|Galina Ustvolskaya and Reinbert de Leeuw, 2011|
hether or not Shostakovich compromised with the Stalinist regime, he managed to balance on the edge. Ustvolskaya wasn't sent to Siberia, but seems to have struggled on in a kind of external exile. Perhaps her reputation for being a recluse protected her - she's not unlike many mystic visionaries in Russian history. The integrity in her music comes from very deep sources, influenced by Slavic tradition, but also decidedly modern. Her association with Shostakovich is misleading, She's closer to Stravinsky and the "primitivism" of the Rite of Spring, and to the brief explosion of modernity which flourished in the early years after the Revolution, and produced works like Alexander Mosolov's The Iron Foundry (1925-6) Ustvolskaya's music even connects to the fierce awkwardness of Janáček's Glagolitic Mass, and indeed to Messiaen's ground-breaking masterpieces like Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum. Follow this link HERE to a discussion of Ustvolskaya, her place in Soviet music and her relation to Shostakovich. Also, this excellent documentary, made when Ustvolskya was, at last, being valued for her own sake. She was nearly 90 when the film was made but her mind is sharp. She knows who Reinbert de Leeuw is and what he stands for.
Perhaps someone should folow up on Sister Andre Dullaghan. For example - what was her order, and which convent did she live in ? Her manuscript and papers may remain in the convent library. Or the nuns might know what happened to he effects, and put researchers in touch with her family, or someone who might know. Two fascinating, independent women, who should be remembered.
Original Content: Galina Ustvolskaya and the determined Nun