Composer and cultural official Nicolas Nabokov (1903-78) led an unusual life even for a composer who was also a high-level diplomat. Nabokov was for nearly three decades an outstanding and far-sighted player in international cultural exchanges during the Cold War, much admired by some of the most distinguished minds of his century for the range of his interests and the breadth of his vision. Nicolas Nabokov: A Life in Freedom and Music follows Nabokov's life through its fascinating details: a privileged Russian childhood before the Revolution; exile, first to Germany, then to France; the beginnings of a promising musical career, launched under the aegis of Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes with Ode in 1928; his twelve-year American exile during which he occupied several academic positions; his return to Europe after the war to participate in the denazification of Germany; his involvement in anti-Stalinist causes in the first years of the Cold War; his participation in the Congress for Cultural Freedom; his role as cultural adviser to the Mayor of Berlin and director of the Berlin Festival in the early 1960s; the resumption of his American academic and musical career in the late 1960s and 1970s. Nabokov is unique not only in that he was involved on a high level in international cultural politics, but also in that his life intersected at all times with a vast array of people within, and also well beyond, the confines of classical music. Drawing on a vast array of primary sources, Vincent Giroud's first-ever biography of Nabokov will be of interest readers interested in twentieth-century music, Russian music, Russian emigration, and the Cold War, particularly in its cultural aspects. Musicians and musicologists interested in Nabokov as a composer, or in twentieth century Russian composers in general, will find in the book information not available anywhere else.
The story of Nicolas Nabokov's involvement with the CIA-funded Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) is a story of the politics and sociology of culture; how music was used for political ends and how intellectual groups formed and functioned during the Cold War. The seemingly independent CCF, established to counteract? apparent Soviet successes in the fields of the arts and intellectual life, appointed Nabokov (a Russian emigre and minor composer) as its Secretary General in 1951.?Over the next ten years he gave music a high profile in the?work of the organisation, producing four international musical festivals, the first and most ambitious of which was 1952's L'Oeuvre du XXe Si?e in Paris, an event which showcased the work of no less than 62 composers. As Ian Wellens reveals, Nabokov's?musical involvement with the CCF was in fact a struggle on two fronts.?Apparently a?defence?of?Western modernism against 'backward', 'provincial' Soviet music, Nabokov's writings show this to have meshed closely with the?domestic concern?- shared by?many intellectuals -?that high culture was being undermined by an increasingly culturally aware middle class. His attacks on Soviet cultural policy, and his unflattering assessments of Shostakovich, are seen to be not merely salvos in the cold war but part of a broader campaign aimed at securing the authority and prestige of?intellectuals.
Shortly after it was founded in 1947, the CIA launched a secret effort to win the Cold War allegiance of the British left. Hugh Wilford traces the story of this campaign from its origins in Washington DC to its impact on Labour Party politicians, trade unionists, and Bloomsbury intellectuals
In 1934, Igor Stravinsky was fifty-two, a Russian expatriate living in Paris and already regarded by many as the most important composer of his generation. Stravinsky: The Second Exile follows him through the remainder of his long life, which he would spend largely in the United States. These are the years during which he would compose such masterworks as The Rake's Progress and Symphony in C, and achieve a new level of fame as a conductor and concert pianist in his own right. In this second and final volume of Stephen Walsh's acclaimed biography, the author traces and illuminates Stravinsky's increasingly complex and often agonised family life and his crucially important relationship with his associate Robert Craft. As a musicologist and critic, Walsh is able to speak with authority and wit not only about Stravinsky's life, but also about his work, expertly following the composer's musical journey from the neoclassicism of his late French and early American periods, through his early essays in serial technique, and on finally to the astonishing complexities of this protean genius's final works. Based on exhaustive research, Stephen Walsh uncovers new and controversial material, making this the second volume of the most definitive biography of the most significant and influential composer of the twentieth century.
This book questions the conventional wisdom about one of the most controversial episodes in the Cold War, and tells the story of the CIA's backing of the Congress for Cultural Freedom. For nearly two decades during the early Cold War, the CIA secretly sponsored some of the world’s most feted writers, philosophers, and scientists as part of a campaign to prevent Communism from regaining a foothold in Western Europe and from spreading to Asia. By backing the Congress for Cultural Freedom, the CIA subsidized dozens of prominent magazines, global congresses, annual seminars, and artistic festivals. When this operation (QKOPERA) became public in 1967, it ignited one of the most damaging scandals in CIA history. Ever since then, many accounts have argued that the CIA manipulated a generation of intellectuals into lending their names to pro-American, anti-Communist ideas. Others have suggested a more nuanced picture of the relationship between the Congress and the CIA, with intellectuals sometimes resisting the CIA's bidding. Very few accounts, however, have examined the man who held the Congress together: Michael Josselson, the Congress’s indispensable manager—and, secretly, a long time CIA agent. This book fills that gap. Using a wealth of archival research and interviews with many of the figures associated with the Congress, this book sheds new light on how the Congress came into existence and functioned, both as a magnet for prominent intellectuals and as a CIA operation. This book will be of much interest to students of the CIA, Cold War History, intelligence studies, US foreign policy and International Relations in general.
