Cover Osteuropa 8/2006

In Osteuropa 8/2006

“A Living Weapon in Combat”
Shostakovich and the Cultural Revolution

Wolfgang Mende

Deutsche Fassung


Dmitrii Shostakovich is considered by many today as a camouflaged dissident. For the years 1928 to 1931-32, this is not a convincing argument. Through his compositions for ballet, concert hall, theatre, and film as well as his public remarks, he to a large extent supported the political and social goals of the cultural revolution during this phase of his life. Measured against the backdrop of Shostakovich’s reception at the time, analysis of the ballet “The Bolt” (1930-31) shows that the legitimation of political violence presented in the plot is not disavowed by the entertaining and satirical character of the music but is instead largely promoted.

(Osteuropa 8/2006, pp. 119–136)