Censorship
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Censorship

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Investigate the term censorship and how it influences art within society.

Investigate the term censorship and how it influences art within society.

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Censorship Censorship Presentation Transcript

  • Censorship
    The artist and society
    RSNO Maestro Music 2011
  • Intended Learning
    In this presentation, we will investigate the term censorship and its implications and impact on the composer's artistic process
    We will explore the relationship that Shostakovich had with Stalin's government, and how it influenced his life and music
    We will discuss and debate how artists react to society, and how society reacts to art
    Copyright RSNO Education and Community Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
    2
  • Introduction
    Sometimes a society or government will try to dictate what an artist can or cannot say: this is what we call censorship
    Censorship can take place to varying degrees: an artist might be forced to remove certain words from their music, or their music video might be kept off of certain channels – we see a lot of this kind of censorship today
    In some extreme cases, artists have been prevented from creating or performing their work entirely!
    Copyright RSNO Education and Community Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
    3
  • You might be familiar with this story…
    • In 2003 at a concert in London, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks made a statement against George W. Bush and the war in Iraq
    • After making this statement, the group faced boycotts, protests, and even death threats from fans and the media – they lost important sponsors and many of their shows had to be cancelled
    • The band addressed the controversy in 2006 with a new single ‘Not Ready to Make Nice’
    Image source: http://spotlightguitars.com/dixiechicks2007jpg.jpg
    "Just so you know, we're on the good side with y'all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.“
    Copyright RSNO Education and Community Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
    4
  • Shostakovich vs. Stalin
    • Dmitry Shostakovich (1906 – 1979) often faced controversy with his music – but for him the consequences of public criticism were potentially very dangerous
    • During the reign of Stalin, thousands of writers, intellectuals and artists were labelled ‘enemies of the people’ and sent to labour camps or even executed as part of the Great Purge
    • Politically-driven newpapers had an enormous influence on artists’ success or failure: a bad review could be a matter of life or death!
    • During Shostakovich’s lifetime, he repeatedly fell in and out of favour with Stalin’s government and often feared for his life
    • He used to sleep in the hallway so that his family wouldn’t be disturbed if the police came to take him away
    Copyright RSNO Education and Community Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
    5
    Image source: http://www.chostakovitch.org/IMAGES/Dsch30.jpg
  • Enemy of the People
    • In 1934 Shostakovich premiered his new opera, ‘Lady MacBeth of the Mtsensk District’
    • The opera was a huge success at first: critics said it “could have been written only by a Soviet composer brought up in the best traditions of Soviet culture”
    • Suddenly, in 1936 the Soviet newspaper Pravda (“Truth”) published an article that violently attacked the opera, calling it “Chaos instead of Music”
    Image source: http://alexrossmusic.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/10/05/pravda.jpeg
    “Chaos instead of Music”
    Copyright RSNO Education and Community Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
    6
  • Enemy of the People
    • The article accused the opera of being formalist: this was a term applied to music the Soviet authorities believed was too complicated and did not appeal to the masses
    • The article was interpreted as a warning against all modernism in Soviet music
    • The Union of Soviet Composers met to chart the future of Soviet music, and Shostakovich was denounced by several fellow composers
    • Shostakovich’s opera was banned from performance throughout the whole of the USSR
    Copyright RSNO Education and Community Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
    7
  • The People’s Hero
    • Shostakovich decided to answer his critics through his music
    • He wrote his 5th Symphony as “the creative reply of a Soviet artist to justified criticism”
    • The 5th Symphony was successful, and Shostakovich was reinstated as the foremost Soviet composer of his generation
    • In 1942, Shostakovich dedicated his 7th Symphony to the besieged city of Leningrad
    Copyright RSNO Education and Community Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
    8
    Image source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-urq4NF58yVw/TXmS5_PcNvI/AAAAAAAAAIY/2xBKN0ahf1g/s1600/superhero3.jpg
  • The People’s Hero
    • After this symphony was performed several times in Russia, the microfilmed score was flown to USA where it was performed for an audience of millions
    • The 7th symphony became a powerful symbol of resistance against Nazism for all Western countries
    • Shostakovich was the People’s Hero – for the moment – but his troubles were not yet over…
