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From modernism to socialist realism in four years: Myaskovsky and Asafyev

Author(s): Frolova-Walker Marina

Journal: Muzikologija
ISSN 1450-9814

Volume: 2003;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 199;
Date: 2003;
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Keywords: socialist realism | Nikolay Myaskovsky | Boris Asafyev

Two outstanding personalities of the Soviet musical life in the 1920's, the composer Nikolay Myaskovsky and the musicologist Boris Asafyev, both exponents of modernism, made volte-faces towards traditionalism at the beginning of the next decade. Myaskovsky's Symphony no. 12 (1931) and Asafyev's ballet The Flames of Paris (1932) became models for Socialist Realism in music. The letters exchanged between the two men testify to the formers uneasiness at the great success of those of his works he considered not valuable enough, whereas the latter was quite satisfied with his new career as composer. The examples of Myaskovsky and Asafyev show that early Soviet modernists made their move away from avant-garde creativity well before they faced any real danger from the bureaucracy.
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