Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 August 2019
The history of Soviet music is inextricably tied to the history of Soviet music criticism. The memorable inflection points of Soviet music history – political, social and musical – were usually spurred on or accompanied, often loudly, by published criticism. The most representative and notorious example is the official reaction to Dmitri Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. An article titled ‘Muddle Instead of Music’ [Sumbur vmesto muzyki] appeared in Pravda on 28 January 1936, signalling a stark shift in the fortunes of both work and composer. The criticism coincided with the worst moments of the Great Terror of 1936 and 1937 and encapsulated a new, harder line on artistic products. It set the precedent for future criticism. The Resolution of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of 10 February 1948 was supplemented by vituperative criticism in the press.