By Roberts, Sophy
In the late 1700s Catherine the Great embraced the craze for pianos that had swept western Europe since the 1500s, but had barely made an impact in Russia. Her influence on musical culture was significant and production of pianos moved eastwards from London, Paris and Vienna to M...oscow and St Petersburg, where thousands of exquisite grands were manufactured. These pianos made their way throughout the Russian Empire, ending up in far-flung, exotic and unexpected locations, including Siberia. Covering a ninth of the world's landmass, Siberia has long held meaning for travellers - a hostile, snow covered landscape beneath which lies prehistoric animals preserved in permafrost; a juncture between east and west where armies set up forts to secure the huge swathes of land; a land still inhabited by wild tigers, bears and leopards, connected to the rest of Russia by the Trans-Siberian Railway. And peppered throughout this much-maligned expanse are pianos. Sophy Roberts weaves together the story of these forgotten and lost instruments - languishing in the vast landscape - with the history of Siberia, its people and its musical legacy. Fusing nature writing, travelogue and memoir, The Lost Pianos of Siberia is an original, lyrical exploration of the mysterious allure of one of the most remote places on earth.Read more
Sophy Roberts is a British writer whose work focuses on the wild places from Papua New Guinea to the Congo. She began her career assisting the writer Jessica Mitford, and trained in journalism at Columbia University in New York. She regularly contributes to the Financial Times and the US edition of Conde Nast Traveler, among others. The Lost Pianos of Siberia is her first book.
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