Virtuosi Abroad: Soviet Music and Imperial Competition during the Early Cold War, 1945-1958 (Hardback)Kiril Tomoff (author)
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In the 1940s and 1950s, Soviet musicians and ensembles were acclaimed across the globe. They toured the world, wowing critics and audiences, projecting an image of the USSR as a sophisticated promoter of cultural and artistic excellence. In Virtuosi Abroad, Kiril Tomoff focuses on music and the Soviet Union's star musicians to explore the dynamics of the cultural Cold War. He views the competition in the cultural sphere as part of the ongoing U.S. and Soviet efforts to integrate the rest of the world into their respective imperial projects.Tomoff argues that the spectacular Soviet successes in the system of international music competitions, taken together with the rapturous receptions accorded touring musicians, helped to persuade the Soviet leadership of the superiority of their system. This, combined with the historical triumphalism central to the Marxist-Leninist worldview, led to confidence that the USSR would be the inevitable winner in the global competition with the United States. Successes masked the fact that the very conditions that made them possible depended on a quiet process by which the USSR began to participate in an international legal and economic system dominated by the United States. Once the Soviet leadership transposed its talk of system superiority to the economic sphere, focusing in particular on consumer goods and popular culture, it had entered a competition that it could not win.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 280
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 23 mm
"The impressive Virtuosi Abroad is based on wide research in Soviet-era archives, as well as on deep knowledge of the milieu of Soviet classical music. Kiril Tomoff's argument is original and offers insights widely applicable to a range of scholarship on the causes and consequences of cultural competition during the Cold War, the internal dynamics of Soviet classical music, and even the rise and fall of the USSR."-- David Engerman, Ottilie Springer Professor of HistoryBrandeis University, author of Know Your Enemy
"Tomoff's book avoids the mistakes of earlier research that gave too much credence to the competitive contemporary rhetoric of the US and Soviets (115). By stressing cooperation and integration Tomoff offers a refreshing approach to Cold War cultural studies. One of the few books to seriously explore the Soviet side of the cultural Cold War, Tomoff's Virtuosi Abroad acts as a welcome addition to the many existing studies from the American angle by Danielle Fosler-Lussier, Emily Abrams-Ansari and Penny Von Eschen, among others. Hopefully, more will soon follow in his footsteps."-- Peter J. Schmelz, Arizona State University * European History Quarterly *
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