Development of Soviet music policy, 1932-41
Brooke, Caroline Mary.
University of Cambridge
Department of Social and Political Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Brooke, C. M. (1999). Development of Soviet music policy, 1932-41 (Doctoral thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.41624
The politicization of musical life in Stalin's Russia is a subject which has attracted a great deal of interest among specialists and lay-people alike. For the most part, music historians have argued that the 1930s was the period which saw the 'regimentation' of Soviet musical life and the imposition of 'totalitarian controls' on composers. This dissertation seeks to test such interpretations through an exploration of the development of Party policy towards music in the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the 'Cultural Revolution' of 1928-32. The dissertation highlights the intersections between Soviet policy in other spheres and the treatment meted out to the musical profession: both the shift towards isolationism in Soviet foreign policy in late 1935-6 and the Stakhanovite campaign in industry with its accompanying emphasis on populism and anti-elitism can be seen as having had significant input into the antiformalism campaign. It also focuses on the structure of the musical profession itself, and the ways in which practical concerns - the fact that the state was effectively paying composers' wages - often played as significant a role as ideological factors in determining policy. What emerges as perhaps the most striking feature of this study is the absence of a coherent Party line on many issues, and the extent to which members of the musical profession themselves played a significant role in defining the boundaries within which they lived and worked. Chapters in the thesis cover: (1) the 1920s and the Cultural Revolution period; (2) the institutional structures of the Soviet arts bureaucracy and the mechanisms of decision-making in Soviet music policy; (3) 'music and society': the social position and material conditions of members of the musical profession; the increasing professionalization of composers' work; the promotion of the amateur music movement; Soviet musical education; the attempt to create a Soviet performance school; and the introduction of central planning in the musical instruments industry; (4) the definition (or lack thereof) of 'socialist realism' in the musical context, together with the different views taken by politicians, bureaucrats and composers of individual musical genres, including classical music, opera, jazz and folk music, including the folk music of the non-Russian national groups; (5) music and foreign affairs: attitudes towards contemporary Western music; policy towards Russian emigres; the decision to encourage Soviet participation in international performance competitions; and the policies pursued by the revolutionary music bureau of the Comintern; and (6) the anti-formalism campaign of 1936, focusing in particular on the attacks on Shostakovich; and the ways in which Soviet musical life was affected by the Stalinist Terror.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.41624
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