Suoni e lettere della musica: intermedialità nei transferts culturali austro-sovietici (1945-1955)
Upon Vienna's liberation, the quickly restored Austro-Soviet Society was equally quick to find out that the demand for Russian music far outweighed any interest in Soviet Communism. In a burnt-out Vienna, sheet music was a valuable commodity, and generous Soviet imports, an intergral part of musical diplomacy, were influential in shaping early post-war repertoires and circulated beyond the Soviet occupation zone (e.g. in Graz). Mainstream critical writing reveals familiarity with Soviet textual imports (and a subdued sympathy with Socialist Realism's conservatism and nationalism), and concert programmes were visibly Russified, both as a repudiation of Nazism and a charm offensive towards the Soviets, yet made possible only with generous inflows of sheet music. However, its interpretation often differed from Soviet expectations, showing both Austrians' anti-communism and discursive supremacy, and at the same time facilitating a long-term cultural rapprochement between Austrians and Soviets (“Russians”). More broadly, the inter-mediality and -textuality of musical exports is essential, as I argue, for determining its dynamics, social and geographic reach. Contrary to assumptions of music's non-verbal nature, the narrative was no less important than sound, since it addressed not only the emotional sphere (where these assumptions hold true), but also music's implications on the issues of (inter/trans-)nationality, identity and otherness, its socially accepted aesthetic canons, conditions of production and consumption (perception), and the relative power (“savoir-pouvoir”) position of various cultural actors. Imprinting on the cultural discourse(s) and habitus of a country whose nation-building project was centered on music provided for an unlikely, yet harmonious marriage of two musical-political contingencies that were ideologically opposed, yet converged on common ideas about cultural capital and prestige.