This edition draws on many new writings about Shostakovich, providing both a more detailed and focused image of his life, and a wider view of his cultural background. A particular aspect of Shostakovich which is revealed is his sardonic and witty sense of humour, displayed in many of his letters to close friends.
Shostakovich: A Life Remembered is a unique study of the great composer, drawn from the reminiscences and reflections of his contemporaries. Elizabeth Wilson sheds light on the composer's creative process and his working life in music, and examines the enormous and enduring influence that Shostakovich has had on Soviet musical life. 'The one indispensable book about the composer.' New York Times
While fire-eaters, both North & South, fanned controversial flames into open, armed hostilities, the political situation south of the 1860 US-Mexico border also quickly deteriorated. Prior to opening shots at Fort Sumter, Liberal Republican President Benito Juárez wrested power away from the clerical Conservatives who had held the country in a oppressive grip since before Spain's embarrassing evacuation. Juárez's election, and subsequent persecution, prompted affluent expatriate Conservatives to flee to Europe, where, as political refugees, they gained the sympathies of France's Napoleón III. Seeing the turmoil brewing in the US, Napoleón, backed by some of Europe's most influential bankers, gambled and embarked on a mission of regaining a foot-hold on the western continent that had been lost since the publication of the US's Monroe Doctrine. This Napoleón accomplished by convincing Austria's Archduke Maximilian in accepting the "Throne of Mexico," which would be propped-up by French expeditionary forces. However, when the devastating US turmoil concluded with the subjugation of the South, US Secretary of State, William Seward, issued a threatening ultimatum demanding Napoleón to withdraw French troops from Mexico, or face the consequences of war with the United States. With the final French Foreign Legion embarking from the coastal port of Vera Cruz, it was only a matter of time before Maximilian realized his puppet government could not survive without exterior military support. Convinced that forging peaceful, political alliances with the victorious North was his only formula for successful existence, Maximilian spurned the overtures of displaced, unrepentant southern generals offering their services. Seward, however, rejected Maximilian's proposals. With his stunningly beautiful bride having returned to Europe to seek the reestablishment of withdrawn monetary and military support from governments and the Vatican, Maximilian made his last stand against converging loyal Juaristas at an old Spanish town north of the nation's capital.
The life story of a German-American scholar deeply involved, over several decades, in evolving intellectual trends and movements and profoundly affected by successive geopolitical events and calamities.