Creativity Confinement in the Soviet Union

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In a time period of strict rules of keeping creativity contained, Dmitri Shostakovich wrote under the pressures of the government-imposed standards of Soviet art. However, Shostakovich used his undeniable musical talent to compose pieces with components of sadness and darkness that were, during this time period, challenging the pride of the state. Therefore, he and his music were officially shunned. He continued composing, and began releasing pieces to the public that were the “standard” of Soviet art. At this time, only Shostakovich knew that buried within his seemingly prideful compositions were notes and rhythms of hidden messages challenging the state. Because of his rebellious upbringing and despite negative reactions of the public, Shostakovich continued to challenge the authority of the Soviet Union and fight for freedom of expression with his compositions which were full of mysterious and defiant energy.
Motivations for Shostakovich’s revolutionary musical changes were brought about by the confinement of the artistic society. Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union for most of Shostakovich’s lifetime, had very strict rules. All forms of art were required to reflect the pride of Russia. Opportunities for self expression were very slim. Therefore, there was a standard for music that was not to be modified or challenged. Shostakovich was motivated by the opportunity to challenge the state and create new, rigid compositions that were never heard of at that time, let alone attempted. Shostakovich relied on jagged rhythms, tonal ambiguity, as well as expressive dissonance to identify his music as undeniably his (Travisano 2). He believed that combining different styles and forms of music into an unidentifiable style would be ...

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...dard of Soviet art. He revealed feelings of those suffering around him through his music. His legacy and musical styles have persevered, and Shostakovich is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential composers on twenty-first century music.

Works Cited

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Fay, Laurel E. "Shostakovich: A Life." New York Times 7 July 2005: n. pag. Print.
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Rothstein, Edward. "What Shostakovich Was Really Expressing." The New York Times 6 May 2011: n. pag. Print.
Travisano, Thomas. "Dmitri Shostakovich; Complex Enough." New York Times 20 Feb. 2000: n. pag. Print.
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