Monday, January 23, 2012

Back to Writing About Writing

In 1975 I completed a biography of the man whom I considered to be one of the greatest musical geniuses of the Twentieth Century, Dmitri Shostakovich. The book was more than a biography. It was a fun trip through the world of modern symphonic music, written for laymen, like myself.

Soon after I finished the book Shostakovich died. I sold the manuscript, but to fit into the publisher’s series format, the book had to be changed. And changed. The fun went out. What was left was a valuable (of course) biography and musical discussion of Shostakovich’s symphonies, critically well received.

Between sale and publication, four years elapsed. Shostakovich’s own Memoirs came out at the same time as my book, adding vistas to my understanding of Shostakovich the Man and the Artist. After a lifetime of devotion to this man and his music, now I make of him a character in a novel. A ghost, if you will, who wrote music, although it is the ghosts who spoke to him that you will meet.

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