What did Lithuanian Composers Receive the Stalin Prize for? The Year 1948 and Lithuanian Music (Summary)

Rūta Stanevičiūtė (PDF)

The article uses several case studies to support the argument presented in recent scholarship on music culture during the Stalinist period that the 1948 Resolution on Formalism in Music had an important influence on the attitudes of the Soviet Union’s artistic elite and specifically of the Stalin Prize Committee toward the musical culture of national minorities. After the Second World War, the Soviet doctrine of music art was introduced in Lithuania, along with the demand to responsibly adopt the Russian classical tradition and the means of the new Soviet style. Composers were closely monitored as they adapted to the changed conditions, and the Stalin Prize for music that met the ideological requirements became a control tool and, consequently, part of this process. To understand whether the occupied Baltic republics really received more attention and favour from Moscow based on ideological motives, the circumstances of the award of the Stalin Prize to Juozas Tallat-Kelpša for Cantata about Stalin and Balys Dvarionas for Concerto for Violin and Orchestra are discussed. Of the four works by Lithuanian composers that won the Stalin Prize, only the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by Dvarionas has remained in the international repertoire, not because of the prize but despite it.

Keywords: sovietisation, Lithuanian music, Stalin Prize, Soviet policy of national minorities, Soviet Lithuanian identity, socialist realism