Saturday Feb 2nd: How Shostakovich Changed my Mind

‘There’s something about hearing your most painful emotions transformed into something beautiful..’ The old Russian who uttered those words spoke for countless fellow survivors of Stalin’s reign of terror. And the ‘something beautiful’ he had in mind was the music of Dmitri Shostakovich.

BBC music broadcaster Stephen Johnson – “the authoritative British voice of classical music” (Michael Tumelty) –  will be talking about the power of Shostakovich’s music during Stalin’s reign of terror, and looking at the extraordinary healing effect of music on sufferers of mental illness. He asks how is it that music that reflects pain, fear and desolation can help sufferers find – if not a way out, then a way to bear these feelings and ultimately rediscover pleasure in existence?

Johnson will draw on his own personal experiences, and the talk will be complemented by pieces of Shostakovich’s music. Afterwards he take will be happy to take questions from the audience and sign copies of which will be available to buy on the night.

“Stephen Johnson is one of our most sensitive and thoughtful music critics, and this book, written from the heart about a composer whom he loves and admires, will prove to be a landmark in the understanding of its subject” – Sir Roger Scruton

This event is hosted by Arts For Hungerford. The Hungerford Bookshop will be there on the night with copies of How Shostakovich Changed My Mind (Nottinghill Editions, £14.99).

Saturday February 2nd at The Croft Hall, Hungerford. 8pm (doors open 7:30).

Tickets £10 from Hungerford Bookshop (01488 683480) or on-line at