2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference

Fine Arts

Grave Danger: The Evolving Style of Shostakovich Under a Ruthless Dictator
Whitney A. Filicsky
Dr. Marc Rice, Faculty Mentor

It is difficult to believe that a composer could lose his life in pursuit of self-expression. However, disapproval by the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin brought this fear into reality for Dmitri Shostakovich. Following outrage by the Communist leader over his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Symphony No. 4, Shostakovich's composition of Symphony No. 5 as an "apology" to the dictator quite possibly saved his life. While some musical circles feel that Shostakovich composed the symphony out of loyalty to Stalin's totalitarian desires, examination of his music shows how the fear of the murderous regime shaped his flamboyant style into one that was acceptable, yet still expressive of the reality of oppression. This presentation will focus on the evolution of style between Lady Macbeth, Symphony No. 4, and Symphony No. 5, and how Shostakovich found self-expression within the Communist regime.

Keywords: Shostakovich, Joseph Stalin, music, symphony, opera, communism


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 2-2
Location: OP 2111
Time: 8:30

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