. Brown refers to Maxim Shostakovich's "long-standing and outspoken scepticism about Volkov" and asserts that "Maxim has allowed his family name to be co-opted for commerce on behalf of MacDonald's book". He adds: "As more of Shostakovich's contemporaries speak out and as reliable documentary information becomes available, the 'real' Shostakovich is likely to emerge as both a sometime closet dissident and a sometime collaborator." (Brown's attack is reproduced in the Summer issue of melos.) Ian MacDonald responds in the same issue of melos and in the March 1994 issue of Notes: "I am far from alone in holding these views -- almost all recent Russian commentators share, in varying degrees, my vision of Shostakovich." MacDonald points out that Maxim Shostakovich "has, on numerous occasions since 1986, authenticated Testimony, reserving judgement only on what he calls 'rumours', none of which, he stresses, affect his judgement of the main thrust of the book". MacDonald charges Brown with seeking to maintain "the old, worn-out image of Shostakovich as a confused, corrupt, and impenetrable introvert... The key to hearing Shostakovich is to recognise his intelligence." Malcolm H. Brown replies (Notes, March 1994): "Ian MacDonald just doesn't get the point that it makes ordinary commonsense not to trust someone you know to be a liar, and that's what we know Solomon Volkov to be. It doesn't really matter how many ex-Soviets believe that Testimony is 'essentially accurate'."
May. "Shostakovich's Idioms", by the emigré musicologist Vladimir Zak, is published in Yevreysky mir. [Tr. Véronique Zaytzeff and Frederick Morrison in Ho and Feofanov, Shostakovich Reconsidered (1998).] "The abstract language of music allowed [Shostakovich] to be outspoken, right to the very end. His great symphonic anthology of the totalitarian regime unreservedly reveals the sufferings of a man condemned 'to play a double game' or, rather, lead a double life." Zak discusses Shostakovich's public tactics of Aesopian protest and endorses Testimony.
Summer. All-Shostakovich issue of melos. German Shostakovich expert Detlef Gojowy: "The legend that circulated earlier, insinuating that [Testimony] was a falsification, was completely disposed of, [yet] is... still disturbing some Western minds." Irina Nikolska interviews various Russian musicians. Vera Volkova, musicologist, calls Shostakovich "a musical dissident": "My perception of Shostakovich's music is quite consonant with the image created in the composer's memoirs by Solomon Volkov." Lev Lebedinsky: "I regard [Testimony] as one of the most important publications devoted to the composer, and its authenticity doesn't raise any questions or doubts in me. This is the truth about Shostakovich." Lebedinsky describes the Twelfth Symphony as "a denunciation of Leninism": "It contains a characteristic soliloquy where Lenin's speech is presented in the form of a parody." Asked about Volkov, Boris Tishchenko replies: "I think it non-ethical to mention this name in a conversation about Shostakovich." Israel Nestyev: "In Shostakovich's works, tragedy is often neighbour to fierce sarcasm directed against narrow-mindedness, banality, inhumanity." Nestyev sees the slow movement of the Fifth Symphony as "a requiem for the millions of innocent victims of Stalin's regime", adding: "Not a single other artist -- no painter, dramatist, or film-maker -- could think of using their art as a means of expressing protest against Stalin's Terror. Only instrumental music was able to express the terrible truth of that time." Nestyev on Testimony: "This book is known to be a reflection of Shostakovich's views -- and, indeed, the genuine talks of this musicologist [Solomon Volkov] with the composer are included in the book. At the same time parts of it would never have been approved by Dmitri Dmitryevich and he would never have agreed to publish them in his lifetime." Marina Sabinina claims to have been personally unimpressed by Solomon Volkov and suggests that parts of Testimony were obtained from other "pupils" of Shostakovich. She otherwise confirms the composer's alienation from the Soviet regime, but stresses the mocking irony by which he preserved his inner resilience: "He was able to disengage himself from the events of Soviet reality, to soar above it." She dismisses his "falsely patriotic" choral works as having "very little in common with his real style" and describes Shostakovich's scores for such "repulsive, hypocritical movies as The Unforgettable Year 1919, The Fall of Berlin, and The Meeting on the Elbe" as "compromises which repelled him as an artist and were bitter and humiliating for him". (She adds that he had to write these things, even though doing so "violated" him, because he had no other source of income at that time.) Observing that foreigners hear Shostakovich's music as "pure" music out of social context and thus miss its "dramatic" character, Sabinina claims that the third movement of the Eleventh Symphony "could be associated with the mass executions of the Soviet time and Stalin's reprisals, while the first part with its melodies of pre-revolutionary songs of hard labour and banishment recall the victims of the Gulag -- the millions who perished in concentration camps and prisons". She confesses having had to throw out "whole passages" of her 1976 book on Shostakovich's symphonies in order to get it published: "I would have liked to show truthfully the tragedy of this genius who suffered persecutions from rude, uncouth nonentities who tried to crush and trample him; who had to buy the right to be himself with certain concessions. But it was impossible to speak it outright, so by force of necessity I resorted to hints, allusions, and innuendos." Manashir Yakubov purports to discredit the picture of Shostakovich as "an internal dissident" painted by Lev Lebedinsky and Daniel Zhitomirsky by referring to pre-war writings by these authors when they considered the composer to be an orthodox Soviet artist. Yakubov more or less shares Sabinina's view of the genesis of Testimony, nominating Lev Lebedinsky and Lev Arnshtam as key informants. Yakubov's view of Shostakovich is paradoxical and often self-contradictory (e.g., "He was an internal emigré, like many other members of the intelligentsia -- but at the same time he was a patriot sharing the belief in some ideas of revolution").
