Contributors Archives

Heidi Benson

Discovering Shostakovich’s True Voice in His Fifteen Quartets

Before he could reach the keys of a piano, Dmitri Shostakovich showed a secret interest in music. “When our neighbors played quartets, I would put my ear to the wall and listen.”  As Wendy Lesser points out in her new book, Music for Silenced Voices: Shostakovich and His Fifteen Quartets (Yale University Press; 368 pages), this image — of the composer as an eavesdropping child — is an apt one for an artist who spent his life under surveillance by the Soviet regime.

In her ninth book, Lesser, founding editor of The Threepenny Review, argues that the man best known for his cacophonous symphonies may be better understood through the chamber music he composed in later life.

Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment