In this 100th anniversary year of the Russian Revolution the BBC Promenade Concerts progamme includes a number of performances relating to this great world-historical upheaval. In particular, works by Soviet composers Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev are included. The latter’s ‘Cantata for the Twentieth Anniversary of the October Revolution’ was performed on 3rd. September
RADIO THREE’S ANTI-SOVIET CAMPAIGN
On BBC Radio 3 hardly a day passes without at least one derogatory reference to the former socialist Soviet Union. The playing of any piece of music from the Soviet era, especially ones by Shostakovich and Prokofiev, is used as an occasion to denigrate the new society that was being built by the Soviet people in conditions of great adversity. Particular venom is directed at Joseph Stalin who was the leader of the USSR at that time. He is mentioned so often that perhaps the station should be renamed Radio Stalin!
Much of this reactionary commentary is ill-informed and often simply factually inaccurate. The BBC claims to uphold a policy of objectivity and impartiality in its broadcasting. Clearly this is not the case with respect to its coverage of Soviet music. There is a very reactionary person in Radio Three who writes this venomous political propaganda. He/she should be prevented from being allowed to do so. Go to the BBC Complaints Website to object to their anti-Soviet bias.
MUSICAL LIFE IN THE SOVIET UNION
From the nineteen twenties onwards it was the policy of the socialist Soviet state to encourage the development of a flourishing musical life throughout the new society being created. Music was a significant part of the educational curriculum, many new orchestras were established and amateur musical activity was encouraged. Composers in the Soviet Union were very well rewarded and in return they were expected to create works which would appeal to and be accessible to the great mass of the people, the workers and peasants. The Armenian Aram Khachaturian was particularly successful in this respect and his works also found a popular audience abroad, particularly in Britain.
The Soviet leaders, especially Stalin, took a close interest in the music being produced and did at times make explicit criticisms of some works, e.g. Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. The composer’s response was his Symphony Number Five which became one of his most popular and widely acclaimed works in the Soviet Union and internationally.
During its socialist period the Soviet Union produced many outstanding composers and performers with world-wide reputations. This has not been the case since the dissolution of the USSR.
Members of Revolutionary Praxis went to the concert on 3rd. September and distributed leaflets with the above content to audience members waiting to enter the auditorium. Many of them read and welcomed the content of the leaflet. Also we gave out small hammer and sickle flags for people to wave at the end of the performance of Prokofiev’s Cantata. This was enthusiastically applauded by the audience at the end of the performance.
LONG LIVE THE MEMORY OF THE GREAT OCTOBER REVOLUTION!
DOWN WITH THE REACTIONARY PUTIN REGIME!
FORWARD TO A NEW RUSSIAN REVOLUTION!