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Hans Keller, 21 February 1980

Testimony: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich 
edited by Solomon Volkov, translated by Antonina Bouis.
Hamish Hamilton, 238 pp., £7.95, October 1980, 0 241 10321 5
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... I don’t trust Mr Solomon Volkov an inch, and as for Miss Antonina Bouis, the question of trust hardly arises: Shostakovich is supposed to have said that ‘Hamlet was screwing her’ (i.e. Ophelia) in Nikolai Pavlovich Akimov’s (1901–1968) production of Hamlet which, at the time (1932), ‘was highly regarded in the American literary press’ – or so Mr Volkov informs us ...

Mikoyan Shuddered

Stephen Walsh: Memories of Shostakovich, 21 June 2007

Shostakovich: A Life Remembered 
by Elizabeth Wilson.
Faber, 631 pp., £20, July 2006, 0 571 22050 9
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... edited in 1979 under the title Testimony by a thirtysomething Russian musicologist called Solomon Volkov, who by that time had left Moscow for a post at Columbia University. Volkov claimed to have compiled the book out of many meetings and conversations with the composer, and the text is couched in the form of ...

Zanchevsky, Zakrevsky or Zakovsky?

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Julian Barnes, 18 February 2016

The Noise of Time 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 184 pp., £14.99, January 2016, 978 1 910702 60 4
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... don’t read the acknowledgments, where Elizabeth Wilson’s Shostakovich: A Life Remembered and Solomon Volkov’s Testimony: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich are cited as sources. Barnes has done something of the kind before with The Porcupine, based on the trial of the Bulgarian communist leader Todor Zhivkov. John Banville did it in a roman à ...

Voldemort or Stalin?

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Shostakovich, 1 December 2011

Music for Silenced Voices: Shostakovich and His Fifteen Quartets 
by Wendy Lesser.
Yale, 350 pp., £18.99, April 2011, 978 0 300 16933 1
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Shostakovich in Dialogue: Form, Imagery and Ideas in Quartets 1-7 
by Judith Kuhn.
Ashgate, 296 pp., £65, February 2010, 978 0 7546 6406 2
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... sacred war and our victory’. Everything miraculously changed in 1979, when a recent émigré, Solomon Volkov, smuggled out of the USSR the manuscript of a book that he described as Shostakovich’s memoirs. He called it Testimony, and represented its apparent author as a bitter anti-Stalinist, and a victim of the regime. Maxim ...

The Girl Who Waltzes

Laura Jacobs: George Balanchine, 9 October 2014

Balanchine and the Lost Muse: Revolution and the Making of a Choreographer 
by Elizabeth Kendall.
Oxford, 288 pp., £22.99, August 2013, 978 0 19 995934 1
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... were numb with disbelief. Lidochka drowned? ‘Lida was a marvellous swimmer,’ Balanchine told Solomon Volkov in the last months of his life. An investigation was half-hearted, then closed. Was it an accident or a plot? A crime of passion or a political murder? Most thought murder. Ivanova had moved in one circle too many, socialising with fans who ...

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