Singing Soviet Stagnation: Vocal Cycles from the USSR, 1964–1985 explores the ways in which the aftershock of an apparent crisis in Soviet identity after the death of Stalin in 1953 can be detected in selected musical- literary works of what has become known as the ‘Stagnation’ era (1964–1985). Richard Louis Gillies traces the cultural impact of this shift through the intersection between music, poetry, and identity, presenting close readings of three substantial musical-literary works by three of the period’s most prominent composers of songs and vocal cycles:
• Seven Poems of Aleksandr Blok, Op. 127 (1966– 1967) by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975)
• Russia Cast Adrift (1977) by Georgy Sviridov (1915–1998)
• Stupeni (1981–1982; 1997) by Valentin Silvestrov (b. 1937).
The study elaborates an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of musicalliterary artworks that does not rely on existing models of musical analysis or on established modes of literary criticism, thereby avoiding privileging one discipline over the other. It will be of particular signifi cance for scholars, students, and performers with an interest in Russian and Soviet music, the intersection between music and poetry, and the history of Russian and East European culture, politics, and identity during the twentieth century.
Table of Contents
1 HOWLING WOLVES: Voice, Song, and Identity in the Soviet Union; 2 STEPPING OVER THE THRESHOLD: Dmitri Shostakovich’s Seven Poems of Aleksandr Blok; 3 THE SOVIET BETRAYAL OF RUS′: Georgy Sviridov’s Russia Cast Adrift; 4 ESCHATOLOGICAL TENDERNESS: Valentin Silvestrov’s Stupeni; 5 ECHOES AND REPERCUSSIONS: Conclusion
Richard Louis Gillies is a lecturer and scholar specialising in the music, poetry, and cultural practices of Russia and the Soviet Union during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.