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Dmitri Shostakovich: A Life in Film

Dmitri Shostakovich: A Life in Film
John Riley

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Of all the major Soviet composers who worked in the cinema, the most prominent was Dmitri Shostakovich who, in addition to over a hundred works for the stage and concert hall, wrote scores for almost forty films. Yet despite his reputation this work, when not completely overlooked, has been poorly judged by the same criteria as his other music. Likewise, while much attention has been paid to Soviet film, the crucial role played by the scores is all too often forgotten. This, the first book in English to look at Shostakovich's cinema career, discusses every film he scored, looking at the films themselves, tracing their relationship to the changing concerns and policies of the Soviet state and examining how the music works in context. John Riley also gives a fascinating account of the composer's life. This highly readable book will be welcomed equally by devotees of the composer; those interested in Soviet culture and cinema; and general film music enthusiasts.

Author Info

John Riley works at the British Universities Film and Video Council. He has written and lectured widely and given radio broadcasts on Soviet music and film.


Moscow Times:"

The renaissance in Russian and Soviet cinema studies continues with the appearance of two fine new books in IB Tauris's KINOfiles Filmmaker's Companions series.""

these well-researched studies help to bring crucial dilemmas in Soviet cultural history into sharper focus.""

Riley produces some wonderfully evocative descriptions of Shostakovich's work that show a sure grasp of musical logic and make us want to find the scores and recordings for ourselves""

analytic energy and wealth of anecdote""

excellent and highly readable" The Morning Star: "These film scores are not just incidental music but form an integral part of the direction and production of the films." "It is hoped that John Riley's excellent book will not only popularise Shostakovich's film music but also bring about a revival of interest in the films themselves..." Professor David Fanning
University of Manchester: "Thanks to John Riley we now have a much fuller picture of the tortuous fate of many of the films themselves, as well as a judicious weighing of their cinematic and musical merits. To all this the author brings not only his expertise as a film historian
drawing on Russian as well as Western sources
but also a wide-ranging musical knowledge and penetrating intelligence."'

This book fills a major gap in Shostakovich commentary and has much to offer anyone interested in Soviet culture.'
David Fanning, SEER MLR'

this is the first ever English-language study of Shostakovich's film music...automatically indispensable...undoubtedly pioneering work, and a major step in a fascinating new direction.'

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: KINO - Russian Film-makers' Companions

ISBN: 9781850434849
Publication Date: 26 Nov 2004
Number of Pages: 168
Height: 216
Width: 134

ISBN: 9781850437093
Publication Date: 26 Nov 2004
Number of Pages: 168
Height: 216
Width: 134

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