Few composers have had their music as indelibly shaped by history as Dmitri Shostakovich.

Shostakovich Dmitri Shostakovich at the premiere of his Fourth Symphony. Photo © Alamy Stock

In the last years of his life, his friend Flora Litvinova recalls visiting the composer at the House of Creativity in Ruza. “You ask if I would have been different without party guidance? Yes, almost certainly,” he told her. “No doubt the line I was pursuing...

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