Ned Rorem explores the state of contemporary classical music in a magnificent collection of personally selected essays and critiques of masterworks, lesser works, and their legendary creators Pulitzer Prize–winner Ned Rorem’s musical compositions are considered some of the finest produced in the past century. His literary works have been hailed as “scintillating” (Time magazine) and “extraordinary” (The Washington Post). Rorem’s remarkable twin talents are brilliantly intertwined in Settling the Score, a masterful collection of essays on music, composers, and the state of the art. Selected by Rorem himself, these enthralling and provocative pieces examine the works of the great and (in the author’s lively, unabashed opinion) the not-so-great masters of twentieth-century classical music—Debussy, Ravel, Copland, Gershwin, Barber, Cage, Bernstein, Britten, Stravinsky, and others. With keen precision, he dissects the so-called serious music of our time while predicting where the form is bound in the future. Never lacking in intelligence or wit, each essay in Settling the Score sings in a voice that is clear and true.
During the Cold War, freedom of expression was vaunted as liberal democracy’s most cherished possession—but such freedom was put in service of a hidden agenda. In The Cultural Cold War, Frances Stonor Saunders reveals the extraordinary efforts of a secret campaign in which some of the most vocal exponents of intellectual freedom in the West were working for or subsidized by the CIA—whether they knew it or not. Called "the most comprehensive account yet of the [CIA’s] activities between 1947 and 1967" by the New York Times, the book presents shocking evidence of the CIA’s undercover program of cultural interventions in Western Europe and at home, drawing together declassified documents and exclusive interviews to expose the CIA’s astonishing campaign to deploy the likes of Hannah Arendt, Isaiah Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Robert Lowell, George Orwell, and Jackson Pollock as weapons in the Cold War. Translated into ten languages, this classic work—now with a new preface by the author—is "a real contribution to popular understanding of the postwar period" (The Wall Street Journal), and its story of covert cultural efforts to win hearts and minds continues to be relevant today.
Midway through the last century, Lolita burst on the literary scene--a Russian exile's extraordinary gift to American letters and the New World. The scandal provoked by the novel's subject--the sexual passion of a middle-aged European for a twelve-year-old American girl--was quickly upstaged by the critical attention it received from readers, scholars, and critics around the world. This casebook gathers together an interview with Nabokov as well as nine critical essays about Lolita. The essays follow a progression focusing first on textual and thematic features and then proceeding to broader topics and cultural implications, including the novel's relations to other works of literature and art and the movies adapted from it.
The prose writings of Vladimir Nabokov form one of the most intriguing oeuvres of the twentieth century. His novels, which include Despair, Lolita and Pale Fire, have been celebrated for their stylistic artistry, their formal complexity, and their unique treatment of themes of memory, exile, loss, and desire. This collection of essays offers readings of several novels as well as discussions of Nabokov's exchange of views about literature with Edmund Wilson, and his place in the 1960s and contemporary popular culture. The volume brings together a diverse group of Nabokovian readers, of widely divergent scholarly backgrounds, interests, and approaches. Together they shift the focus from the manipulative games of author and text to the restless and sometimes resistant reader, and suggest new ways of enjoying these endlessly fascinating texts.
The author, a musician, artist, linguist, and traveler, explains how he became attracted to Hinduism and shares his impressions of India, where he has lived for twenty years
A Student Grammar of French is a concise introduction to French grammar, designed specifically for English-speaking undergraduates. Keeping technical detail to a minimum, it explains the fundamentals of the grammar in accessible and simple terms, and helps students to put their learning into practice through a range of fun and engaging exercises. All the essential topics are covered, with chapters on verbs, nouns, adjectives, pronouns, determiners, prepositions, adverbs, negation, numerals, sentences, and clauses. Every grammatical point is illustrated with a range of authentic examples drawn from magazines and newspapers, covering many areas of contemporary life such as fashion, health issues, relationships and sport. It is clearly organized into a user-friendly, numbered indexing system, allowing the learner to quickly and easily locate any grammatical topic. Functioning both as an indispensable reference guide and a comprehensive workbook, this grammar will become the perfect accompaniment to any first or second year undergraduate course.
This book places the radicalization of art music in early post-war France in its broader socio-cultural and political context. It pursues two general and intersecting lines of inquiry. The first details the stances towards musical conservatism and innovation adopted by cultural strategists representing Western and Soviet ideological interests at the onset of the Cold War. The second, which draws upon the commentaries of Theodor Adorno and Jean-Paul Sartre, recognizes that the Cold War generated a heightened political awareness amongst French musicians at the very time when the social relevance of avant-garde music had become the subject of widespread debate. The study considers the implications of the performance at L'Oeuvre du XXe siècle, an international arts festival staged in Paris in 1952 with the intention of discrediting socialist realism by means of two opposing musical types: neo-classicism (represented by Stravinsky's Symphony in C) and serialism (Boulez's Structures 1a).
Joel Sachs offers the first complete biography of one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century American music. Henry Cowell, a major musical innovator of the first half of the century, left a rich body of compositions spanning a wide range of styles. But as Sachs shows, Cowell's legacy extends far beyond his music. He worked tirelessly to create organizations such as the highly influential New Music Quarterly, New Music Recordings, and the Pan-American Association of Composers, through which great talents like Ruth Crawford Seeger and Charles Ives first became known in the US and abroad. As one of the first Western advocates for World Music, he used lectures, articles, and recordings to bring other musical cultures to myriad listeners and students including John Cage and Lou Harrison, who attributed their life work to Cowell's influence. Finally, Sachs describes the tragedy of Cowell's life, being sentenced to fifteen years in San Quentin -- of which he served four -- after pleading guilty to a morals charge that even the prosecutor felt was trivial. Providing a wealth of insight into Cowell's ideas and philosophy, Joel Sachs lays out a much-needed perspective on one of the giants of twentieth-century American music.