Music, class and party in 1920s Russia

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The period immediately following the Russian Revolution in 1917 was characterised by an upsurge in artistic experimentation and activity which lasted until near the end of the 1920s and Stalin’s first Five Year Plan. Best known are the developments that took place during those years in visual art and literature. This article is about the Revolution’s impact on musical life in Russia. It will examine how the Russian musical establishment reacted to the challenges of a new generation of composers and musicians, including the young Dmitri Shostakovich, whose ideas had been shaped by the Revolution. It will focus in particular on the political debates about the nature and place of music in a revolutionary society before drawing some conclusions about what the history of this period contributes to a Marxist understanding of the role of music and the relationship between music and politics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-138
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Socialism
Issue number164
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2019

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