Harmony and Discord: Music and the Transformation of Russian Cultural Life explores the complex development of Russian musical life during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. At the heart of this cultural history lies the Russian Musical Society, as both a unique driving force behind the institutionalization of music and a representative of the growing importance of voluntary associations in public life. Sustained simultaneously by private initiative and cooperative relationships with the state, the Russian Musical Society played a key role in the creation of Russia's infrastructure for music and music education.Author Lynn M. Sargeant explores the fluid nature of Russian social identity through the broad scope of musical life, including not only the "leading lights" of the era but also rank-and-file musicians, teachers, and students. Although Russian musicians longed for a secure place within the new hierarchy of professions, their social status remained ambiguous throughout the nineteenth century. Traditional reliance on serf musicians and foreigners left lasting scars that motivated musicians' efforts to obtain legal rights and social respectability. And women's increasing visibility in the musical world provoked acrimonious debates that were, at heart, efforts by male musicians to strengthen their claims to professional status by denying the legitimacy of female participation. Sargeant demonstrates that the successful development of a Russian musical infrastructure salved persistent anxieties about Russia's place vis-à-vis its European cultural competitors. Remarkably, the institutions developed by the Russian Musical Society survived the upheavals of war and revolution to become the foundation for the Soviet musical system.A wealth of historical documentation makes Harmony and Discord required reading for musicologists, sociologists and historians interested in this period, and the abundance of amusing anecdotes and the author's lucid and lively literary style make it an enjoyable history for all readers.
Oxford University Press; November 2010
- ISBN 9780199780792
- Read online, or download in secure PDF format
- Title: Harmony and Discord
- Author: Lynn M. Sargeant
Imprint: Oxford University Press
In The Press
"The book sets a good example of the common ground between historians and musicologists...An important contribution to recent scholarship as it adds the backbone to the more familiar narrative. Our understanding of Russian musical culture would not be complete without Sargeant's painstaking research in the period of 1857-1917. The book deserves the highest praise for its value to both historians and musicians." --Slavic and East European Journal
"The value of this volume extends beyond Russian music to music in general. Highly recommended." --Choice
"A landmark study." --Notes
About The Author
Lynn Sargeant is Associate Professor of History at California State University, Fullerton. She grew up in Jamestown, North Dakota and was previously a postdoctoral fellow of the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation (2003-2004). She has published articles in Music and Letters, Russian Review, and History of Education Quarterly.