Dimitry Shostakovich

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It was a freezing January day in the city of Archangelsk, Russia. A man by the name of Dmitri Shostakovich picked up the newest issue of Pravda from the newsstands, which were unusually busy today. “Wow, this is really harsh!” “Are Pravda’s expectations THAT high?” people whispered to one another. After reading it briefly, Shostakovich flew into a fit of frustration and rage. This paper called his music “degenerate and decadent” (Stevens)! There is no way that Pravda would trash his music as badly as this. In fact, the article was written under orders by an upset Josef Stalin. These two Russian titans impacted Russia’s culture between 1930 and 1950. They absolutely hated each other! The tension between the two radiated throughout Shostakovich’s music and Stalin’s iron-fisted attitude towards his symphonies. Stalin manipulated composers to the point of suicide for defying his wishes, and he was not afraid to do that to Shostakovich. Somehow, Shostakovich dared to resist Stalin’s evil ways and went on to become a “brilliant and internationally famous composer. Shostakovich wasn’t the first to be exploited by malicious leaders. Tsar Nicholas I “cruelly manipulated Alexander Pushkin” (Dmitri), and St. Petersburg, as portrayed by Russian poets and writers, was “a place of “doubles” and ruined lives.”(Volkov, Testimony xx) In Russian biographer Solomon Volkov’s eyes, “this is what happened to artists in a cruel age.” (Dmitri) During Stalin’s reign of terror, influence over the people was a crucial thing, so he wanted to have a firm grip on liberal arts in Russia. One good example of his manipulation of artists in Russia was when Mikhail Bulgakov, the author of The Master and the Margarita, was rumored to be leaving the Soviet Unio... ... middle of paper ... ...or MultiMedia History, Volume 2 (1999). Long Island University, 22 Oct. 1999. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. Schalks, Arnold. "Arnold Schalks, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Muddle Instead of Music." Arnold Schalks, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Muddle Instead of Music. N.p., 31 Jan. 2013. Web. 15 Dec. 2013. Shostakovich, Dmitriĭ Dmitrievich, and Solomon Volkov. Testimony: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich. New York: Harper & Row, 1979. Print. Stevens, David. "Shostakovich's Revenge on Stalin." The New York Times. The New York Times, 23 Dec. 2004. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. Volkov, Solomon, and Antonina W. Bouis. Shostakovich and Stalin: The Extraordinary Relationship between the Great Composer and the Brutal Dictator. New York: Knopf, 2004. Print.

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