How Shostakovich Changed My Mind

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BBC music broadcaster Stephen Johnson explores the power of Shostakovich's music during Stalin's reign of terror, and writes of the extraordinary healing effect of music on sufferers of mental illness. Johnson looks at neurological, psychotherapeutic and philosophical findings, and reflects on his own experience, where he believes Shostakovich's music helped him survive the trials and assaults of bipolar disorder.'There's something about hearing your most painful emotions transformed into something beautiful...' The old ...

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Xenophile48

Jun 9, 2020

A moving tribute to a great composer

As the years go by, I find myself turning more often to the music of Shostakovich than to almost any other composer. With the help of this book, I have a better idea why. Johnson has an impeccable command of the technical details of music, and his analysis of the more important DS symphonies (and a few other works) enlightens those ignorant, as I am, of the finer points of these works. However, the greater value of this book is his understanding, resulting from his own long struggle with depression, of how DS's plunge into the very heart of darkness created in his life by Stalin and the Nazis could ultimately be liberating. This book is a testament to creativity. One can read it in about two hours, but I reckon that I will savor its insights for many years to come. Thank you, Mr. Johnson!

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