Mosolov: Ten Artists that Shook the World

Alexander, Tamsin. 2017. Mosolov: Ten Artists that Shook the World. [Broadcast]

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Abstract or Description

This programme tells the story of how industrial noise was re-sounded by early Soviet composers, particularly Alexander Mosolov. Mosolov’s music of the 1920s was permeated with an urban quality, achieved through stark contrasts, discordant clusters, and mechanical ostinatos. I’m going to zoom in on his Iron Foundry, or Zavod – a work that took these techniques to their extremes to evoke the aural world of the factory. Debate has raged since its premiere about whether this was Mosolov’s ‘“mighty hymn to mechanised labour”’ or a darkly pessimistic reaction to the industrial world. For me, it can’t be one or the other. Zavod is rich with an ambivalence about the machine that echoed contemporary feeling on industrialisation and the post-revolutionary order. It was this very ambivalence that would render Zavod unplayable in Soviet Russia in the coming years, stripping Mosolov of his chance to truly shake the world.

Item Type:


Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Centre for Russian Music


13 November 2017

Dimensions or Duration:

14 minutesDuration

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

21 Jul 2022 14:58

Last Modified:

21 Jul 2022 14:58


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