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By Robert N. Tracci
Congress must use its appropriations power to secure the border
Topic - Dmitri Shostakovich
It's the darkest of operas, a powerful and unrelentingly grim work that dares to grapple with the horrors of the Holocaust through a musical descent into the hell that was Auschwitz.
When famed viola player Yuri Bashmet declared that he "adored" President Vladimir Putin, he stirred little controversy in a country where classical musicians have often curried favor with the political elite.
Sad songs, they say
American music lovers who know Mstislav Rostropovich only from his years in the West as a cellist and conductor following his forced departure from the Soviet Union in 1974 will rejoice to have Elizabeth Wilson's gold mine of insights into the first 47 years of this larger-than-life musician, teacher and humanitarian. Ms. Wilson, a British cellist and biographer of both Dmitri Shostakovich and Jacqueline du Pre, was a member of Mr. Rostropovich's famous Class 19 at the Moscow Conservatory in the 1960s. She knows her music, she extensively interviewed Mr. Rostropovich himself and many of his former students and reviewed the surviving tapes of Mr. Rostropovich's lessons and she writes well. This is an extraordinary book about the musical and cultural environment in the Soviet Union that produced Mr. Rostropovich, and his influence on his fellow performers and composers.
"The government and state officials, including the president, should be grateful to these artists, that they give them the opportunity to experience this kind of art, and in this way to make life in our country richer," he said.