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Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony: Dilemma of a Genius in Stalinist Russia. (Slavic & East European Studies).

Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony: Dilemma of a Genius in Stalinist Russia. Aimee J. Jachym, Western Michigan University, Lee Honors College, Kalamazoo, MI 49008; aimee.jachym@wmich.edu

During the Great Terror, no one was safe from Stalin's purges, not even officials, and especially not artists like Dmitri Shostakovich. After the success of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth, an article appeared in Pravda denouncing the opera and the composer. From then on, Shostakovich's life was in great danger, and he knew it. He was in dire need of the full rehabilitation of his status. Shostakovich had to prove to the Party that his music would now conform to Socialist Realism, the only acceptable art form. The ticket to full rehabilitation was his Fifth Symphony. Officials embraced it as an exemplary socialist realist work, and it was commonly believed that Shostakovich became a loyal communist supporter. Solomon Volkov made the first public argument that Shostakovich was a dissident and not a conformist in 1979 when Testimony was published. Since then, an intensely fought debate about whether Shostakovich was a communist supporter or dissident has developed. The case can be examined in terms of his Fifth Sym phony based on specific and political contexts, musical form, and contemporaneous and modern reactions from critics and scholars. While over 20 years have passed, no decisive conclusion has been reached.
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Publication:Michigan Academician
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Mar 22, 2002
Words:221
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