➻ Moscow Nights: The Van Cliburn Story-How One Man and His Piano Transformed the Cold War Author Nigel Cliff – Thegreatwallonline.us

Moscow Nights: The Van Cliburn Story-How One Man and His Piano Transformed the Cold WarGripping Narrative Nonfiction That Tells The Dramatic Story Of A Remarkable Young Texan Pianist, Van Cliburn, Who Played His Way Through The Wall Of Fear Built By The Cold War, Won The Hearts Of The American And Russian People, And Eased Tensions Between Two Superpowers On The Brink Of Nuclear War.In 1958, An Unheralded Twenty Three Year Old Piano Prodigy From Texas Named Van Cliburn Traveled To Moscow To Compete In The First International Tchaikovsky Competition The Soviets Had No Intention Of Bestowing Their Coveted Prize On An Unknown American A Russian Pianist Had Already Been Chosen To Win Yet When The Gangly Texan With The Shy Grin Took The Stage And Began To Play, He Instantly Captivated An Entire Nation The Soviet People Were Charmed By Van Cliburn S Extraordinary Talent, Passion, And Fresh Faced Innocence, But It Was His Palpable Love For The Music That Earned Their Devotion For Many, He Played Like A Russian Than Their Own Musicians As Enraptured Crowds Mobbed Cliburn S Performances, Pressure Mounted To Award Him The Competition Prize Is He The Best Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev Demanded Of The Judges In That Case Give Him The Prize Adored By Millions In The USSR, Cliburn Returned To A Thunderous Hero S Welcome In The USA And Became, For A Time, An Ambassador Of Hope For Two Dangerously Hostile Superpowers In This Thrilling, Impeccably Researched Account, Nigel Cliff Recreates The Drama And Tension Of The Cold War Era, And Brings Into Focus The Gifted Musician And Deeply Compelling Figure Whose Music Would Temporarily Bridge The Divide Between Two Dangerously Hostile Powers.

10 thoughts on “Moscow Nights: The Van Cliburn Story-How One Man and His Piano Transformed the Cold War


  1. says:

    Grandfather told me Politics is a great art, but it is divisive Great classical music is for everyone all over the world Robustly researched, meticulously compiled and masterfully written, Nigel Cliff has brought a lessor known, but pertinent facet of the cold war to light, framing it within the humanitarian lens of music It s as rich in detail as it is compellingly readable A book that both fascinates and informs Musically astute connoisseurs of classical music who equally enjoy minutia enhancers, history, sociology, and politics on a studious level will most likely find this a highly satisfying tome The shear magnitude of research and mastery of writing compels me to give this no less than five stars But I will be frank it isn t a quick, effortless read, by any stretch of the imagination It is broadly cast and encompassing Patience is encouraged ...


  2. says:

    I could not put down Nigel Cliff s Moscow Nights the Van Cliburn Story How One Man and His Piano Transformed the Cold War, a fascinating re visiting of the pianist s life and career, set against the backdrop of the height of the Soviet United States rivalry as superpowers I loved the pacing of Cliff s storytelling, and how he alternates important chapters in Cliburn s life with important events in the Cold War Stalin s death and Khrushchev s thaw , his secret speech denouncing Stalin s cult of personality, Sputnik, Gary Powers and the shooting down of the U2 over Soviet air space, the Cuban Missile Crisis, as well as the relationship between various U.S presidents and the Soviets Regardless of even severe hostility between the two nations, Van Cliburn was always greeted in the Soviet Union as a native son, to the extent of arousing the suspicions of the FBI we mustn t forget that this was also the time of the Red scare Although relying heavily on Howard Reich s biography of Cliburn, Cliff also revealed many new details that I had not known Cliff gives us much details about the intrigues of the competition, about Cliburn s relationship with the other contestants, as well as how members of the jury viewed him I had also not realized Rosina Lh vinne s resentment at not having heard from Cliburn personally after he won the Tchaikovsky, and ...


