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Akhmatova and Shostakovich   Comments: 1  Post comment Printer friendly versionMore notes

Akhmatova and Shostakovich
poetry, music, symphony, Soviet Union, love
Wednesday, October 24, 2007 01:54 GMT

Anna Akhmatova and Shostakovich admired each other from afar, but did not meet. Akhmatova rarely missed a Shostakovich premiere. After the first performance of the Eleventh Symphony in 1957 she compared its hopeful revolutionary songs, which the critics had dimissed as devoid of interest (this was the time of the Krushchev thaw) to "white birds flying against a terrible black sky." The next year she dedicated the Soviet edition of her "Poems": "To Dmitry Dmitrievich Shostakovich, in whose epoch I lived on earth." The two eventually met in 1961. "We sat in silence for twenty minutes. It was wonderful," recalled Akhmatova later in her diaries.

(note from Natasha's Dance by Orlando Figes)

(compare the meeting between Gustav Mahler and Auguste Rodin, different but connected. The sculptor was to make a bust of Mahler. "The meeting between these two men of genius was extraordinarily impressive. They did not speak but simply looked at each other and got on magnificently. Mahler got onto the podium of his own accord, and Rodin began working. Mahler did not move once the whole time. He watched the sculptor and seemed to understand what he was doing." From Mahler by Kurt and Herta Blaukopf.)