Music and Soviet Power, 1917-1932

Music and Soviet Power, 1917-1932

Marina Frolova-Walker, Jonathan Walker

Hardback
$45.00

Boydell Press

Overview

Overview

The book offers unprecedented access to primary sources that have been unavailable in English, or which lay unknown on archival shelves. Music and Soviet Power offers cultural history told through documents - both colourful and representative - with an extensive commentary and annotation throughout.
The October Revolution of 1917 tore the fabric of Russian musical life: institutions collapsed, and leading composers emigrated or fell into silence. But in 1932, at the outset of the "socialist realist" period, a new Stalinist music culture was emerging. Between these two dates lies a turbulent period of change which this book charts year by year. It sheds light on the vicious power struggles and ideological wars, the birth of new aesthetic credos, and the gradual increase of Party and state control over music, in the opera houses, the concert halls, the workers' clubs, and on the streets.
The book not only provides a detailed and nuanced depiction of the early Soviet musical landscape, but brings it to life by giving voice to the leading actors and commentators of the day. The vibrant public discourse on music is presented through a selection of press articles, reviews and manifestos, all supplied with ample commentary. These myriad sources offer a new context for our understanding of Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Myaskovsky, while also showing how Western music was received in the USSR. This, however, is only half the story. The other half emerges from the private dimension of this cultural upheaval, traced through the letters, diaries and memoirs left by composers and other major players in the music world. These materials address the beliefs, motivations and actions of the Russian musical intelligentsia during the painful period of their adjustment to the changing demands of the new state.
While following the twists and turns of official policies on music, the authors also offer their own explanations for the outcomes. The book offers unprecedented access to primary sources that have been unavailable in English, or which lay unknown on archival shelves. Music and Soviet Power offers cultural history told through documents - both colourful and representative - with an extensive commentary and annotation throughout.

MARINA FROLOVA-WALKER is Reader in Music History at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge; JONATHAN WALKER, who has a PhD in Musicology, is a freelance writer, teacher and pianist.

Details

July 2012
30 line illustrations
432 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843837039
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BIC AVA, 1DVU, 2AB, 3JJ
BISAC MUS020000, ART037000, HIS032000
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Table of Contents

October 1917-18 Out of Chaos
1919 Depression and Fever
1920 Bureaucracy on the Rise
1921 Should I stay or should I go?
1922 Just Like the Old Days?
1923 The Birth of ASM and RAPM
1924 ASM in the Ascendant
1925 Equilibrium
1926 Guests from the West
1927 Celebrations
1928 At the Crossroads
1929 "Velikiy perelom" - "The Great Turning Point"
1930 RAPM's Glorious Year?
1931 RAPM's Fortunes Turning
1932 The Rules Change

Reviews

Frolova-Walker and Walker have done an admirable job of selecting documents that shed new light on the time period. This is an invaluable source for students of Soviet history and music, and even specialists will find much new material in the range of articles presented here. REVOLUTIONARY RUSSIA

Highly recommended to those with a specialist or general interest in music (...) or, more broadly, in cultural politics or just politics. JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN STUDIES

(A) fascinating and invaluable book (...) It navigates an absorbing way through this difficult and complex period, and presents fresh material that should be made available beyond the confines of academic libraries and their scholars. MUSICAL TIMES

Few will penetrate the archives as comprehensively as the authors, and the riches they have brought back will help to change and deepen our understanding of early Soviet music. SCRSS NEWSLETTER

Frolova (sic) and Walker describe these years of relative but tightly circumscribed freedom through the great number of documents they have translated, with excellent introductions and annotations. Some of the authors of these texts are already known, but their work appears here for the first time in a Western language and shows how fiercely the battle was waged on both sides (ASM and RAPM). NRC HANDELSBLAD

(T)o immerse oneself in this collection of manifestos and other cultural polemics is revealing. (...) The apparatus (...) supplies invaluable guideposts. (...) Highly recommended. CHOICE

Enrich(es) the developing sense of how Soviet artists worked with and against the official dictates of their time, and how they responded to the incidental squabbles and long-term preoccupations with which they had to content. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

Marina Frolova-Walker and Jonathan Walker provide a subtly nuanced and painstakingly annotated account of this period unearthing a wealth of documentary information (...) The resulting narrative is extraordinarily vivid, bringing to light much significant material that alters long-established historical preconceptions. BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

This is an important book and one that makes compelling reading. With their careful selection and commentary, the authors have brought a level gaze to bear upon dark and difficult times in which optimism and torment seemed to alternate unpredictably. GRAMOPHONE

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