Of all the major Soviet composers who worked in the cinema, the most prominent was Dmitri Shostakovich who, in addition to over a hundred works for the stage and concert hall, wrote scores for almost forty films. Yet despite his reputation this work, when t completely overlooked, has been poorly judged by the same criteria as his other music. Likewise, while much attention has been paid to Soviet film, the crucial role played by the scores is all too often forgotten. This, the first book in English to look at Shostakovich's cinema career, discusses every film he scored, looking at the films themselves, tracing their relationship to the changing concerns and policies of the Soviet state and examining how the music works in context. John Riley also gives a fascinating account of the composer's life. This highly readable book will be welcomed equally by devotees of the composer; those interested in Soviet culture and cinema; and general film music enthusiasts.
John Riley works at the British Universities Film and Video Council. He has written and lectured widely and given radio broadcasts on Soviet music and film.