Ice and Steel – A unique historical witness!
During the 1920s Vladimir Dechevov (1889 – 1955) was regarded as one of the most promising younger Soviet composers. Darius Milhaud, who made his acquaintance in 1926 during a visit to Leningrad, praised him in the French press as a “genius” and “extremely original”. However, subsequent attempts to make his compositions better known abroad were unsuccessful. In 1929 followed Dechevov’s best-known composition: Ice and Steel. But such were the ideological tensions of this period that this avant-garde work soon disappeared from the public stage. Although Dechevov was one of the chief proponents of the left wing musical avant-garde in the 1920s and explicitly came out in favour of critical appropriation of elements from Western modernism, he was not subjected to direct ideological attacks during the Stalinist era. Neither, however, despite clearly moderating his compositional style, did he succeed in obtaining a prominent position in the conformist musical culture of socialist realism that held sway after 1932. It was only after the outbreak of the Second World War that he started once again to produce major works of his own: ballet music based on classical materials and patriotic tone poems. However, these did not prevent his name from increasingly being forgotten.