We all have imagination. It is one of our God-given gifts.
Think of all the improvements and inventions that have come to mankind through that amazing gift called imagination!
I am in awe of those many individuals who have lived true to their imaginations in spite of adversity and great difficulty. I am grateful for each of them who have improved and inspired our world, as a result.
Dmitri Shostakovich is one such individual. I hope you will be inspired by his story!:
If you’re not a classical, opera, or symphonic music fan, you may not have heard of Shostakovich by name, but there’s a good chance that you know some of his most famous works.
From his “Waltz No. 2”—used in the film Eyes Wide Shut—to his “Romance” and many astounding symphonies, Shostakovich stands in the annals of music as one of the true modern greatest, and possibly the greatest composer of the last century.
And all while facing the very-real possibility of death on a daily basis.
Dmitri Shostakovich was an extremely bright musical student and hit the ground running in his career, reeling off enough initial “hits” in terms of compositions to establish himself as one of Russia’s premiere composers.
And then along came Stalin, one of the few men to rival Hitler himself as one of history’s worst villains. The 1930s were a time of conflict and terror throughout the world, a time when just about everyone, in one way or another, had to overcome adversity in one form or another, and Shostakovich was no exception.
Stalin had fully taken power by then, and “the Great Terror/Great Purge” in Russia had led to the deaths of many of the composer’s acquaintances and friends in government-sponsored executions and purges.
And then, terrifyingly, Stalin’s opinion of Shostakovich soured as well. In 1936 Shostakovich began to receive severe criticism for his work, with some of the criticism potentially coming as part of Stalin’s influence.
Stalin himself attended performances of Shostakovich’s work, and was displeased—which, in an era where dissidents were being purged, was no small thing. What’s more, Shostakovich drew upon everything from post-Romantic to Jewish musical both—all detested by Stalin, and dangerous to be associated with.
Shostakovich was publicly denounced in the USSR—not once, but twice. The pressure mounted. He had his Fourth Symphony withdrawn, and lived in constant fear that he and his family would be targeted by Stalin as part of the ongoing purges.
After experiencing a slight renewal after WWII, Shostakovich was once again the target of Stalinist wrath. He was denounced for the second time, as were other composing greats such as Sergei Prokofiev and the Armenian-born Aram Khachaturian, was denounced for allegedly “anti-Russian” themes in his music.
Here we can see a picture of the three greats together, but in the late 1940s, they all faced bans on their work and censorship, even though Shostakovich cared greatly for Russia—just not under Stalin’s iron grip. Things seemed to be coming to a head, with his living situation a nightmare, his works suppressed, and Shostakovich’s growing fear that at any moment he would be taken to a camp, killed, or both.
Imagine not just being publicly shamed in front of your entire country, and having your living situation and social status plummet, but being unable to leave and spend every day wondering not just if it will be your last as an esteemed artist—but if it will be your last period, and that if you dare to object, it won’t just be you that suffer, but your family and friends as well. Shostakovich and hundreds of millions of his fellow countrymen living under Stalin faced that adversity terror on a daily basis.
But he never stopped writing, and never ceased to return to his favorite themes in his suppressed, “desk drawer” works—and that of facing and trying to overcome adversity resounds throughout these pieces.
He outlived Stalin—who died in 1953—and while his troubles weren’t over, the worst of them were, and after more than a decade of terror and public humiliation, be began his resurgence into critical favor around the world, exemplifying what it means to overcome adversity, and how genius can flourish even in the darkest times.
After years of personal denouncement and private terror, Shostakovich stands today as one of the past century’s greatest artists—and without question, one of its bravest.
Story shared from the following website: http://www.interconnectedlives.com/overcoming-adversity/3/
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