Life Chronicles


On 5 July 1975, Shostakovich finished his 147th composition, calling it Sonata for Alto and Piano, and dedicated it to Fyodor Serafimovich Druzhinin. On the evening of 6 August, Fyodor Druzhinin and Mikhail Muntian played the Sonata for the first time at home, and Druzhinin wrote a letter, in which, as he later recalled, he tried to express his gratitude to the composer. ‘It′s good that you wrote to him,′ said Irina Antonovna. ‘Dmitri Dmitriyevich read your letter and was very pleased. It was the best medicine for him.’
The premiere of the Sonata took place after Shostakovich′s death.

May 10th - Premiere of “Four Verses of Captain Lebyadkin” with texts by Dostoevsky (ор.146).
May - Composition of a Sonata for Viola and Piano (ор.147).
Election of Shostakovich as an honorary member of the French Academy of Fine Arts.
August 9th - Death of Dmitrii Shostakovich.

“It is extremely difficult to speak about one’s own role in the 20th century. If any trace of my music will be left behind in the 20th century, then I shall,
of course, be very happy...I have not been thinking about this and probably will not start doing so. It is difficult for me now to tell what new work I shall be writing...The process of the conception of a new work still remains for me something of a mystery. Perhaps, it will be a new Quartet, a new symphonic work or a vocal cycle...”

July 27, 1975 г.

“Because of trouble with my right arm I have had great difficulty while writing a Sonata for viola and piano.”

Galina Shostakovich,
the composer’s daughter:

“Yes, it really was difficult for him to get up and to fasten his buttons, his arm was giving him trouble and he walked very slowly. Irina Antonovna was always
helping and supporting him. What can one do, he had so much to put up with in those last years. He underwent many treatments and each time it looked as
if he felt better after hospital, but then everything started getting worse. He was struggling, loath to submit to the regime of disability. Till the very end he
was walking and travelling to concerts. He wanted to be in the thick of it all, he did not want to shut himself away.”
“What was his attitude to religion?”
“ I think he was an atheist. Sometimes he would quote the Bible, just as an educated man. He was not religious. Mravinsky was, but Father was not.
He said that he did not share those ideas, although he felt everyone should be free to take whatever line they chose. To some extent he regarded
religion as something verging on hysteria.”

Maxim Shostakovich,
the composer’s son:

“He sensed the end. He chose poems about death for his final works. He did not want to go, he wanted to do more.
I regard him as a master of a great present, but also of a future no less great. He was a master of great generalizations. There is so much joy on this earth,
so much sorrow - wars, revolutions, cataclysms that befall mankind: unfortunately, much more of all that Shostakovich embodied in his music still
lies ahead...”