September 21st. Yeltsin's opponents in the Russian parliament barricade themselves in the White House.
September 26th. Mstislav Rostropovich and the National Symphony Orchestra give a free concert in Red Square to rapturous crowds.
Isaak Glikman's Pisma k drugu (Letters to a Friend: Dmitri Shostakovich to Isaak Glikman) is published in Russia. Several letters contain mocking references to Soviet conventions. In general, Glikman's view of Shostakovich does not differ from the vast majority of the composer's other Soviet colleagues. Richard Taruskin (The Atlantic Monthly [1995, February]) acknowledges the anti-communist satire in Shostakovich's letters to Glikman, but describes Glikman's explanatory comments as an illegitimate attempt to "take possession" of their meaning, as if other valid interpretations of a quite different kind might exist. Taruskin does not indicate what these alternative interpretations might be.
October 3rd-4th. The "October Events". General Makashov's pro-parliamentary troops attempt to take control of Moscow's Ostankino TV station, but are repulsed in heavy street fighting. Yeltsin orders the bombardment of the White House. The rebels surrender.
1994 January. "Shostakovich: the man and his age" -- conference held at Michigan University. Inna Barsova argues that Shostakovich became creatively alienated from the Soviet regime during the late 1920s. Richard Taruskin dismisses Ian MacDonald's The New Shostakovich as "a travesty". Conceding the presence of subversive irony in Shostakovich's letters to Isaak Glikman, Taruskin warns against searching for hidden meanings in the composer's music. Nelly Kravetz reveals the "Elmira" code in the Tenth Symphony.
Summer. Valentin Berlinsky (DSCH Journal 1): "When Shostakovich died, it was said that it was not only the death of a great composer, but the death of a musical conscience."
Krzysztof Meyer's biography Dimitri Shostakovich published in Paris. Igor Shafarevich, "Shostakovich and the Russian Resistance to Communism" (in Shafarevich: sochineniya 2, Moscow).
September. Elizabeth Wilson's Shostakovich: A Life Remembered is published in London. Ian MacDonald reviews it in DSCH Journal 2: "The picture of Shostakovich which emerges from it is overwhelmingly consistent and coherent. I was amazed to find myself still shockable by the full truth about Shostakovich. For, as revealed by Elizabeth Wilson's witnesses, it is far worse than even Testimony suggests, and certainly exceeds the most pessimistic deductions made by me in The New Shostakovich. Critics who have spent years claiming that the accounts given by Solomon Volkov and myself are Cold War caricatures will need all the evasiveness and dishonesty they can muster to wriggle out of this one." Richard Taruskin (The New York Times): "The one indispensable book about the composer."
