Music from the movies

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The songs and melodies in the Soviet era often reached their audience through the soundtracks of popular movies.

Since there are large budgets involved with the making of films, the Soviet authorities were not so much afraid of dissident voices in the movies. The film industry was nationalized for virtually the entire Soviet period and was in support of the philosophy and the laws of the Party, and here too, the social realism was the required standard.

Many so-called serious composers didn't feel embarrassed by writing film soundtracks. Some pairs of famous composers and directors emerged. Sergey Sergeevich Prokofiev (1891-1953) wrote music for the historical epics of Sergey Mikhailovich Eisenstein (1898-1948), and in the '30s, the composer Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (1906-1975) formed a duo with director Grigori Kozintsev (1905-1973). Isaak Osipovich Dunaevsky (1900-1955) wrote both pompous marches and jazz music for many musicals of Grigory Vasilyevich Aleksandrov (1903-1983) in which the director's wife Lyubov Petrovna Orlova (1902-1975) did the acting and the singing.

Aram Ilyich Khachaturyan (1903-1978) was also willing to respond to questions from directors because he considered the film - as well as the theatre - as a perfect laboratory to test his concepts and themes for later operas, symphonies, oratorios or other large-scale compositions.

In the period from 1973 to 1986, often referred to as the эпоха застоя [epokha zastoya] or the era of stagnation, a whole new generation of film composers emerged with Vladimir Sergeevich Dashkevich (°1934), Aleksandr Sergeevich Zatsepin (°1926), Mikhail Leonovich Tariverdyev (1931-1996), Alexey Lvovich Rybnikov (°1945), and Maksim Isaakovich Dunaevsky (°1945), son of Isaak.

At the end of the Soviet period composer Artemyev Nikolaevich Edward (°1937) got internationally renowned. He was the pioneer of electronic music in the Soviet Union. His name is linked to the names of renowned directors such as Andrey Arsenyevich Tarkovsky (1932-1986) and Nikita Sergeevich Mikhalkov (°1945). He wrote the soundtracks for films which were also widely known in the West, such as Solaris, Siberiade, Stalker and Soleil Trompeur (Burnt By The Sun).

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