Crisis, Celebration, and the Decline of the Old Cultural Order

Lynn M. Sargeant

in Harmony and Discord

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199735266
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894505 | DOI:

Series: The New Cultural History of Music Series

Crisis, Celebration, and the Decline of the Old Cultural Order

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This chapter looks first at the philosophical debates over the meaning of art that emerged at the turn of the century. It analyzes Lev Tolstoy's philosophical pamphlet What is Art? (1898), which rejected the bourgeois institutionalization and professionalization of the arts, and responses to it by musicians. The chapter then looks at the traumatic events of the so‐called conservatory revolution, particularly the firing of professor and composer Nikolai Rimsky‐Korsakov from his post at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and the performance of his opera Kashchei the Immortal, which was read by educated society as a protest against Russia's autocratic regime. The events of 1905 weakened public confidence in the Society. The conservatories demanded their autonomy, which threatened the continuing existence of the Society as a voluntary association. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the ritual celebrations of the fiftieth anniversaries of the Russian Musical Society and the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1909 and 1912.

Keywords: Tolstoy; 1905 Revolution; conservatory revolution; autonomy; Rimsky‐Korsakov; Kashchei; anniversaries; celebrations

Chapter.  16871 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ethnomusicology

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