Feeling a bit jazzy today? Not in the Soviet Union.
The USSR and jazz had a love-hate relationship ever since the country’s formation in the early 1920s; the officials hated it, the youth loved it.
To put into perspective, during his fruitful career, Dmitri Shostakovich, Russian composer and pianist, wrote three ballets: The Golden Age, op. 22 (1929-30), The Bolt, op. 27 (1931), and The Bright Stream, op. 39 (1935). The Bolt follows the story of a worker in a Soviet factory, Lazy Lyonka, who, together with an anti-Soviet plotter, plans to sabotage the factory’s machinery by putting a bolt into it. Their plan is quickly foiled by Komsomol, a political youth organization of the USSR. Soon after premiering on April 8, 1931, The Bolt was banned; Lyonka’s “languid waltz”, its tango and jazz-inspired tunes, were all too ‘Western’ and a bit too much for the Soviet cultural elites to handle (1).Read More