Russian Music and Nationalism From Glinka to Stalin Marina Frolova-Walker
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- Publication date:
- 14 Dec 2007
- 336 pages: 234 x 156 x 40mm
- 12 b&w illustrations
Challenging what is widely regarded as the distinguishing feature of Russian music - its ineffable "Russianness" - Marina Frolova-Walker examines the history of Russian music from the premiere of Glinka's opera "A Life for the Tsar" in 1836 to the death of Stalin in 1953, the years in which musical nationalism was encouraged and endorsed by the Russian state and its Soviet successor. The author identifies the two central myths that dominated Russian culture during this period - that art revealed the Russian soul, and that this nationalist artistic tradition was founded by Glinka and Pushkin. She shows how nationalist ideas were endlessly recycled and elaborated in the writings of composers, critics and historians of music, even when supporting evidence was scant or non-existent. Against this background, the author offers a critical account of how the imperatives of nationalist thought fired up individual invention, pushed composers to engage with folk, popular, and church music traditions, and caused them to reject certain Western paradigms, or even stand them on their head. In this way, she provides a new perspective on the brilliant creativity, innovation and eventual stagnation to be found within the tradition of Russian nationalist music.
Marina Frolova-Walker graduated at the Moscow Conservatoire and is now senior lecturer in music in the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Clare College. She writes and lectures widely on Russian music, and has contributed many articles to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and The Oxford Companion to Music.
"This is a work of scholarship that cuts no corners and leaves no assumptions unchallenged: it is erudite in scope, sophisticated in critical and analytical discussion, and beautifully written, with a blessed absence of jargon or verbosity, in the author's characteristically lively, readable style."
- Pauline Fairclough, Music & Letters
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