Friday, 15 May 2015

Comment: A Shostakovich Casebook

In light of Lewis Owen’s new play Like Chemist from Canada, Rob Edgar writes about A Shostakovich Casebook, a collection of essays on the composer.

The story of Shostakovich, the man, calls to my mind the old thread sticking out of a jumper metaphor; when you pull on it to investigate, the whole thing unravels. There is much conflicting information about the composer, as would be expected for any historical figure, but the confusion is amplified by a dysfunctional state attitude that, in those days, bordered on the deranged, a state which, quite aside from its now well-documented crimes, was notoriously bad at keeping accurate records. If you follow one particular thread of his life too closely, everything else falls apart.