Episode #12

January 28, 1936: Stalin Reprimands Shostakovich

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This publication in Pravda of the article titled "Chaos Instead of Music" signaled Stalin’s displeasure with Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and led to the composer’s “redemption” in his Symphony No. 5. This program will explore Shostakovich and the sometimes mutually beneficial, sometimes terrifying, relationship between music and the totalitarian state.

Comments [1]

Andrew Raybould from Irvington, NY

I am not persuaded that there can be a 'mutually beneficial' relationship between music and the totalitarian state, and if there were, I would consider it a bad thing, on the grounds that it would be beneficial to a totalitarian state. Shostakovich wrote some wonderful music under the thumb of the Soviets, but even if he would have not written anything so good otherwise (which I doubt), it would not justify the oppression he faced, let alone what was done to millions of others. He showed great courage in choosing to stand up to the regime, but it would have been better if he, and so many others, were not faced with that choice.

Aug. 23 2011 11:16 PM

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