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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

The Music That Brought Hope To A Besieged City

Author M. T. Anderson's new book is "Symphony For the City of the Dead: Dimitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad." (Courtesy)
Author M. T. Anderson's new book is "Symphony For the City of the Dead: Dimitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad." (Courtesy)

Twentieth century Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich’s relationship with the Soviet government was a difficult one: He was sometimes acclaimed, sometimes vilified as being the epitome of the bourgeoisie.

But in 1941 he wrote his seventh symphony, more commonly called “The Leningrad Symphony” about the city of his birth. It was besieged by Hitler’s troops and the population was starving. The music was considered so important, it was smuggled out of the country to be performed around the world, and a performance within the city brought hope.

Author M. T. Anderson has now written the book “Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad.” His novel has been long listed for the National Book Award and he joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young in studio to talk about it.

Book Excerpt: ‘Symphony for the City of the Dead’

Excerpted from the book SYMPHONY FOR THE CITY OF THE DEAD by M.T. Anderson, published 2015. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, Mass.

Shostakovich From The Show

Symphony No. 7 (“The Leningrad Symphony”), Op. 60, performed by Leonard Bernstein and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

[Youtube]

Symphony No. 3 in E Flat Major, Op. 20 (“The First of May”), performed by Oleg Caetani and Coro Sinfonico Di Milano Giuseppe Verdi

[Youtube]

“Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Act 1, Scene 1,” performed by London Philharmonic Orchestra

[Youtube]

Symphony No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 43, performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra

[Youtube]

Guest

  • M.T. Anderson, author of “Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad.” He tweets @_MTAnderson.

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