chapter  2
28 Pages

Shostakovich, Old Believers and New Minimalists

ByAlexander Ivashkin

The first two decades of the Soviet era saw deep and extraordinary changes in power, ideology and culture. Social-cultural mythology of the 1920s is obviously mirrored in the first opera by Dmitri Shostakovich, The Nose one of the most outstanding examples of Soviet absurdism. Different things were happening with Soviet Eros in the time preceding Stalin's dethronement, when Soviet citizens were young and full of sexuality, albeit draped with ideological clothes in order to sublimate mass energy into social collectivism. In the early Soviet post-war situation of total devastation people usually had no choice but to move into communal barracks akin to hen-coops. Judging Shostakovich's creativity from the intellectual and ethical point of view, The Nose and the first, 1930s, edition of Lady Macbeth would seem to be the works of the composer most incompatible with the moral outlook of the dismal and short-lived Soviet Civilization.