Shostakovich? Enough. Please.
I am sick of Shostakovich. I understand that some composers become causes celebre, and that Mahler would be an obscure Austro-Hungarian composer (and more famous as a conductor) had he not been taken up as such a cause. However, this stupid Shostakovich mania is tiring, grating, and a little passe. This article, from the Guardian about Tikhon Khrennikov (Stalin's music commissar), shows how any discussion of music in Stalin's Soviet Union has to center on Shostakovich and his struggles. Pierre Boulez hit it best when he said, I think, of Shostakovich "third-pressing Mahler."
I, for one, don't give a damn about Shostakovich. I would be more interested in how Khrennikov's "socialist realism" program was directed by Stalin. He certainly imposed that critical theory on the writers through Gorky and through direct contact. The Stalinist centralization of arts control is far more interesting than the story of a third-rate composer who got some tough breaks and might have been autobiographical in his compositions.
The shame of Shostakovich is that for each of his drecky works that gets into the repertoire, a truly great work, like Franz Schmidt's Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln, has to get left out of it.