Or is there a deeper, coded critique of the tyranny he endured? A hundred years after the composer’s birth, Sholto Byrnes travels to St Petersburg in an attempt to uncover the truth
On the corner of Nevsky Prospect, by the banks of the River Moyka in St Petersburg, hoardings conceal what used to be the Barricade Cinema. Here, as a young man, Dmitry Shostakovich played the piano to accompany silent movies. It’s just one of the cinemas where he earned much-needed roubles in the 1920s, when times were so hard that his family had to sell their own piano in order to survive.
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