Letter to Rowland Burdon-Muller (1891-1980)

Shostakovich’s host in Oxford was the distinguished philosopher, historian of ideas, and fellow of All Souls College, Sir Isaiah Berlin. ‘Goodness, but it was a business’, Berlin begins his compelling account of Shostakovich’s visit to the University. Ceremonial Oxford was not an easy place for an artist who had worked under the shadow of Stalin, and although the upper echelons of the University are wonderfully depicted in Berlin’s lively, gossipy pages, it is his portrayal of Shostakovich as a haunted man of genius baffled by his surroundings that stays in the mind.


Typed letter, corrected and signed
Two leaves, 255 × 204 mm