Alexandre Tharaud - Couperin: Tic Toc Choc [Reissue] | RECORD STORE DAY
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Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) effectively founded Russian literature, elevating his mother tongue to match the wit and penetrating observation of the French, Spanish and English writers he admired. He was revered even through the Soviet years, the hundredth anniversary of his death being grandly commemorated in 1936 during Stalin's reign. It was for that occasion that the two sets of Pushkin songs by Russia's leading composers of that time - Prokofiev and Shostakovich - were originally composed. In later life, Shostakovich became friends with the English composer, Benjamin Britten, who also befriended the cellist and pianist Mstislav Rostropovich (a sometime pupil of Shostakovich's) and his wife the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya. It was specifically for the latter two artists that Britten in 1965 composed The Poet's Echo.