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Susan Richards

Susan Richards, writer and commentator on contemporary Russia, talks to Michael Berkeley about her fascination with the country and her passion for 20th-century Russian music.

Susan Richards, writer and commentator on contemporary Russia, talks to Michael Berkeley about her fascination with the country and her passion for 20th-century Russian music.

Susan's first book, Epics of Everyday Life, was about the euphoric period after the collapse of communism. She travelled all over Russia to try to find out how ordinary people were coping with the discovery that they'd been so comprehensively lied to for so long. Her second book, sixteen years in the writing, was Lost and Found in Russia, and it described the collective nervous breakdown that took place after that. Both books are a testimony to her fascination with the lives of ordinary Russians - and a celebration of friendship. They also include hair-raising encounters with the KGB and the Mafia.

A Founding Editor of OpenDemocracy, set up in 2001 to encourage democratic debate around the world, Susan is also the co-founder, with her husband the television producer Roger Graef, of Bookaid, which has sent more than a million books to Russian public libraries.

Susan's music takes us on a journey from pre-revolutionary Russia to the early 21st century, with pieces by Scriabin, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, and the contemporary composer Sofia Gubaidulina. And we hear music inspired by a Siberian forest, and a singer Susan first met during a hair-raising encounter with the mafia.

Producer: Jane Greenwood
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Available now

39 minutes

Last on

Sun 3 Dec 2017 12:00

Clip

Music Played

  • Iegor Reznikoff

    Grand Magnificat (Liturgie Fondamentale)

    Singer: Iegor Reznikoff.
  • Alexander Scriabin

    Piano Sonata no.9, Op.68

    Performer: Vladimir Horowitz.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    The Rite of Spring

    Orchestra: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    Cello Sonata in D minor, Op.40 (2nd mvt: Allegro)

    Performer: Daniil Borisovich Shafran. Performer: Dmitry Shostakovich.
  • Sergei Prokofiev

    Piano Sonata No.7, Op.83 (1st mvt: Allegro inquieto)

    Performer: Sviatoslav Richter.
  • Elena Kamburova

    Poem by Vladimir Vysotsky

    Singer: Elena Kamburova.
  • Sofia Gubaidulina

    Et Expecto

    Performer: Geir Draugsvoll.

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