KEYNOTE: ELIZABETH WILSON

EDWARD W. SAID DAYS 2021

Artists

Elizabeth Wilson

Keynote Speaker

Mena Mark Hanna

Introduction

Elizabeth Wilson
Art Tongue-Tied by Authority: Power and Subversion in Soviet Musical Culture

British writer, biographer, and cellist Elizabeth Wilson explores Soviet music through Shostakovich, the Soviet Union’s first “home-grown” composer. His position in the limelight—or as scapegoat—was anxiously observed by his contemporaries as an indication as to which way the winds of ideology were blowing. As an artist working under dictatorship, Shostakovich’s very survival necessitated some form of compromise. However, compromise comes in many guises, and Shostakovich soon became a master of “double-speak,” conveying multi-layered meanings in his music. It was his understanding of the power of subversion that allowed him in some way to counteract Stalinist’s repressive cultural ideology. At the intersection of these forces is Shostakovich’s setting of Pasternak’s translation of Shakespeare’s Sonnet No. 66 during the bleakest years of Stalinism:

And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill,
And simple truth miscalled simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:
Tired with all these, from these would I be gone

 

In English with simultaneous German translation.

Promoter & ticket sales

Pierre Boulez Saal | Französische Straße 33 D, Berlin, Germany

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