November 6th. Richard Taruskin, "A Martyred Opera Reflects Its Abominable Time" (The New York Times). Taruskin effectively reiterates his 1989 [March] interpretation of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, slightly changing a key sentence: "Dmitri Shostakovich, till then perhaps Soviet Russia's most loyal musical son and certainly her most talented one, had been made a sacrificial lamb." Taruskin states that Shostakovich has come to be seen in a falsely heroic light -- "a light made garish by sensationalistic publications like Testimony, Solomon Volkov's spurious book of Shostakovich "memoirs", or The New Shostakovich, Ian MacDonald's worthless ventriloquist's act on the music". He adds: "So ineluctably has the opera come to symbolize pertinacity in the face of inhumanity that it is virtually impossible now to see it as an embodiment of that very inhumanity... Shostakovich was writing his opera in defense of the lawless extermination of the kulaks, peasants who were resisting forced collectivization in the brutal period of the first Five Year Plan... His opera is a faithful reflection of an abominable time, and a memento of it."
December. Yeltsin orders action against insurgent Chechnya. During the next two years, the ensuing war costs 25,000 Russian lives.
1995 February. Terry Teachout, "The Problem of Shostakovich" (Commentary). Teachout summarises the debate up to the appearance of Elizabeth Wilson's Shostakovich: A Life Remembered. "The concept of 'secret dissidence' did not suddenly enter the annals of 20th-century music with the publication of Volkov's Testimony. It was the stock-in-trade of innumerable European musicians accused of collaboration with the Nazis. The wartime records of such otherwise distinguished artists as Richard Strauss, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Willem Mengelberg, and Alfred Cortot continue to raise hackles in musical circles, with defenders of these men typically claiming that they privately opposed Hitler and did what they could to help Jewish friends and colleagues escape the Holocaust. Unlike the musicians of the Third Reich, Shostakovich was never in a position to flee his captors... Testimony or no Testimony, it is no longer possible to regard Shostakovich as a faithful servant of the Communist party. Shostakovich: A Life Remembered leaves no doubt whatsoever that he hated Stalin, hated Communism, hated the apparatchiki and the nomenklatura, and that much of his music was in some meaningful sense intended to convey this hatred."
February. Richard Taruskin, "Who Was Shostakovich?" (The Atlantic Monthly). Taruskin argues that Isaak Glikman's comments on Shostakovich's letters to him [1993] constitute "an attempt to contain meaning and foreclose interpretation". Any attempt to suggest that the letters contain anti-communist satire reduces "not only meaning but interest and value". Shostakovich's work is not to be confined by such interpretation: "The fact is that no one owns the meaning of this music, which has always supported (nay, invited -- nay, compelled) multiple opportunistic and contradictory readings." Taruskin analyses rival interpretations of the Seventh Symphony and the issues raised during the 1948 conferences. He admits a sense of subtextual ambiguity in the Fourth Symphony and concedes that the Eighth Quartet contains a "message in a bottle" (which, he argues, reduces its value as a work of art). He attacks Ian MacDonald's "monological" approach to interpretation: "Having ears only for the paraphrase, he is unable to distinguish his own hectoring, monotonous voice from Shostakovich's." He rejects the idea that Shostakovich was a secret dissident: "The mature Shostakovich was not a dissident. The mature Shostakovich was an intelligent. He was heir to a noble tradition of artist and social thought -- one that abhorred injustice and political repression, but also one that valued social commitment, participation in one's community, and solidarity with people. Shostakovich's mature idea of art, in contrast to the egoistic traditions of Western modernism, was based not on alienation but on service. He found a way of maintaining public service and personal integrity under unimaginably hard conditions. In this way he remained, in the time-honored Russian, if not exactly the Soviet sense of the word, a 'civic' artist."
March. David Fanning (ed.), Shostakovich Studies. This volume includes Richard Taruskin's essay "Public lies and unspeakable truth: interpreting Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony". Taruskin denies that Shostakovich could have harboured dissident thoughts ("There were no dissidents in Stalin's Russia") and repudiates the legitimacy of suggesting otherwise: "That characterisation, popular as it has become, and attractive as it always will be to many, has got to be rejected as a self-gratifying anachronism." Taruskin argues that Shostakovich's rehabilitation following the Fifth Symphony was the denouement of a prepared Stalinist script: "His forgiveness was surely just as foreordained as his fall." He describes Ian MacDonald as "the very model of a Stalinist critic", accusing him of "vile trivialisation" and "McCarthyism".
Solomon Volkov's St Petersburg: A Cultural History is published in New York. Its rich account of Shostakovich's cultural milieu makes it an indispensable addition to any library of Shostakovichiana.
October. Galina Shostakovich endorses Testimony (SR, p. 83): "I am an admirer of Volkov."