    Copyright RSNO Education and Community Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
    9
  • After WWII, the Soviet government attacked Shostakovich again…
    In 1948 Andrey Zhdanov, the commissar in charge of cultural ‘purges’, denounced Shostakovich:
    Shostakovich replied apologetically:
    Image source: http://visualrian.ru/thumbnails/00000000432/432757.thw
    “formalistic perversions and anti-democratic tendencies in music… the cult of atonality, dissonance and discord... infatuation with confused, neurotic combinations which transform music into cacophony”
    “Certain negative characteristics in my musical style prevent me from making the turn... I again deviated in the direction of formalism and began to speak a different language incomprehensible to the people... I know that the party is right... I am deeply grateful for the criticism contained in the resolution.”
    Copyright RSNO Education and Community Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
    10
  • Shostakovich began to write in two styles…
    Style 1
    Conformed with guidelines set out in Zhdanov’s 1948 decree
    Simplified and accessible
    Published and performed in public
    Style 2
    Satisfied Shostakovich’s artistic standards
    Complex and abstract
    Mostly withheld from the public until after Stalin’s death
    Copyright RSNO Education and Community Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
    11
  • After Stalin’s death…
    In 1962, 25 years after it was condemned by the Soviet government, Shostakovich revived ‘Lady MacBeth’
    He had renamed the opera 'KaterinaIzmaylova' and revised it slightly
    It was hailed as a masterpiece of theatrical realism and has since been hugely successful
    The composer and music hadn’t changed, so what had?
    Copyright RSNO Education and Community Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
    12
  • After Stalin’s death…
    The Soviet government had relaxed their policies on “cultural regimentation”, and suddenly Shostakovich’s music was acceptable
    This is an extreme example of how art can be influenced by society
    If Shostakovich had lived in a different time, in a different country, who knows what kind of music he would have wrote?
    Copyright RSNO Education and Community Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
    13
  • Consider this:
    How important is the artist's relationship to society?
    Does the artist have a responsibility to represent or challenge their society's beliefs and values in their work?
    How much does an artist depend on society's approval or disapproval?
    Should censorship still be allowed?
    In what context, and to what extent?
    How do we decide what is or isn’t appropriate?
    Copyright RSNO Education and Community Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
    14
  • Consider this:
    Can you think of other examples of controversial art and censorship?  For example: people’s reactions to Elvis and the Beatles, Marilyn Manson, Lady GaGa.... What do you think about these?
    What happens when an artist is restricted in their expression? Does it limit them, or force them to be more creative?
    Do you think freedom of speech is important? Why?
    Should some things, such as hate speech, be limited? Where do we draw the line?
    What kind of effect does fame have on the artist’s expressive power? Is a more famous artist more likely to be attacked or silenced by critics and censors?
    Copyright RSNO Education and Community Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
    15
  • Suggestions for further reading and viewing…
    1984 (George Orwell): this novel is set in a society based on Soviet Russia, where ‘Big Brother’ watches everything and the government controls the media to decide exactly what its people know or don’t know
    Testimony (Solomon Volkov): a memoir of Shostakovich’s life, said to be dictated by the composer himself – the book is strongly anti-Soviet, and some have questioned its authenticity
    The War Symphonies: Shostakovich against Stalin (dir. Larry Weinstein): a documentary about Shostakovich’s relationship with the Soviet government, with excerpts of his War Symphonies performed by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and conducted by Valery Gergiev
    Shut up and Sing (dir. Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck): a documentary about the controversy the Dixie Chicks faced after criticising the Bush government
    Copyright RSNO Education and Community Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
    16
  • Experiences and Outcomes
    By studying groups in past societies who experienced inequality, I can explain the reasons for the inequality and evaluate how groups or individuals addressed it [SOC 4-04a]
    I can make reasoned judgments about how the exercise of power affects the rights and responsibilities of citizens by comparing a more democratic and a less democratic society [SOC 4-04c]
    Through discussion, I have identified aspects of a social issue to investigate and by gathering information I can assess its impact and the attitudes of the people affected [SOC 4-16b]
    I can evaluate the impact which decision making bodies have on the lives of people in Scotland or elsewhere [SOC 4-18a]
    Copyright RSNO Education and Community Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
    17