The Lost Pianos of Siberia

The Lost Pianos of Siberia

Siberia’s story is traditionally one of exiles, penal colonies and unmarked graves. Yet there is another tale to tell.

Dotted throughout this remote land are pianos – grand instruments created during the boom years of the nineteenth century, and humble, Soviet-made uprights that found their way into equally modest homes. They tell the story of how, ever since entering Russian culture under the influence of Catherine the Great, piano music has run through the country like blood.

How these pianos travelled into this snow-bound wilderness in the first place is testament to noble acts of fortitude by governors, adventurers and exiles. That stately instruments might still exist in such a hostile landscape is remarkable. That they are still capable of making music in far-flung villages is nothing less than a miracle.

But this is Siberia, where people can endure the worst of the world — and where music reveals a deep humanity in the last place on earth you would expect to find it.

Title:The Lost Pianos of Siberia
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780857524942
Format Type:

    The Lost Pianos of Siberia Reviews

  • eyes.2c

    Lost pianos, who'd have thought?So OK, I decided to read this purely on the romantic view I had in my head. The title just grabbed me. I envisioned a swathe of wonderful pianos populating Dr Zhivago l...

  • Ren

    It’s not often, for me at least, that I finish a book and then could happily open it again to any page and start reading again. This was beautifully, lyrically written, managed to say something new ...

  • Andrew Howdle

    Here we are in Siberia. It looks like an abstract painting. Now for some notes on Kandinsky for those who did not know he was an abstract artist. Long digression on Kandinsky with a mention of his con...

  • Christine

    Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley There is something about Siberia that does stir the imagination. The ice, the snow, the tigers – all of the above, you know. Perhaps it is the survival of people who su...

  • Eleanor

    (3.5) RTC.Roberts is a travel writer whose work has been published in the FT and in Condé Nast Traveler; this is her first book, and takes the form of a quest. On her travels, she has met a world-cla...

  • Kamila

    What a marvellous, marvellous book!!! It’s a wonderful mix (with perfect balance) of travel, nature, anthropology, history and music(ology). I am not a classic music lover, nor I’m particularly in...

  • Imi

    3.5 stars. This wasn't quite what I had been expecting, and I think some of my disappointment stems from that. I was hoping for an exploration of Russian musical history. Roberts admits she is not mus...

  • Toby

    A heartfelt, contemplative odyssey - rich detail and deeply evocative. Yet it felt somewhat fragmented....

  • Jonathan Slaght

    Absolutely intoxicating. Such vivid detail, rich atmosphere, and heartbreak. Some cherished and some neglected, these pianos tell of the musical colonization of a continent, and their stories sing....

  • David

    I enjoyed reading this book but agree with this review about its “gaping flaw” – in the beginning, the author says she is on the hunt for a piano on behalf of a musician friend who lives in Mong...