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Sound CommitmentsAvant-Garde Music and the Sixties$
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Robert Adlington

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195336641

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195336641.001.0001

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From Scriabin to Pink Floyd

From Scriabin to Pink Floyd

The ANS Synthesizer and the Politics of Soviet Music between Thaw and Stagnation

(p.254) 12 From Scriabin to Pink Floyd
Sound Commitments

Peter J. Schmelz

Oxford University Press

The first Soviet synthesizer was developed in the late 1950s by a military engineer named Yevgeniy Murzin. Named after Murzin's hero Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin, the ANS synthesiser was soon toured overseas as a symbol of the Soviet Union's technological prowess. However, by the mid 1960s official interest had waned and both the synthesizer and its studio, although continuing to be supported by official subsidies, fell into the hands of the musical“underground”. The studio thereby became a centre for“unofficial” concerts which undercut the dominant Soviet Realist aesthetic codes. It also witnessed a generational shift within the underground, from the older“academic” avant‐gardists to a younger generation fascinated by progressive rock. The multimedia“happenings” staged at the studio in the early seventies finally precipitated the studio's closure, although it was the synthesizer's brief association with avant‐garde composers such as Schnittke, Denisov and Gubaidulina that figured most prominently in the official justification.

Keywords:   ANS synthesizer, 1960s, avant‐garde, underground, Yevgeniy Murzin, progressive rock, Soviet Union, happenings, Schnittke, Gubaidulina

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