Creative Union: The Professional Organization of Soviet Composers, 1939-1953 by Kiril TomoffCreative Union: The Professional Organization of Soviet Composers, 1939-1953 by Kiril Tomoff

Creative Union: The Professional Organization of Soviet Composers, 1939-1953

byKiril Tomoff

Hardcover | May 25, 2006

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Why did the Stalin era, a period characterized by bureaucratic control and the reign of Socialist Realism in the arts, witness such an extraordinary upsurge of musical creativity and the prominence of musicians in the cultural elite? This is one of the questions that Kiril Tomoff seeks to answer in Creative Union, the first book about any of the professional unions that dominated Soviet cultural life at the time. Drawing on hitherto untapped archives, he shows how the Union of Soviet Composers established control over the music profession and negotiated the relationship between composers and the Communist Party leadership. Central to Tomoff's argument is the institutional authority and prestige that the musical profession accrued and deployed within Soviet society, enabling musicians to withstand the postwar disciplinary campaigns that were so crippling in other artistic and literary spheres.Most accounts of Soviet musical life focus on famous individuals or the campaign against Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth and Zhdanov's postwar attack on musical formalism. Tomoff's approach, while not downplaying these notorious events, shows that the Union was able to develop and direct a musical profession that enjoyed enormous social prestige. The Union's leadership was able to use its expertise to determine the criteria of musical value with a degree of independence. Tomoff's book reveals the complex and mutable interaction of creative intelligentsia and political elite in a period hitherto characterized as one of totalitarian control.
Kiril Tomoff is Professor of History at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Virtuosi Abroad: Soviet Music and Imperial Competition during the Early Cold War, 1945–1958 and Creative Union: The Professional Organization of Soviet Composers, 1939–1953, both from Cornell.
Title:Creative Union: The Professional Organization of Soviet Composers, 1939-1953Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.39 inPublished:May 25, 2006Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:080144411X

ISBN - 13:9780801444111

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Editorial Reviews

"Based on exhaustive archival research, Creative Union shows how Soviet musicians consolidated, exercised, and defended professional authority in the perilous, ideologically charged atmosphere of Stalin's Russia. Kiril Tomoff's impressive, highly original work provides a compelling corrective to widely held assumptions about the status of creative intellectuals in authoritarian regimes. A valuable contribution to the field of Russian-Soviet history generally, this book has particular resonance for those interested in the nature of the Stalinist system, the formation and perpetuation of the Stalinist cultural elite, the impact of World War II on Soviet cultural life, the nexus between political power and cultural authority, and the effect of officially sanctioned anti-Semitism on creative elites."—Amy Nelson, Virginia Tech, author of Music for the Revolution: Musicians and Power in Early Soviet Russia