Week 4  Shostakovich & Stalin – Music & Tyranny


We focus on the music of Dmitri Shostakovich and how the Soviet political climate affected his life and music.


Christopher Cook, Deal Music & Arts Chair Elect, is a well-known writer and broadcaster whose voice will be familiar to many. He began his career in television, producing for BBC 2 and Channel 4. He continues to broadcast regularly on BBC Radios 3, 4, 5 and the BBC World Service.


Christopher is a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine and International Record Review and has written for The Gramophone. He chairs pre-concert events for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Hallé Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Study Evenings at the Royal Opera House where he also interviews for their ‘Meet the…’ programmes and Glyndebourne Opera. He has curated several years of pre-performance talks at English National Opera.


Christopher was the Director of the Cheltenham Festival of Literature in 2004 and was Chair of the Cheltenham International Music Festival until 2013. He is currently Vice-Chair of the Trustees of the Bishopsgate Institute in the City of London. He is also a walking encyclopaedia of the arts!


In this film, Christopher relates three of Shostakovich’s works (his first piano trio, his first cello concerto and his last work, the viola sonata) to the impact Joseph Stalin had on both his life and his work. This film was made during the lockdown period of Covid 19 as a resource for Deal Music & Arts' audience.


We give links to performances that reflect the music Christopher discusses.  Every attempt has been made to source material that is from legitimate organisations or from the artists themselves.

Christopher Cook

talks about Shostakovich & Stalin - Music & Tyranny

Shostakovich: Piano Trio No. 1

Noa Wildschut, Alexander Warenberg & Elisabeth Brauss

Steven Isserlis

Deal Music & Arts Vice-President introduces Shostakovich’s first cello concerto

Shostakovich Cello Concerto No.1 in E-flat major, Op. 107

Steven Isserlis (cello) with Singapore Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lan Shui

Shostakovich: Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 147

Yuri Bashmet (viola), Sviatoslav Richter (piano)

Shostakovich Viola Sonata Op. 147

arranged for Viola & Orchestra by Vladimir Mendelssohn – Gilad Karni (viola) with Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich conducted by Robert Trevino

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