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Contents

Music in the Early Twentieth Century

PROTAGONIST OR VICTIM?

Chapter:
CHAPTER 13 Music and Totalitarian Society
Source:
MUSIC IN THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY
Author(s):
Richard Taruskin

So much for theory. The story of Stalinist totalitarianism in practice, where music was concerned, can best be told—in fact, in some ways can only be told—in terms of the creative biography of Dmitriy Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (1906–75), the Soviet Union’s emblematic composer. Shostakovich was the one composer wholly formed in the Soviet Union to achieve unquestionable world eminence. In that sense his work was not only regarded, but was actively promoted by the regime, as an emblem of Soviet cultural achievement and a vindication of the theory of socialist realism. His actual biography, containing as it did dramatic collisions and painful compromises with Soviet authority, is emblematic in another way, symbolizing the plight of artists who are subject to direct political control under uniquely modern conditions. And the controversies that have swirled about his legacy since his death (and especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union) are emblematic in yet a third way, exemplifying the contests over the meaning of art to which conditions of censorship and political manipulation inevitably give rise.

Citation (MLA):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 13 Music and Totalitarian Society." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2018. <http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume4/actrade-9780195384840-div1-013009.xml>.
Citation (APA):
Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 13 Music and Totalitarian Society. In Oxford University Press, Music in the Early Twentieth Century. New York, USA. Retrieved 18 Dec. 2018, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume4/actrade-9780195384840-div1-013009.xml
Citation (Chicago):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 13 Music and Totalitarian Society." In Music in the Early Twentieth Century, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 18 Dec. 2018, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume4/actrade-9780195384840-div1-013009.xml
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