Prolific director opposed by the Soviet censorship, Alexander Sokurov narrated with passion and wisdom his elegies of the human being, be it an outcast of society or a political leader, or even a great artist of his country.
That is the case of this portrait of, resulting from extensive excavations in the Soviet archives, completed in 1981, that the censorship would ban until the perestroika.
Thanks to extracts from the works of Šostakovič (see the Sonata per viola, published posthumously, which gives the title to the film), Sokurov captures the artist in his everyday life as in the professional downpours following the Stalinist censorship.
Precious and unpublisheds are the sequences documenting the public appearances of Šostakovič, seated at the keyboard for a performance of his Concerto for piano and trumpet, or in the pulpit for a speech to the League of Soviet Composers. The result is a fresco of an era and a life.