Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony was first played in the city of its birth on August 9, 1942. There has never been a first performance to match it. Pray God, there never will be again. Almost a year earlier, the Germans had begun their blockade of the city. Almost a year earlier, the Germans had begun their blockade of the city. Already many thousands had died of their wounds, the cold, and most of all, starvation.
"Excellent perspective on the history of the siege."
In Leningrad: Siege and Symphony, Brian Moynahan sets the composition of Shostakovich's most famous work against the tragic canvas of the siege itself and the years of repression and terror that preceded it. Drawing on extensive primary research in archives as well as personal letters and diaries, he vividly tells the story of the cruelties heaped by the twin monsters of the 20th century, Stalin and Hitler, on a city of exquisite beauty, and of its no less remarkable survival.
Brought up in a vicarage, Freddy Spencer Chapman acquired a love of nature and became 'fascinated by danger' during childhood. Thirty years later, as an SOE-trained guerilla soldier, the orphan boy would prove to be one of the British army's deadliest agents.