Sonic Overload: Alfred Schnittke, Valentin Silvestrov, and Polystylism in the Late USSR By Peter J. Schmelz
2020 | 430 Pages | ISBN: 0197541259 | PDF | 10 MB
Sonic Overload offers a new, music-centered cultural history of the late Soviet Union. It focuses on polystylism in music as a response to the information overload swamping listeners in the Soviet Union during its final decades. It traces the ways in which leading composers Alfred Schnittkeand Valentin Silvestrov initially embraced popular sources before ultimately rejecting them. Polystylism first responded to the utopian impulses of Soviet ideology with utopian impulses to encompass all musical styles, from "high" to "low". But these initial all-embracing aspirations were soonfollowed by retreats to alternate utopias founded on carefully selecting satisfactory borrowings, as familiar hierarchies of culture, taste, and class reasserted themselves. Looking at polystylism in the late USSR tells us about past and present, near and far, as it probes the musical roots of theoverloaded, distracted present.Ă‚Based on archival research, oral historical interviews, and other overlooked primary materials, as well as close listening and thorough examination of scores and recordings, Sonic Overload presents a multilayered and comprehensive portrait of late-Soviet polystylism and cultural life, and of themusic of Silvestrov and Schnittke. Sonic Overload is intended for musicologists and Soviet, Russian, and Ukrainian specialists in history, the arts, film, and literature, as well as readers interested in twentieth- and twenty-first century music; modernism and postmodernism; quotation and collage;the intersections of "high" and "low" cultures; and politics and the arts.

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