Foreword, Author's Preface, Publisher's Note, Family and Childhood, Moscow Central Music School, Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Birth of a Quartet, Beginnings - First Appearances at Moscow Conservatory, Ethics and Ideals - Moscow Philharmonic Quartet, Stabilising the Quartet, Borodin Quartet on the Road, Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich, Like a Phoenix from the Ashes, On Leadership, On Teaching, On Audiences - on Russia, David Oistrakh, On Criticism - Mstislav Rostropovich, On Sviatoslav Richter - on family, In Praise of Examples, Anatoly Zverev, Tempo, Yevgeny Fyodorovich Svetlanov, Finale, Valentin Berlinsky by Family and Friends - Ludmila Berlinskaya - Dmitri Shebaline - Irina Antonova - Rostislav Burkin - Natalia Shakhovskaya, Appendices, Notes on Contributors, Index of Names
Born in Paris to a family of eminent Russian musicians, Maria Matalaev began her career as a pianist, completing her studies at the Regional Conservatory and the Ecole Normale de Musique A. Cortot in Paris. Winner of several international awards, Maria started performing with orchestras at the age of 15 and has since played as a soloist or chamber musician throughout Europe at prestigious venues such as the Wigmore Hall in London, the Gaveau and Cortot halls in Paris, and the Great and Small Halls of the Moscow Conservatory. After gaining a bachelor's degree in Applied Modern Literature at the Sorbonne, Maria worked in the field of art history before returning to music as an audience development manager working with the Secession Orchestra and the piano duet Berlinskaya-Ancelle. She gained a master's degree in Arts, Letters and Civilization majoring in contemporary literature, from the Sorbonne, and in 2013 began translating and editing the memoirs of her grandfather, Valentin Berlinsky, the celebrated cellist and founder of the Borodin Quartet. First published in French, the book was awarded the 2016 "Prix du Temoignage" at the Prix des Muses. With her experience as an accomplished chamber musician and with her knowledge of contemporary literature, art history and a mastery of a number of foreign languages, Maria now teaches piano and literature in Paris.
'On so many levels, this is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read: a history of the legendary Borodin Quartet, not coincidentally packed with musical wisdom enlightening, or at least food for thought, to any musician. Furthermore, it's a memoir of the extraordinary talent among both teachers and students of the Moscow Conservatory in the 1940s (Shostakovich, David Oistrakh and Rostropovich just some of the most famous); and - perhaps most intriguing of all - a candid portrait of the Borodin's long-standing cellist, Valentin Berlinsky. Readers may recall the memoir of another one-time key member of the Borodin, Rostslav Dubinsky's Stormy Applause, in which Berlinsky is cast in a sinister light as a Stalinist stooge. Do put all prejudice aside and try this extraordinary memoir-cum-history from the man himself. Conjured from a rich mix of sources - Berlinsky's diary, reviews, interviews published for the first time - what emerges from the book is a profound musician fanatically dedicated to the quartet and the repertoire it excelled in. Anyone disappointed by their Christmas haul should not hesitate but treat themselves.' 5 stars Daniel Jaffe, BBC Music Magazine, February 2019; 'The more I read, the more absorbed and touched I was' Steven Isserlis, September 2018