David Zane Mairowitz:
The Stalin Sonata

David Zane Mairowitz - The Stalin Sonata

BBC Radio 3

Broadcast: Tuesday 1st August 1989 @ 9:45 p.m.

At the end of the broadcast from Radio Moscow one night in 1938, the Chief of Radio, Mikhail Karlovitch, takes a telephone call from someone claiming to be Stalin and requesting a particular recording by pianist Maria Llovna Djerzinskaya, a feted concert performer from the 30s, to be brought to his Dacha by morning. The problem is that she was arrested, tortured and imprisoned on his orders years ago. Music libraries throughout the Soviet Union have been stripped of her back catalogue. She herself survives as a breathing corpse with broken fingers in the cells of the Lubyanka.

Was it really Stalin on the phone or a political enemy trying to bring him down? Is this some kind of test of political loyalty and discipline? How can one disappoint Stalin in one of his 'melancholy moods'? "The Stalin Sonata" takes the listener into a world dominated by the cult of the personality, where one's very life is subject to the petty whim of the leader, and where to fail to please Him is unthinkable.

David Zane Mairowitz's comedy of menace won the Giles Cooper Award for Best Radio Play in 1989

With Barbara Jefford [Maria Llovna Djerzinskaya], Clive Merrison [Semyon Pavlovitch], Philip Voss [Mikhail Karlovitch], Jane Leonard [Sophia Ivanovna], Ian Targett [Pavel Ilyitch], Donald Gee [State Prosecutor], and Brian Miller [Jailer].

Piano played by Mary Nash.

Directed by Richard Wortley.

Re-broadcast on Tuesday 24th July 1990.

75 min.


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