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Composing for the Screen in Germany and the USSR

Cultural Politics and Propaganda

Despite the long history of music in film, its serious academic study is still a relatively recent development and therefore comprises a limited body of work. The contributors to this book, drawn from both film studies and musicology, attempt to rectify this oversight by investigating film music from the vibrant, productive, politically charged period before World War II. They apply a variety of methodologies—including archival work, close readings, political histories, and style comparison—to this under explored field.

About the Authors

Phil Powrie is Professor of French Cultural Studies at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Most recently, he is co-author (with Bruce Babington, Ann Davies, and Chris Perriam) of Carmen on Film: A Cultural History (IUP, 2007).

Robynn Stilwell is Assistant Professor of Music in the Department of Art, Music and Theatre at Georgetown University. She is co-editor (with Phil Powrie) of Changing Tunes: The Use of Pre-existing Music in Film.


". . . [an] interesting collection of essays . . . ."—Anselm C. Heinrich, Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, University of Glasgow, H-German, July 2009

"Composing for the Screen in Germany and the USSR offer[s] the first scholarly discussion of German and Soviet film music under a single cover, foregrounding numerous social and aesthetic parallels between these two countries at a time when movies were beginning to talk. Vol. 4, No. 3"—Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema

". . . a valuable contribution to the growing body of film-music scholarship.Vol 32.2 May 2009"—Stephen Meyer, Syracuse University

"Sampling a wide range of cinematic time and space, Composing for the Screen in Germany and the USSR leave no doubt that we have yet much to discover about the complex relationship between film music and 'cultural politics' and that the expertise and point of view which musicologists and, particularly, film music scholars bring to the discourse is invaluable. 54.3 Fall 2010"—Slavic and East European Journal

"Music became a key ingredient in the propaganda machines developed by the National Socialists and Stalin, an art both to regulate and exploit. Indeed, it is impossible to speak of film music in these countries during the early sound era without considering the political implications of compositional choice and the relationship between music and image."—from the introduction
Indiana University Press

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