Stalin's Music Prize Soviet Culture and Politics Marina Frolova-Walker

Publication date:
11 Mar 2016
Yale University Press
384 pages: 235 x 156mm
20 b-w illus.

Marina Frolova-Walker’s fascinating history takes a new look at musical life in Stalin’s Soviet Union. The author focuses on the musicians and composers who received Stalin Prizes, awarded annually to artists whose work was thought to represent the best in Soviet culture. This revealing study sheds new light on the Communist leader’s personal tastes, the lives and careers of those honored, including multiple-recipients Prokofiev and Shostakovich, and the elusive artistic concept of “Socialist Realism,” offering the most comprehensive examination to date of the relationship between music and the Soviet state from 1940 through 1954.

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Youtube: Click to listen to Marina Frolova-Walker talk about the book (and beyond!).

Marina Frolova-Walker was born and educated in Moscow, where she studied at the Moscow Conservatoire. She is professor of music history at Cambridge University, and a Fellow of Clare College.

“Thanks to Frolova-Walker’s engaging and readable written style, such material is brought to life, providing a rich and engrossing narrative of Soviet cultural history during this turbulent period.”—Erik Levi, BBC Music

'Frolova-Walker’s study of the Stalin Prize is permeated with the joy of discovery. Although the subject is tremendous, since it deals with the machinations of power under a dictatorial regime, the author delights in what she calls time travelling and eavesdropping. The amount of sources in which actual conversation had been preserved verbatim enables the historian a fly-on-the-wall perspective that leads her up to Stalin's writing desk.' - 
Francis Maes, European History Quarterly

'Stalin’s Music Prize represents a milestone in the literature on Soviet music and cultural politics.' - Leah Godman, Journal of the American Musicological Society 

“These books give fuller, finer-grained and better-shaded accounts of Soviet policy ups and downs and their impact on musicians than any previous study.”—Richard Taruskin, TLS