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    Rene Denfeld 9780062285508

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Other titles in the Central European Studies series:

Composing the Party Line: Music and Politics in Early Cold War Poland and East Germany (Central European Studies)


Composing the Party Line: Music and Politics in Early Cold War Poland and East Germany (Central European Studies) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This book examines the exercise of power in the Stalinist music world as well as the ways in which composers and ordinary people responded to it. It presents a comparative inquiry into the relationship between music and politics in the German Democratic Republic and Poland from the aftermath of the World War II through Stalin’s death in 1953, concluding with the slow process of de-Stalinization in the mid- to late-1950s. The author explores how the Communist parties in both countries expressed their attitudes to music of all kinds, and how composers, performers, and audiences cooperated with, resisted, and negotiated these suggestions and demands.

Based on a deep analysis of the archival and contemporary published sources on state, party, and professional organizations concerned with musical life, Tompkins argues that music, as a significant part of cultural production in these countries, played a key role in instituting and maintaining the regimes of East Central Europe. As part of the Stalinist project to create and control a new socialist identity at the personal as well as collective level, the ruling parties in East Germany and Poland sought to saturate public space through the production of music. Politically effective ideas and symbols were introduced that furthered their attempts to, in the parlance of the day, “engineer the human soul.”

Music also helped the Communist parties establish legitimacy. Extensive state support for musical life encouraged musical elites and audiences to accept the dominant position and political missions of these regimes. Party leaders invested considerable resources in the attempt to create an authorized musical language that would secure and maintain hegemony over the cultural and wider social worlds. The responses of composers and audiences ran the gamut from enthusiasm to suspicion, but indifference was not an option.

About the Author

David G. Tompkins is an assistant professor in history at Carleton College in Minnesota. He holds a PhD from Columbia University. In addition to research interests in music and communism, he writes on the cultural history of Central Europe more broadly. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and daughter.

Product Details

Music and Politics in Early Cold War Poland and East Germany
Tompkins, David G.
Purdue University Press
Europe - Eastern
World History-Eastern Europe
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Central European Studies
Publication Date:
10 b/w photos
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » Ethnomusicology
Arts and Entertainment » Music » History and Criticism
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » Eastern Europe
History and Social Science » World History » Germany » General
Pets » General

Composing the Party Line: Music and Politics in Early Cold War Poland and East Germany (Central European Studies) New Trade Paper
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Product details 290 pages Purdue University Press - English 9781557536471 Reviews:
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