By Orrin Keepnews, Bill Grauer
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Additional resources for A Pictorial History of Jazz: People and Places from New Orleans to Modern Jazz
When our ne ighbours playe d quartets I would put my ear to the wall and listen . Seeing this, my mother insisted that I begin piano lessons . I put up stubborn resistance. In the spring of 191 5 I went to the theatre for the first time to see Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tale of Tsar Saltan. I liked the opera, but it still did not overcome my reluctance to learn music. 'The root of knowledge is too hard to grasp - it's not worth the trouble to learn to play, ' I thought to myself, but mother insisted all the same, and in the summer of 191 5 began to give me piano lessons .
C H I L D H O O D A N D YOUTH But the priest waved a side her objections. 'D mitri is a good na me,' he said; 'we'll call him Dmitri. ' S o the matte r was settled. 2 Family background Shostakovich's forebears hailed from Siberia. His mother's father, Vasili Kokaoulin (185cr-191 1), a Siberian by origin, made his way from humble beginnings to the position of manager at the Lena Gold-mines at Bodaibo in Eastern Siberia, where he was respected for his liberal attitudes and enlight ened concern for the miners.
I remember him coming into the room, a bundle of nerves, and going directly to the chest where Mama kept the letters. He took them out and burnt them all in the stove . 1 1 •1 2 1 1 Actually, some o f the correspondence has survived, and many of the early letters of DDS to his mother are_ in private family archives. A few have been published in Soviet journals. 12 Recorded interview with EW. - 9 - SHOSTAKOVICH : A LIFE REMEMBERED Discovery of musical talent Shostakovich gives this brief account of his early musical education: Until I started to play the piano I had rto desire to learn, although I did show a certain interest in music.
A Pictorial History of Jazz: People and Places from New Orleans to Modern Jazz by Orrin Keepnews, Bill Grauer