Browsing by Subject "yhteiskuntahistoria/poliittinen historia"

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  • Herrala, Meri (2009)
    Whereas it has been widely assumed in the public that the Soviet music policy system had a “top-down” structure of control and command that directly affected musical creativity, in fact my research shows that the relations between the different levels of the music policy system were vague, and the viewpoints of its representatives differed from each other. Because the representatives of the party and government organs controlling operas could not define which kind of music represented Socialist Realism, the system as it developed during the 1930s and 1940s did not function effectively enough in order to create such a centralised control of Soviet music, still less could Soviet operas fulfil the highly ambiguous aesthetics of Socialist Realism. I show that musical discussions developed as bureaucratic ritualistic arenas, where it became more important to reveal the heretical composers, making scapegoats of them, and requiring them to perform self-criticism, than to give directions on how to reach the artistic goals of Socialist Realism. When one opera was found to be unacceptable, this lead to a strengthening of control by the party leadership, which lead to more operas, one after the other, to be revealed as failures. I have studied the control of the composition, staging and reception of the opera case-studies, which remain obscure in the West despite a growing scholarly interest in them, and have created a detailed picture of the foundation and development of the Soviet music control system in 1932-1950. My detailed discussion of such case-studies as Ivan Dzerzhinskii’s The Quiet Don, Dmitrii Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District, Vano Muradeli’s The Great Friendship, Sergei Prokofiev’s Story of a Real Man, Tikhon Khrennikov’s Frol Skobeev and Evgenii Zhukovskii’s From All One’s Heart backs with documentary precision the historically revisionist model of the development of Soviet music. In February 1948, composers belonging to the elite of the Union of Soviet Composers, e.g. Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev, were accused in a Central Committee Resolution of formalism, as been under the influence of western modernism. Accusations of formalism were connected to the criticism of the conciderable financial, material and social privileges these composers enjoyed in the leadership of the Union. With my new archival findings I give a more detailed picture of the financial background for the 1948 campaign. The independent position of the music funding organization of the Union of Soviet Composers (Muzfond) to decide on its finances was an exceptional phenomenon in the Soviet Union and contradicted the strivings to strengthen the control of Soviet music. The financial audits of the Union of Soviet Composers did not, however, change the elite status of some of its composers, except for maybe a short duration in some cases. At the same time the independence of the significal financial authorities of Soviet theatres was restricted. The cuts in the governmental funding allocated to Soviet theatres contradicted the intensified ideological demands for Soviet operas.