Sing to Victory! Song in Soviet Society during World War II

Sing to Victory! Song in Soviet Society during World War II

109.00

Suzanne Ament

ISBN: 9781618118394 (hardcover)
Pages: 324 pp.
Publication Date: January 2019

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A woman wearing a ballgown singing in the snow for returning ski troops; a technician’s tears ruining a master recording of a new wartime song; fresh recruits spontaneously standing and doffing their caps to a new song, thereby creating the new wartime anthem. This well researched, multi-faceted book depicts the relationship between song and society during World War II  in the USSR. Chapter topics range from the creation and distribution of the songs to how the public received and shaped them. The body of song that came out of that era created a true cultural legacy which reflected both the hearts of the individuals fighting as well as the narrative of the party and state in bringing the nation to victory.


Suzanne Ament teaches Russian and World history at Radford University. With degrees in Russian area studies and history, her interests focus on music and culture. In addition to this book, she has written on the Soviet bard duo Ivashchenko and Vasil’ev, changes in Soviet music, and Russian revolutionary song.


In the extravagant cult of the World War II victory regnant in today’s Russia, wartime songs are the last living link to the war that took over 27,000,000 lives. Generation after generation has continued to sing and revel in those stirring songs, particularly on Victory Day, the country’s annual day of unity. Sing to Victory!, deeply grounded in massive research, is a pioneering and magisterial work that proffers the rich and complex history of these songs, their composers, production, Party and army control, song distribution, performance, reception, ongoing legacy and much more, drawing the reader into fascinating new worlds of the Soviet experience.
— Nina Tumarkin, Katherine Wasserman Davis Professor of Slavic Studies, Wellesley College
Rich and insightful, Sing to Victory! shows how song became central to the Soviet experience of World War II. The first of its kind in English, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the creative energies devoted to the composition of wartime songs and their dissemination through concerts, brigades, radio, and film. Based on archival sources, memoirs, and extensive interviews, Sing to Victory! tells a compelling story not only of the ways in which song inspired action and fostered patriotism, but also how it came to define collective identities in the post-WWII era.
— Kevin Bartig, Associate Professor of Music, Michigan State University

Table of Contents

Dedication
Acknowledgments
Contents    

Introduction

PART I - THE SONGS AND THEIR CREATORS

Chapter 1
THE SONGS OF THE WAR YEARS: Themes, Tunes, and Trends
Prewar Songs and Their Influence
Blitzkrieg: The Early War Songs
Farewell to Normality: The Early Lyrical Songs
War Is Here To Stay: Songs about Wartime Life
Victory on the Horizon: The Tone Shifts  
Victory Becomes a Reality
Chronologies, Shifts, and Variations in The Wartime Songs

Chapter 2
THE SOLDIERS OF THE SONG FRONT: Composers and Poets during the War     
The Composers     
The Poet-Lyricists     
Relations between Composers and Poets     
Remuneration: Contracts and Contests     
Amateur Song Writing     
Critiques and Debates on Song     

Chapter 3
COMMAND AND CONTROL: Official Policy and Institutional Responsibility over Song     
The Creative Unions     
Party and State Structures      
Trade Unions and Other Organizations      
Military Involvement     
Censorship Control        
International Relations and the Arts    
Conclusions    

PART II - SONG DISTRIBUTION AND RECEPTION

Chapter 4
PRINT, PLASTIC, AND SOUND WAVES: Mass Media and Song Distribution     
Songbooks and Other Musical Publications     
Newspapers      
Radio     
Records     
Film      
Conclusions      

Chapter 5
BALL GOWNS AND BOMBS: Performers and Brigades in Battle and at Home     
Diversity and Quantity of Performance Groups     
The Response to War     
The Experience of War: Brigade Travel, Performances and Living Conditions     
At the Front    
In Home Towns     
In the Rear       
Working Together     

PART III - SONG RECEPTION AND LEGACY  

Chapter 6
FROM DAWN ’TIL DUSK: Song in Everyday Life     
Audience and Memory      
Children’s Experiences         
Home Front Adult Experiences      
Song at the Front      
The Power of Song     

Chapter 7
THE LEGACY OF THE WAR SONGS
The Audience     
The State     
Fans and Idols     
Song Function     
The Legacy in the Body     
Post War Images of Freedom    

Conclusion    

Bibliography
Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Appendix 3