Book Reviews 40

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Dmitri Shostakovich: Research and Materials, Volumes 3, 4
Edited and compiled by O. Digonskaya, L. Kovnatskaya
DSCH Publishing House, 2011.
Volume 3 – ISBN 9785900539041
Volume 4 – ISBN 9785900539058
216 pages (Vol. 3), 271 pages (Vol. 4) In Russian

These are the third and fourth volumes in the current series devoted to research studies and documents emanating from the Shostakovich Moscow Archive.

As in previous editions, the contents are organised chronologically. In Volume 3, the various articles cover periods from the 1920s to the 1970s. We see how, in conservatory classes, the young Shostakovich took up instrumentation, and how this influenced his unmistakeable orchestral style, from his early works through to the end of his career. Shostakovich’s letters to Valerian Bogdanov-Berezovsky are published for the first time, exploring what is referred to as the emergence of a “friendship cult” and its role in the formation of the young composer’s personality in the 1920s. Other articles relate to the issues he encountered during the publication of his compositions of the 1920s–1930s, some newly revealed facts concerning the literary sources chosen for Shostakovich’s Japanese Romances, and, finally, Shostakovich’s biographical and epistolary contacts with the prominent Leningrad cultural and artistic figure Boris Zagursky. Of specific Western interest is a chapter devoted to the Fourteenth Symphony, with Benjamin Britten as conductor.

Volume 3 Contents
• Lydia Ader, Dmitri Shostakovich’s instrumentation classes for the years 1920–1922: stages of professional development
• Ludmilla Kovnatskaya, Unknown Shostakovich’s letters to Bogdanov-Berezovsky (1920)
• Larissa Miller, On the publications of works by D.D. Shostakovich in 1920 to the beginning of the 1930s
• Galina Kopytova, Poetic sources in the song cycle Six Romances on Japanese Poems
• Andrei Kryukov, Dmitri Shostakovich’s Letters and statements regarding him and his music: archive materials Number 1117
• Cameron Pyke, Shostakovich’s Fourteenth Symphony: Britten’s [conducting] score

In Volume 4, the articles rely mainly on archival sources. Among these are Shostakovich’s letters and manuscripts, family and household records, documents from wartime and publisher’s archives, other people’s manuscripts, and drawings (by Boris Kustodiev) that music experts previously knew little about.

In addition to new information, this issue reveals fresh interpretations of already well-known facts. The first acquaints the reader with the St. Petersburg homes of the Shostakovich-Kokoulin family, the people with whom Shostakovich was friendly in his youth, a few of his compositions from the conservatory period, new interpretations of the Second Symphony, and the numerous productions (and one “non-production”) of the opera Lady Macbeth. They also shed new light on the “musical dialogue” between Shostakovich and Hindemith, possible Finnish influences in Shostakovich’s oeuvre of the end of the 1930s to the beginning of the 1940s, and the Karelian context of his Finnish Suite. The final articles are devoted to the composer’s correspondence in the 1960s with writer Galina Serebryakova and two different editions, from the 1960s and 1970s, of his Passacaglia.

Volume 4 Contents
• Galina Kopitova, Shostakovich and his family’s Petersburg addresses
• Lydia Ader, Unknown: “A portrait of Shostakovich” B. M. Kustodiev
• Galina Kopitova, Shostakovich’s writings from the Kokoulin archive
• Svetlana Savenko, Shostakovich’s Second Symphony as ‘absolute music’
• Olga Digonskaya, Lady Macbeth and the Grand Theatre: from the periphery “the best opera houses in the world” • Galina Kopitova, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District abroad in 1930s
• L. Kovnagukaya, On Hindemith and Shostakovich
• Olga Digonskaya, Reflections on Shostakovich’s ‘Solemn march’ (Change of context?)
• Vera Nilova, Seven Finnish folk songs (Suite on Finnish themes) Shostakovich and Karelian song sources
• Yury Semyonov, Passacaglia for Organ by Shostakovich
• Maria Karachevskaya, Letters from Dmitri Shostakovich to G. I. Serebryakova (1962–1967)

Alan Mercer