The year before last, Valery Gergiev staged a small celebration in memory of Tikhon Khrennikov, the party apparatchik who led the assaults n Shostakovich and Prokofiev in 1948 and controlled the Composers Union from that time until the USSR collapsed in 1991.
Gergiev has expressed a view that Khrennikov was much misunderstood, and that he was a better composer than many thought.
In this short film, the composer Rodion Shchedrin expands on Gergiev’s upbeat view of musical Stalinism.
Shchedrin says: ‘We are country with an unpredictable past… Khrennikov was, in my view, totally unfairly slandered and dragged through the mud…. His first syphony was outstanding. He was an exceptionally gifted melodist. (He helped many composers). Boris Tischenko oce said to me that all the avant-garde composers should club together to build a monument to Khrennikov…. The state never made any attempt to silence anyone. It allowed everyone to live…. Khrennikov was very, very tolerant.’
Gergiev believes much the same.