The Death Of Stalin And The Soviet Union Essay

The Death Of Stalin And The Soviet Union Essay

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With the death of Stalin in 1953 artists of the Soviet Union found themselves with more political freedom, and they used this freedom to create art that expressed the inhumane actions that the regime continued to commit. During Stalin’s life Shostakovich constantly pushed the party beliefs, and after Stalin’s death Shostakovich began composing more of the music he deemed necessary. Twice in his life Shostakovich was denounced, and practically forced out his craft due to this formalist, anti-party music. Despite constantly being aware of the dangers, Shostakovich continued to write music that displeased the regime on a variety of political fronts. He could have easily left the country to write his masterpieces, but he loved his country too much, despite its political flaws, to be willing to run. Shostakovich’s Eleventh Symphony is a multi-narrative piece in that it retells the 1956 Budapest uprising, Russia’s Bloody Sunday of 1905, and reveals Shostakovich’s own personal displeasure with the 1956 Russian regime.
The first movement of the symphony, entitled “Palace Square”, begins Shostakovich’s way of paying appropriate, patriotic homage to the tragedy known as Bloody Sunday in Russia. “In the first movement of his symphony Shostakovich draws on this folk music to depict the people, chilled and hungry, waiting for [a] break in the square outside the palace,” (Blokker, 121). Despite the obvious parallels that could be made to the then current situation in the Soviet Union of 1956, this event had been romanticized enough by the Soviet culture that it was considered patriotic to discuss by the party. Through the use of folk music that he so dearly cherished, Shostakovich provides the opening scene that eventually leads to ...


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... the tragedy he wants to, by hiding it alongside the tragedy he should write.
The Eleventh Symphony was Shostakovich’s innovative way of expressing a tragedy, of which the party disapproved, by creating a dual narrative symphony. Ultimately this tragic symphony would become a point of heated debate, something that would have displeased the artist. By pushing these boundaries Shosatkovich hoped to have a profound effect on the art of that time. What ends up happening is that the delicate, brilliant man is worn down by his constant self-inflicted worries. Instead of seeing the change that his music did bring, he just sees the pains of others. This dual narrative symphony was written in an attempt by Shostakovich to reconcile the sins of a whole country, but in the end, like so many others of his compositions, it was simply forgotten as simplistic work of art.

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