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Virtuosi AbroadSoviet Music and Imperial Competition during the Early Cold War, 1945-1958$
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Kiril Tomoff

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780801453120

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801453120.001.0001

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Oistrakh on Tour, Richter at Home

Oistrakh on Tour, Richter at Home

Display, Control, and the Style of Global Empire

(p.114) Chapter 4 Oistrakh on Tour, Richter at Home
Virtuosi Abroad

Kiril Tomoff

Cornell University Press

This chapter contrasts the successful international mobility of the violinist David Oistrakh with the distressing immobility of the pianist Stanislav Richter. In trailing Oistrakh around the world up through his first triumphant tour of the United States, the chapter shows that sending their superstars abroad allowed the Soviets to demonstrate one of the most compelling strengths of their system. However, the potential benefits of displaying that excellence were undermined by a perpetual obsession with control. Continuous secret police opposition derailed attempts by the Ministry of Culture to send Richter to the West—a clear proof of the notorious KGB security control over international tours. Exploring the relationship between touring and making collaborative recordings also suggests that the transimperial tours further facilitated the global standardization of orchestral sound.

Keywords:   David Oistrakh, Stanislav Richter, transimperial tours, Soviet music, Ministry of Culture, KGB security

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