Music in the Socialist State
In discussing initial musical developments under proletarian dictatorship in Russia, one must distinguish between the political structuring of the art on the one hand and, on the other, actual music-making. From the political point of view, the year 1921marks a relatively significant victory for the state in its bid for more control in the cultural arena once the autonomous and in part reactionary forces of the Proletkul׳t had been disbanded in October 1920. However, the absence of a clear ideological programme for the proletarianization of music, confusion over the abstract nature of the art, and the need to rely on fellow-travellers for leadership allowed for the continuation of agendas that had existed before 1921and, in some respects, even before 1917. This situation combined with improvement in economic conditions under the New Economic Policy (NEP) and Lenin's position that 'cultural problems cannot be solved as quickly as political and military problems'1to yield a musical eclecticism that would play itself out only on the eve of the next decade.
Western scholarship has traditionally acknowledged that music thrived under NEP despite various material shortages. The period has generally been associated with 'a lessening of revolutionary militancy, a relaxation of ideological tensions [and] a greater permissiveness in matters of musical taste and style'. 2For example, with the resumption of Western contacts interrupted since 1914, the NEP period saw a re-emergence of activities reminiscent of the pre-Revolutionary Evenings of Contemporary Music. These were concerts in St Petersburg
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Russian Cultural Studies:An Introduction. Contributors: Catriona Kelly - Editor, David Shepherd - Editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 109.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.