Quote Originally Posted by Kiki View Post

It is perhaps not surprising that "politically-correct" Mravinsky declined the premiere of the "not-so-politically-correct" Shostakovich #13. However, I remember watching an interview of Kurt Sanderling saying that Mravinsky could have premiered it without worrying too much about retribution because not many people could touch him, but he was worrying for the singer and the choir, and therefore he declined it. Convincing? I am not sure. On the other hand, since Kondrashin took it on, I cannot help speculating that he was perhaps writing a very convincing item on his CV in preparation for his defection.

From what I have read, Shostakovich never thought of Mravinsky as a friend, but rather, someone who performed his music effectively. Even so, I suppose their professional relationship must have been affected in some ways. Apart from #13, it is also no surprise that Mravinsky never performed #14. However, Mravinsky seemed to regard #15 highly and he did perform it. He did not premiere it though. Perhaps it was a case of a broken down relationship; perhaps regardless of that, he still intended to give the premiere to his son. I have no idea, but that is intriguing.
In my student days, I attended a talk by a still relatively young Maxim Shostakovich about his illustrious father, and he gave a generous amount of time to a question and answer session, which he conducted in surprisingly fluent English.

However, the one subject that was absolutely out of bounds was politics. It seemed that even mentioning Stalin's name in his presence was not something he could tolerate, suggesting what his father's feelings were on that subject. He was quite forthcoming otherwise, and good-humored, even quite funny at one point where he went into an imitation of his father at work.