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Such freedom, if only musical : unofficial Soviet music during the Thaw / Peter J. Schmelz
Bib ID 4587126
Format BookBook
Schmelz, Peter John
Description New York : Oxford University Press, c2009 
x, 392 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. 
ISBN 9780195341935

"Following Stalin's death in 1953, during the period now known as the Thaw, Nikita Khrushchev opened up greater freedoms in Soviet Russia's cultural and intellectual life. A broad group of intellectuals and artists were able to take advantage of this, and in no realm of the arts was this perhaps more true than in music. Students at Soviet conservatories were at last able to use various channels - many of questionable legality - to acquire and hear music that had previously been forbidden, and visiting performers and composers brought young Soviets new sounds and new compositions.

In the 1960s, composers such as Andrey Volkonsky, Edison Denisov, Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Part, Sofia Gubaidulinn, and Valentin Silvestrov experimented with a wide variety of then new and unfamiliar techniques ranging from serialism to aleatory devices, and audiences eager to escape the music of predictable sameness typical to socialist realism were attracted to performances of their new and unfamiliar creations."

"This "unofficial" music by young Soviet composers inhabited the gray space between legal and illegal. Such Freedom, If Only Musical traces the changing compositional styles and politically charged reception of this music, and brings to life the paradoxical freedoms and sense of resistance or opposition that it suggested to Soviet listeners. Author Peter J. Schmelz draws upon interviews conducted with many of the most important composers and performers of the musical Thaw, and supplements this firsthand testimony with careful archival research and detailed musical analyses. 'The first book to explore this period in detail, Such Freedom, If Only Musical will appeal to musicologists and theorists interested in postwar arts movements, the cold war and Soviet music, as well as historians of Russian culture and society."--BOOK JACKET.

Full contents
  • The dam bursts : the first and second conservatories
  • Andrey Volkonsky and the beginnings of unofficial music
  • From young to unofficial : Denisov's Sun of the Incas
  • Unofficial venues, performers, and audiences
  • From abstraction to mimesis, from control to freedom : Pärt, Schnittke, Silvestrov, Gubaidulina
  • Denisov's laments, Volkonsky's rejoinder
  • Conclusion : the farewell symphony
  • Epilogue : reflections on memory and nostalgia.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Subjects Music -- Political aspects -- Soviet Union.  |  Music -- Soviet Union -- History and criticism.


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