Music: Citizen Composer

"Only those who have suffered very deeply can totally understand Dmitri Shostakovich's music," said Cellist-Conductor Mstislav Rostropovich as he paid tribute to his former teacher and friend. "He gave to the world not only a sense of great beauty, but also a feeling for the great difficulties and contradictions of the epoch in which he lived."

Few lives, in fact, provide a more poignant illustration of those contradictions than that of the Soviet composer who died at 68 of heart disease outside Moscow. Along with Stravinsky and Prokofiev, Shostakovich was one of the masters of contemporary Russian music. Throughout his long creative...

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