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Music under Stalin - Essay Example

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The Soviet Union under Stalin had a profound link between music and politics of the regime that was present at the time which used music to propound its ideologies and policies. …
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Music under Stalin

Download file to see previous pages... The RAPM which dominated the 1920s and 1930s also advocated for anti-Western aesthetics that could be seen in works such as Lady Macbeth and led to the realization of the commencement of the Soviet musical history. Members of this group such as Marian Koval became one of the greatest critics of the works of Shostakovich (Edmund 2000, p. 88). There were other groups that were not as influential as RAPM such as Muzyka-massam which translates to music to the masses founded in 1929 to produce music to the citizens. Much, later, there has been political meaning given to the music written by Russian composers such as Shostakovich in which the works were overtly propagandist in nature such as the Eleventh Symphony that were a protest against the Soviet Union under Stalin. Shostakovich also composed music that could be said to be formalist when the RAPM was influential such as the opera “The Nose” and the ballets “Bolt and The Golden Age” that showed disdain for the music performed by RAPM. Despite the good works by artists such as Shostakovich and Prokofiev amongst other composers, they underwent a lot of repression in the year 1948 when the regime through its secretary general issued a decree denouncing them for their formalism and thus their music was suppressed with no publications or performances.
Music under Stalin
The Soviet regime’s under Stalin and those who adopted Stalinism had a stranglehold on the music that was supposed to be produced and composed that made creativity a difficult affair. However, some artists such as Shostakovich, Prokofiev and others managed to create musical masterpieces with distinct messages mainly to counter propaganda and inspire revolutionary purposes amongst the masses (Fairclough 2012, p. 68). There is still very limited understanding of the Soviet reality as concerns the music that was played and performed under Stalin. This incomprehension often leads to the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the motivations and activities of those who composed and performed music including their meaning in the Soviet Union under Stalin. For example Shostakovich rarely explained his musical pieces with a program emphasizing no reference or illusions to his attitude towards the Soviet regime. Instead, he preferred confiding in a circle of friends whom he could trust as discussing his music elsewhere would have killed his musical career. The revered Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin states that during the 1950s, nobody wanted to go to the gulag as at that time there was no independent judiciary in Russia as the Communist party was the only jury with Stalin as the assumed judge. There is clear evidence that music was mostly composed for the omnipotent regime which sought to control the citizens both physically and spiritually as shown by the music of Prokofiev and Shostakovich. These two geniuses of Russian music were later accused amongst other Soviet musicians of not composing music that was accessible to the masses with their music christened ''antinarodnaya” which implied that their music was against the people. In “The War Symphonies: Shostakovich against Stalin” by Larry Weinstein, the author states that the film is clearly made to counter the propaganda of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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