Reviews

This article based on the President’s Archive and on the Central State Archive of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as on press articles, deals with the role of traditional music and its Europeanisation by Soviet cultural policy and Kazakh nation-building during the interwar period. The author especially focuses on official stages (like the Kazakh State Musical-Drama Theatre, the creation of which in January 1934 constituted a significant turning point in the promotion of music) and on Kazakh culture festivals (especially the dekada of 1936 held in Moscow for welcoming the last achievements of the Soviet nationalities policy in arts). Along with Aleksandr Zataevich (see the review supra), two major figureheads shaped Soviet Kazakh national music in a Russified manner: Ahmet Jubanov (1906-68, a native of Northern Kazakhstan who graduated from the Leningrad Conservatory in 1932 and returned to Almaty to apply his education to the development of Kazakh music, where he founded the Kazakh state orchestra based exclusively on local instruments) and Evgenii Brusilovskii (1905-?, who was commissioned by the Union of Composers in Leningrad to undertake research and to teach at the Kazakh Music and Drama College, and who wrote the first of two operas for Kazakhstan, Kyz jibek and Jalbyr). The author analyses these operas, considering the narrative as well as the traditional melodies reused in Western style and arrangements. However, instead of considering these creations as elements of Russification, M. Rouland rather sheds light on the ability of these operas to maintain distinctive musical and historical characteristics while they were “under the influence of great pressure by both the Kazakh government and Kazakh musical institutions to replicate accepted European and Russian patterns of music (p. 196).” From this viewpoint, this study is part of a new trend of recent historical work on Soviet Central Asia that pays much more attention to the local vision of the things, to local participation and appropriation of the Soviet engineering and central policies.

Cloé Drieu, School of advanced Studies in Social Sciences, Paris
CER: II-3.4.D-309