•  
  •  
 

Keywords

Soviet Union, USSR, Stalin, Shostakovich, formalism, Socialist Realism

Abstract

Can music that is regulated and restrained by a dictator still be inspired? This question reveals ideology concerning how music should be created and valued. Does outside control restrict artistic integrity and autonomy? Not all composers have been free to write whatever their soul demands. People in authority have held power and control over artistic processes. Dmitri Shostakovich was a Russian composer whose work was subjected to the tastes of a tyrannical ruler and Communist party. Though Shostakovich did not compose in an environment that fostered musical exploration, his work should not be mourned but celebrated. Shostakovich was not a victim, but a victor of his music by the way he composed in the midst of the threat of denouncement. Though Shostakovich wrote music to follow the demands of others, the music was still his by the very fact that he created it; he brought it into existence and highlighted it with nuances of his being and personality as he produced each work. This research examines three critical pieces of Shostakovich’s canon to ascertain whether controlled art subjected to the whims, preferences, and objectives of others can still be inspired. Though a composer might be told what to say, it is he who chooses how to word a phrase. Shostakovich’s output, particularly the first symphony, his opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, and fifth symphony exemplify that restrained and restricted music does not necessitate a sacrifice in artistic integrity; it can be inspired, celebrated, and worthy of study.

DOI

10.15385/jmo.2013.4.2.2

Disclaimer

DigitalCommons@Cedarville provides a publication platform for fully open access journals, which means that all articles are available on the Internet to all users immediately upon publication. However, the opinions and sentiments expressed by the authors of articles published in our journals do not necessarily indicate the endorsement or reflect the views of DigitalCommons@Cedarville, the Centennial Library, or Cedarville University and its employees. The authors are solely responsible for the content of their work. Please address questions to dc@cedarville.edu.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Included in

Musicology Commons

Share

COinS
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.