Apart from the honoured masters of the big Soviet style, whose reputation had been firmly established before or around 1953, this group included many representatives of subsequent generations. An extremely important segment of the Soviet cultural scene was the so-called third stream, in connection with Eshpay, who can be considered its doyen on Soviet soil. The mid-1970s saw the birth of Soviet rock opera. The real flowering of Russian rock, however, fell on the last decade of the Soviet era. The changes brought by the collapse of the Soviet Union had grave consequences for serious music. As was already said, a good deal of the ‘old guard’—including Gubaydulina, Kancheli, Schnittke and Shchedrin—as well as a number of younger composers, have left the post-Soviet region. The atmosphere of elemental ‘existentialism’, that source of strength for every genuinely free art created under Soviet power, has vanished.