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Thread: Stalin and that other guy...

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Default Stalin and that other guy...

    Wanna talk about politics and music? It's now Shostakovich's birthday on the US West Coast! Surely we have some thoughts...


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    If it wasn't for Stalin and Co. Шоста would've written better music, more cutting edge.

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    Sr. Moderator Taggart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Wanna talk about politics and music? It's now Shostakovich's birthday on the US West Coast! Surely we have some thoughts...
    Doesn't rate on google - no doodle today.
    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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    I've read Solomon Volkov's book on Shostakovich and Stalin. I can only recommend it, it's a fascinating read, although one gets the impression that Stalin was completely preoccupied with culture politics and didn't do much else. Surely, he had to care about other things too.

    But I guess it is true that Stalin wanted to advance the arts and culture in order to change the image of Russia as a country of illiterate peasants. Because despite the great Russian writers of the 19th century, that was probably still the public perception abroad. At least in my country it was, which led to our nasty theories of the "brutish slavic subhuman".

    I admire Shostakovich for his persistence and courage, although I'm not really sure whether he actually had much of a choice. But I also admire him for his music, which to me is not second-rate Mahler. The fact that the bulk of his output is dominated by his struggle with/against a repressive regime, to me, renders it an even more valuable artistic statement.

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    Senior Member Klavierspieler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComposerOfAvantGarde View Post
    If it wasn't for Stalin and Co. Шоста would've written better music, more cutting edge.
    Transliteration, please...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klavierspieler View Post
    Transliteration, please...
    Shosta, I think? I don't even know Cyrillic....

    Anyway, I agree with CoAG. My favorite Shostakovich pieces are the ones from before and after his confrontation with the authorities, rather than during.

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    Senior Member Cheyenne's Avatar
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    I wish he composed more symphonies like a fourth.. I vastly prefer it over his others. I still like a great deal of his work though.

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    Senior Member MagneticGhost's Avatar
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    I agree in part. BUT and it's a big one.
    Without the fear - we would never have had the perfect 5th.
    “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

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    There is an excellent book about Shostakovich, written by a Polish composer and musicologist:

    http://www.amazon.de/Schostakowitsch.../dp/3254083768

    There are German and Russian translations of this book. So, I suppose that Andreas can read it in his native language.

    I think Richard Taruskin has quite interesting chapter on Shostakovich in his History of Western Music. Taruskin discusses Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk case.

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    Senior Member Blancrocher's Avatar
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    Nothing about Shosty in here, but I think this is interesting in this context nonetheless:

    http://chronicle.com/article/Stalins...Pencil/142109/

    It's a brief review essay about recent work assessing Stalin's work as an editor. It makes some questionable connections between the power of the editor and of the dictator, but it's well written and left me wanting to learn more.

    In any case, still more corroboration of the brutal, narcissistic, detail-oriented, and weirdly aesthetic sensibility the Soviet composers had to deal with.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blancrocher View Post
    Nothing about Shosty in here, but I think this is interesting in this context nonetheless:

    http://chronicle.com/article/Stalins...Pencil/142109/
    Fascinating article! Of course it doesn't go into Stalin's other life as a music critic...


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    Senior Member Blake's Avatar
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    Shosty was a Bolshevik at heart.

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    Senior Member ptr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taggart View Post
    Doesn't rate on google - no doodle today.
    That just tells You how insignificantly small minded the google people are!

    /ptr
    Je suis Charlie ~ I am a certified OrgaNut! (F.—I.W.)

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    Senior Member samurai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vesuvius View Post
    Shosty was a Bolshevik at heart.
    Are you quite sure of this "fact."? What is your basis for it?
    Whatever floats your boat

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    Senior Member Blancrocher's Avatar
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    It's been awhile since I saw this and so I don't really vouch for its contents, but some may enjoy the film "Shostakovich against Stalin":

    Last edited by Blancrocher; May-05-2014 at 18:55.

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