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Books

Shostakovich, Leningrad, and the greatest story ever played

Brian Moynahan's Leningrad: Siege and Symphony brings together the story of Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony and that of the siege of Leningrad to inspiring, heartbreaking effect

11 January 2014

9:00 AM

11 January 2014

9:00 AM

Leningrad: Siege and Symphony Brian Moynahan

Quercus, pp.558, £25, ISBN: 9780857383006

The horrors of the Leningrad siege — the 900 Days of Harrison Salisbury’s classic — have been pretty well picked over by historians; and meanwhile the story of
Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony, the improbable circumstances of its composition and first Leningrad performance in August 1942, is well known from the extensive, and still growing, literature on the composer.

But Brian Moynahan’s book is the first to my knowledge — in English at least — to interweave these narratives to any significantly detailed extent.

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