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Shostakovich, a Journey into Light

Sunday 20 August 2006 22:00-22:45 (Radio 3)

One hundred years after the birth of Dmitri Shostakovich, his music speaks to us perhaps more than ever.

Presenter Stephen Johnson was diagnosed with serious clinical depression and this is his story. That depression almost proved fatal, and it's the music of Shostakovich which he says has helped him survive.

Yet Shostakovich is the composer of some of the darkest, most despairing music ever written. How can that music have something to say to Stephen and other people like him?

Stephen travels to Moscow and St Petersburg, the cities most closely associated with Shostakovich, to meet people who knew the man, and lived through the horror of the Stalinist regime.

He tries to put into perspective why the music speaks to a deeper human spirit, why people globally still relate to Shostakovich, and what his music means in a country still coming to terms with its past.

Duration:

45 minutes

Stephen Johnson at grave of Shostakovich
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