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Music and the Totalitarian Regime in Czechoslovakia

Miloš Jůzl
International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music
Vol. 27, No. 1 (Jun., 1996), pp. 31-51
DOI: 10.2307/3108370
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3108370
Page Count: 21
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Music and the Totalitarian Regime in Czechoslovakia
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Abstract

Many studies on the subject of the communist totalitarian regime take into account their standard Soviet model and pay little attention to specific and somewhat different situation in individual countries of the former "Soviet bloc". This study deals with the situation and events in the cultural world and music of former Czechoslovakia. Historical documents such as the May Declaration of the Representatives of Culture to the Czech People (from 1946), the Prague Manifesto (1948), and others are analysed, as well as ideas, artistic and personal destinies of a series of artists and musicians. The need for a critical historical analysis of the musical life in Czechoslovakia during the years 1948-1989 still remains a painful task of Czech musicology. However, it can already be stated that the first stage, from 1948 till 1968, was a period of confrontation of ideas and of changes, both within and outside the Communist Party. Towards its end this period became a time of searching for democratic alternatives within the socialist regime. In the second stage, from 1968 till 1989, all cultural life became paralysed. Any hope of the reform of socialism was gone, being replaced by the hope of destroying this lifeless system. The events of 1989 opened up a way to normal life, but rehabilitations are still proving to be a painful exercise.

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