1996-8 Ivan Sollertinsky's letters to Shostakovich are published, edited by Lyudmila Mikheyeva, in Zhurnal lyubiteley iskusstva.
1996 4th German Shostakovich Symposium [Academy Rheinsburg, Brandenberg], chaired by Hilmar Schmalenberg, chairman of the German Shostakovich Society and leader of the Schmalenberg Quartet, which premiered most of the composer's quartets in the former GDR. (Report in DSCH Journal 5 [Summer 1996].) Schmalenberg "started [by] stating the significance of Shostakovich's personal history and its close links with state terror as experienced in the USSR. The symphonic dimensions of some works, the use of the grotesque in times of war and the Jewish 'intonations' as a reflection of the [prevailing] anti-Jewish propaganda turned the string quartets [into] something of a personal diary, whose central theme was the inner debate on the 'state and artist' theme..." Musicologist Detlef Gojowy "stirred the audience's imagination by referring to the string quartets as a kind of scene-sequence, as a dramma per musica, which might have been inspired by the theatre of the absurd or the Meyerhold/Tairov production in St Petersburg of the 1930s... Working in Meyerhold's theatre in his early years, [the composer] might well have [been impressed by] the point of view that the four instruments of the quartet [represent] 'masks' that act out a sometimes trivial, sometimes enigmatic play for the listener. Even the quotations of his and other composers' music can be seen as such masks. These masks culminate in the last quartet, being on the whole dissimilar to earlier works and requiring much more formulation in the listeners' minds."
April 14th. Laurel Fay, "The Composer was Courageous but not as much as in Myth" (The New York Times). Fay argues that From Jewish Folk Poetry was not a work of protest against the persecution of Soviet Jews, but an attempt to "kowtow" to the apparat with a work in the folk-national idiom: "He did what was required of him. It was his rotten luck that of all the available nationalities, he just happened to pick the wrong 'folk' as his inspiration."
June. Ian MacDonald replies (DSCH Journal 5) to Richard Taruskin's essay in Fanning's 1995 book. MacDonald concedes the value of Taruskin's remarks on the Cultural Revolution and his "sensitive discourse" on the slow movement of the Fifth Symphony, but argues that his rejection of Shostakovich's secret dissidence is both tautological and ahistorical. MacDonald further criticises Taruskin for his belligerence and attacks his account of the Soviet reception of the Fifth Symphony as a polemical distortion of the documentary record. Taruskin does not respond, instead reprinting his essay ("Public lies and unspeakable truths") in his collection Defining Russia Musically (1997). (MacDonald's review is later adapted as the first half of "Naive Anti-revisionism" in Ho and Feofanov's Shostakovich Reconsidered [1998].)
Sofiya Khentova, Shostakovich: zhizhn' i tvorchestvo [Shostakovich: life and works], second edition.
December. Flora Litvinova ("Remembering Shostakovich", Znamya): "At a meeting [in the last years of his life], Dmitry Dmitriyevich said: 'You know, Flora, I met a wonderful young man -- a Leningrad musicologist (he did not tell me his name -- F. L.). This young man knows my music better than I do. Somewhere, he dug everything up, even my juvenilia.' I saw that this thorough study of his music pleased Shostakovich immensely. 'We now meet constantly, and I tell him everything I remember about my works and myself. He writes it down, and at a subsequent meeting I look it over.'" (This passage was omitted from excerpts from Litvinova's text as reproduced in Elizabeth Wilson's Shostakovich: A Life Remembered in 1994.)
Winter. Irina Shostakovich (DSCH Journal 6) accuses Yuri Korev, former editor of Sovetskaya muzika, of dishonesty in supporting Solomon Volkov's claims of having interviewed Shostakovich many times. (See SR, p. 137.)
Winter. Kurt Sanderling, assistant to Mravinsky during 1941-1960, is interviewed by DSCH: "I think that for us contemporaries who knew and worked with Shostakovich, it has never been difficult to interpret his works along with their double meanings. For us, it was all very clear... The Fifth Symphony was the first contemporary work with which I was confronted (in the USSR) and I got the impression: yes -- that's exactly it -- that's our life here... The so-called 'triumph' at the end -- we understood what he was saying. And it was not the 'triumph' of the mighty, those in power." And Testimony? "I have no doubt that it's true."
