I am not a music critic and outstanding British writer as Ian MacDonald ( 1948-2003), that is why opinion can be superficial, as well as about the protagonist of his book Dmitry Dmitryevich Shostakovich (1906-1975), one of the greatest composers of XX century, author of 15 Symphonies, 6 Concertos, 3 Ballets and numerous Chamber music for movies and theatrical performances, a Russian composer, pianist and pedagogue.
As a listener and reader, I have to say the truth that Vladimir Ashkenazy in his foreword to this book stated “serious music is one of the most comprehensive tools for the perception of and comment upon human existence”. After “Testimony” (1979), this book intended to defend the image of Shostakovich as a great composer who lived and enjoyed in full his life under Stalin’s regime and later till his death. No need to go into details of a great talent, no need to stir the details of his personal life. But the artistic approach to the description of the culture is interesting. What we read on page 345 is “An important point is secreted here for whereas in the West the arts are too often kept apart, only rarely being allowed to shed light upon each other, no such artificial barriers apply in Russia.”
So, it is true. And the prime example of this is the Concert of Nikolay Baskov “Play” of 24.12. 2016.