Of Mice and Mendelssohn

Richard Taruskin

in On Russian Music

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780520249790
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942806 | DOI:
Of Mice and Mendelssohn

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This chapter focuses on the book Stormy Applause: Making Music in a Worker's State, a memoir by Rostislav Dubinsky, and discusses the depiction of Jewish musicians in the Soviet Union in the book. In the book, Dubinsky, who was for more than twenty years first violinist and artistic director of the world-famous musical group Borodin Quartet, recounts the details of life as a musician and a Jew within a totalitarian regime. The chapter criticizes the book for its embittered tone, its self-justifying selectivity, its manifestly biased judgments and skewed perceptions, and, despite frequent hilarity, its evocation of a depression and a disaffection that no amount of commercial or artistic success could assuage. It further discusses Dubinsky's portrayal of Jewish musicians of the Quartet other than himself as unbalanced, hostile, and mocking.

Keywords: Rostislav Dubinsky; Borodin Quartet; Stormy Applause; Jewish musicians; Soviet Union

Chapter.  4021 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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