Music: Soviet Overture

In 1936 Dictator Josef Stalin cracked down on Russia's noisy modernist composers. He accused them of "bourgeois degeneracy," confiscated their compositions, told them to stop imitating the sound of Soviet steel mills and cement-mixers, get themselves a few singable tunes. Since then, presumably, the party line in musical Russia has been all nightingale and lark. But because the machinery of the Soviet Musical Bureau (which owns all manuscripts, controls all performance rights) needs oil in its joints, not many examples of this New Musical Policy have been heard outside Russia.

Last week a...

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