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Music + X: Politics

From the earliest symphonies to operas made in the past decade, politics has been present in classical music — not only as a subject of composer’s interest, but as a force that shapes the music deemed worthy. Today, we consider two works of music: one by a Russian composer under the microscope of the 1920s Soviet Union, the other by an American composer given considerably more leeway to comment on American international politics of the 1970s.

America, the land of despotism

You know your government is veering dangerously close to tyrannical when leaders begin hiding the truth from constituents. Chinese censorship masks news regarding protests and collective action. North Korean suppression prevents outside information from entering the country. American officials conduct comprehensive investigations of leading officials, then attempt to redact key details before releasing such reports to the public.