Winter. Ian MacDonald, "Fay versus Shostakovich: whose stupidity?" (East European Jewish Affairs). MacDonald criticises Fay's "historically illiterate" New York Times article on From Jewish Folk Poetry: "Fay's interpretation depends on an estimate of Shostakovich's intelligence which is frankly insulting." (This article is adapted as the second half of "Naive Anti-Revisionism" in Ho and Feofanov, Shostakovich Reconsidered [1998].)
1997 Larry Weinstein's documentary The War Symphonies: Shostakovich Against Stalin. Strongly revisionist, this film includes contributions by Veniamin Basner, Valery Gergiev, Isaac Glikman, Abraam Gozenpud, Karen Khachaturian, Tikhon Khrennikov, Mariya Konniskaya, Flora Litvinova, Ilya Musin, Natan Perelman, Vladimir Rubin, Maria Sabinina, Alisa Shebalina, Galina Shostakovich, and Dmitri Tolstoy. Royal S. Brown (Cineaste, 24 [1999], 2-3) attacks Weinstein's film as "propaganda": "The various witnesses go through great contortions to make their view of history fit the Volkov thesis."
Maxim Shostakovich vouches for the authenticity of excerpts from Testimony reprinted in Composers on Music edited by Josiah Fisk.
April 19. Maxim Shostakovich tells Ho and Feofanov: "[Testimony is] a great book, showing the life of the artist under the totalitarian regime... I am a supporter both of Testimony and of Volkov."
September. David Fanning (Gramophone) interviews the composer Rodion Shchedrin, referring to the latter's "image-consciousness" and "selective memory", and suggesting that he is anxious to justify his record in the former Soviet Union: "Shchedrin goes straight into an explanation of the nature of necessary compromise for a Soviet composer. 'You know Shostakovich helped [with acceptance for performance] tremendously with [my Second Symphony], as he did with my Carmen Suite. Yet he himself had to make all sorts of compromises. His music was much more courageous... If you want to hear it all in the open, listen to his Fourth Symphony.' He rehearses Russia's tragedy yet again: 'Stalin killed 60 million people. Not one family was untouched. I lost two uncles, and both my father-in-law and mother-in-law were in prison. After his death the windows opened each month a little more.'... For all his affability, there is an unmistakable element of self-justification in his conversation. It's difficult to avoid the suspicion that Shchedrin tends to rely on his audience not knowing too much about Russian music... Yet it's difficult to blame Shchedrin for his eagerness to defend his position. 'You in the West sometimes have a very naive view. You think in black and white. Relations with the authorities were always complex, for Shostakovich and Prokofiev as well as others. I remember playing in a performance of Prokofiev's Zdravitsa [aka Hail to Stalin], for instance. But wouldn't you compromise if you had to save your family?"
October 4th. Regional meeting of the American Musicological Society in Chicago, Illinois. Allan B. Ho and Dmitry Feofanov present, for the first time, some of the new evidence assembled in their forthcoming book Shostakovich Reconsidered. Summarised in DSCH Journal 8, their presentation was as follows: "We called attention to a number of previously overlooked, or unknown, pieces of evidence bearing on the authenticity of Testimony and on the reception these memoirs have received in academic circles. For the first time at an AMS meeting, we presented evidence on the following topics: (1) Shostakovich's anti-communist views, expressed privately in letters to his friends, as they related to, and confirmed, Testimony; (2) Shostakovich's repeated thoughts of emigration, which can be traced back to as early as 1928; (3) Flora Litvinova's corroboration of the genesis of Testimony based on what Shostakovich himself told her in the last years of his life; (4) Galina Shostakovich's recent unequivocal endorsement of both Testimony and Volkov; and (5) two specific examples of academic cover-up in Shostakovich research involving, first, the aforementioned statement by Litvinova, and, second, the significance of Shostakovich's signature at the beginning of Chapter 1 of Testimony, which includes one of the most embittered statements in the book. We also distributed two handouts: "A Primer for Musicologists," outlining rule-of-thumb methods for deciphering Shostakovich's Aesopian language, and materials pertaining to standard book contacts. The latter were provided in anticipation of Malcolm Hamrick Brown's oft-repeated charge that Volkov refuses to publish Testimony in Russian. It demonstrated the standard practice in the publishing industry of vesting copyright in the name of the author, but granting publication rights (and, consequently, decisions) to the publisher."
