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Shostakovich versus the Central Committee: the power of music


, : Shostakovich versus the Central Committee: the power of music. Clinical Medicine 8(4): 405-409

The centenary of Shostakovich's birth, celebrated in 2006, generated considerable interest in his life and music. During the Cold War his music was rarely played in the West, and it was not until after his death in 1975 that it re-emerged. The publication of his memoirs in the UK, in 1979, gave new insights into his life in Soviet Russia. Music, like art and literature, has the power to shock and can reflect anger and frustration at contemporary social issues. Much debate has focused on whether Shostakovich was a victim or mouthpiece of Communism. In order to fully appreciate his music, it is essential to understand his personal and professional life under Josef Stalin--in particular his public humiliation by the Central Committee, and by professional musicians who were Communist Party members.

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PMID: 18724608


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