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Can Music Be Political?

            The question of can music be political has been greatly debated over the past century, however, the works that have been debated the most are those from nazi Germany and Soviet Russia for there links with the social "cleansing" at the time in both societies.
             "We are paupers. There is no paper. The workers are hungry and cold and have no clothing or shoes. The machines are worn out. The buildings are collapsing.".
             Lenin wrote these lines in February 1921 following the end of the Russian revolution. Later that year Lenin introduced the "New Economic Policy" and the country seemingly began to regain control of the economy, despite the dismay of the communists. .
             Soviet composers of the 1920's were confronted by many new problems. Firstly, the audiences at the time were the most diverse they had ever been, with both sophisticated intelligent listeners and the uneducated, although there was still a void where the middle class should be. Because of this diversity, composers found themselves writing for either end of the spectrum, but never both. This obtained a satisfactory effect for that particular audience, but was never completely successful as the music was composed against a set of conditions, and few works provoked any interest beyond the boundaries of Russia, unlike before the revolution.
             In the early 1930's, after nearly a decade of failed compositions, a change came about in the Soviet's attitudes towards the arts. In 1932, a union was set up, "The Union of Soviet Composers" which was then split up into sections which governs the various musical genres. Composers had the moral obligation to submit their work to the USC for approval. Although it was not necessary to submit work, failure to do so would almost certainly result in national criticism and the work not being successful. Because Stalin had with the USC controlled the arts, in particularly music, it has often been argued that many composers rebelled against this by seemingly complying by the rules and even in some cases, actually praising Stalin.

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