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Sonic OverloadAlfred Schnittke, Valentin Silvestrov, and Polystylism in the Late USSR$
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Peter J. Schmelz

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197541258

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197541258.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 27 January 2022

Popular Music, the Devil, and Aerobics

Popular Music, the Devil, and Aerobics

Chapter:
(p.141) 5 Popular Music, the Devil, and Aerobics
Source:
Sonic Overload
Author(s):

Peter J. Schmelz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780197541258.003.0006

This chapter advances the argument of Sonic Overload by turning to the interactions between art and popular music in Schnittke’s Symphony No. 1, Requiem (1975), Concerto Grosso No. 1 (1977), Piano Concerto (1979), Symphony no. 3 (1976–81), and Faust Cantata (Seid nüchtern und wachet, 1983), as well as several of his film scores. It considers for the first time Schnittke’s ongoing negotiations between high and low across his entire career, giving careful scrutiny to his declaration in the late 1980s that “pop culture is a good disguise for any kind of devilry.” Schnittke’s change of heart, from embracing popular music—and specifically jazz and rock—from the late 1960s through the 1970s, to expressing grave concerns about its effects a decade later, mirrored the sentiments of many. In the turbulent final years of the Soviet Union, rock supplanted poetry as the conscience of the nation yet it still inspired deep anxiety among those embracing traditional Soviet conceptions of being “cultured.” Schnittke’s apprehensions about popular music in the 1980s stemmed from its growing presence in the fragmented late-Soviet soundscape and its growing prestige among newly influential tastemakers, chief among them younger intellectuals and other cultural figures. The elevation of pop music in the USSR (as in the West) expanded a growing generational divide. Schnittke’s own rejection of popular music seems to have been instigated in part by his son, Andrey, who in the early 1980s was a member of the noted Moscow rock group Center (Tsentr), a fact overlooked by previous scholars.

Keywords:   Alfred Schnittke, Valentin Silvestrov, Symphony no. 1, Requiem, Concerto Grosso no. 1, Symphony no. 3, Faust Cantata, Grigoriy Garanyan, Tsentr, Alla Pugacheva

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