November. Rodion Shchedrin writes to Gramophone to complain about the tone and content of David Fanning's interview with him in the September issue: "In a totalitarian system, relations between the artist and the regime are always extremely complex and contradictory. If the artist sets himself against the system, he is put behind bars or simply killed. But if he does not express his disagreement with its dogmas verbally ('When you enter the city of the one-eyed, shut one eye,' ancient wisdom tells us), he is not physically bothered, he is left alone. He is even rewarded from time to time. For example, Prokofiev received six Stalin Prizes (1943, 1946, 1946, 1946, 1947 and l95l) and Shostakovich five Stalin Prizes (1941, 1942, 1948, 1950 and 1952) and two State Prizes (1968 and 1974). I have always believed that real music has the power to overcome the regime and all its ideological taboos. Who allowed Shostakovich's Symphonies Nos. 8, 10 and 13, for instance? Who gave them licences? They gave themselves permission to exist by the strength of their musical truth and musical power. The 'younger generation' of [Russian] composers, to whom Fanning refers, are showing a clear tendency to reproach Shostakovich for the compromises he made in his life. But Shostakovich did not wish to rot in prison or in a cemetery; he wanted to tell people, through the power of his art, his pain and his hatred of totalitarianism. He wrote all his scores in a Soviet country. He was recognized and given awards there. But in his music he was always honest and uncompromising. In his article, Fanning diligently and consistently attempts to persuade the uninformed musical reader that I have some guilt somewhere. For what? For not having been in prison? For succeeding Shostakovich as Chairman of the Composers' Union of Russia, an organization he founded? For being its Honorary Chairman to this day? For not joining the Communist Party? For refusing to sign a letter from the intelligentsia in 1968 supporting the invasion of Czechoslovakia by troops of the Warsaw Pact? For being a member along with Academician Andrei Sakharov and Boris Yeltsin in the democratic opposition in Parliament, the Inter-Regional Group of People's Deputies [see 1989 (Summer)], when red flags still flew over the Kremlin? Yes, in my life I have made compromises (and who has not?). But I have never made a single compromise in any of my compositions."
November 18th. Rodion Shchedrin to Martin Anderson at La Maison de la Radio France, Paris: "It makes me so angry. These people..." Anderson: "You mean people like Fanning, the Western academics?" Shchedrin: "Yes. They know nothing about it, they never lived through it, and they write things that are so deep [holds thumb and forefinger close together] -- one millimetre!" Anderson: "Ian MacDonald says the same of Laurel Fay." Shchedrin: "Yes, exactly; she knows nothing either."
Winter. Ian MacDonald and Dmitry Feofanov, "Do Not Judge Me Harshly!: anti-communism in Shostakovich's letters to Isaak Glikman" (DSCH Journal 8).
Winter. Allan Ho and Dmitry Feofanov, "Shostakovich and the Testimony Affair" (DSCH Journal 8). The authors describe their presentation at the American Musicological Society [see above, October]: "Malcolm Hamrick Brown, who was present at the AMS meeting, described the abstract for our paper as "fraudulent" (while admitting that he had not read it) and wished for "appropriate actions". Subsequently submissions followed up on Brown's wish by proposing that we be sentenced to the academic equivalent of Siberia -- a 3 to 5 year ban on presenting papers at the AMS meetings... As we were preparing to take questions from the audience, Malcolm Hamrick Brown made his way to the microphone, responding to us with a nine-page handout, a verbal rebuttal, and a public insult of Solomon Volkov, whom he called a liar. Due to time constraints, we were not allowed to demonstrate how Brown's points are invalid and, in fact, are additional examples of selective scholarship." Ho and Feofanov set out these new claims against Brown in the form of 12 points of disputed fact. They conclude: "In his AMS handout and elsewhere, Brown suggests that, if you cannot trust Solomon Volkov on one point (the provenance of the passages recycled from earlier articles), 'it makes ordinary commonsense not to trust' him on other points. We submit that if you cannot trust Malcolm Hamrick Brown on at least twelve points, it makes even less sense to trust him on one point: that Solomon Volkov is a liar and plagiarist. Testimony is exactly what it purports to be: the memoirs of Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich."
Winter. Russian musicologist Mark Aranovsky writes (in "The Dissident", Muzikal'naya akademiya): "Shostakovich's art remained practically the only artistic event which actively resisted the [Soviet] totalitarian regime. Without exaggeration, we can say that dissidence was the unifying, integral feature of the entire artistic output of this great musician."

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