  3. says:

    The story of Van Cliburn is one I ve never heard before, though as soon as I finished reading this excellent biography by Nigel Cliff, I immediately checked online and found dozens of videos of his performances and everything Cliff writes about Cliburn s ability to play is true The man really was a wonderful pianist, no matter what point in his life he was performing, and it s easy to see how he conquered the world by skillful manipulation of just 88 keys Moscow Nights is chiefly concerned with Cliburn s rise to fame and his triumph at the 1958 International Tchaikovsky Competition, and the after effects of his triumphant success there, which lingered throughout the rest of his long life Cliff writes, with great sympathy, about Cliburn s long years of study and practice, and the ways in which his passion for Russian music overshadowed so many other areas of his life His childhood, his time at Julliard, and his many successes after the competition are all key to understanding how this gentle man became an unwitting cultural ambassador, and how the demands of diplomacy and patriotism during the Cold War were mixed up in Cliburn s simple desire to share his gift with audiences everywhere Cliburn remains a fully human figure, however Cliff doesn t shy away from relating Cliburn s foibles and flaws, and that complexity creates a stronger book.It s importa...


  4. says:

    Van Cliburn s story is nothing new a talented young pianist who won the first Tchaikovsky Piano competition held in Moscow during the height of the Cold War, who then played piano for US and Soviet politicians for decades as a music ambassador, whose own music and personal development including his homosexuality were somewhat stunted by early success, societal culture and the public s curiosity I wondered what I would gain from this book, but after finishing the book I was quite touched In a sense, everyone has a role to play in the world We might not know it or might not like it, and of course we try to define our roles instead of being defined For Van Cliburn, his role was defined by his early success and he did not fight it He was a kind hearted, innocent child who went along, dutifully playing the pieces that he became known for and dutifully saying all the clich No, he did not get to fully develop himself musically, he concealed his homosexuality, he couldn t live his life exactly how he wanted ...


  5. says:

    WOW Read this book What a writer to be able to tell Van Cliburn s story so well in such detail in such a positive fashion intermingling with all the political events surrounding the story I learned so very much about events I actually was living through with no ide...


  6. says:

    Really fantastic writing about the Cold War and about music It was hard to get a clear picture of Van Cliburn as a person, but he was a very private person so I guess there s not much to do about that The scene where Van plays for Gorbachev was amazing and made me cry Also this book made me feel very warmly toward Khrushchev.We constantly hear about art being a unive...


  7. says:

    This is one of the best books I have read in a long time The perfect combination of music and politics , two of my biggest interests I admit a prejudice as a long time fan of Van Cliburn who was in heaven when I attended his concert at the Minneapolis Auditorium with the Minneapolis Symphony not their usually venue..indicative of his rock star status as a child.The author does a wonderful job of mixing the politics of the day, which...


  8. says:

    I loved reading some of this, as Van Cliburn was my freshman theory professor s cousin Many of the details were fascinating, encouraging, and or amazing However, I neither appreciated nor enjoyed some of the other details the author included Perhaps I m to...


  9. says:

    This is a very interesting account of the life of one of the most famous pianists of the 20th century, Van Cliburn Van Cliburn rose to international fame when he won the first Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958 The author relates the early life of Cliburn in Shreveport, Louisiana, and later in Kilgore, Texas He was taught by his mother, Rildia Bee Cliburn, from an early age after his musical gifts were recognized Throughout his childhood his mother exerted an enormous influence on his musical and pianistic development She herself had studied with the great Russian pianist, Arthur Friedheim, who had studied with Franz Liszt She imbued her son with a deep love of the 19th cnetury romantic piano repertoire, in particular, with an emphasis on the Russian school of piano performance In his late teens he was able to enter the Juilliard School in New York City where he studied with the famous teacher Rosina Lhevinne Being Russian she taught the grand style perfected by the teachers at the Moscow Conservatory where she studied The first Tchaikovsky competition was set up to showcase the accomplishments of Soviet pianists However, when Cliburn participated in the competition he created a sensation with the Russian audiences and judges of the jury, too, which included the great pianists Emil Gilels and Sviatoslav Richter Even Nikita Khruschev agreed with the jury s decision to award...


  10. says:

    I met him once in Cincinnati, introduced by a musician friend who had attended Juilliard with him He was friendly and personable but a bit shy also His life was overshadowed by his mother, Rildia Bee who dominated his whole life and kept him sexually repressed Sad story all around about how she ruined his personal life and directed his frie...

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