Culture

The Corner

Music ’n’ Dictators (a Troubling Combo)

On the homepage today, we publish a piece called “‘Step, Step, Step’: On paeans to dictators and other difficult music.” Where does that title come from? There is a song called “Footsteps,” a paean to Kim Jong-un, the current Kim on the throne in North Korea. “Step, step, step — the footsteps of our General Kim. The whole nation follows as one: step, step, step.”

An instrumental version of this song was played by an orchestra in New York not long ago. If you would like to hear this opus, go here. Catchy little bugger.

In my essay, I also mention a cantata by Prokofiev, a great composer: Hail to Stalin. Prokofiev wrote it in 1939, in honor of Uncle Joe’s 60th birthday. It is a much better piece than “Footsteps” — go here. Still, you may not want to spend much time with it, for it can make you queasy.

“Never before were the fields so green. With unprecedented joy the whole village is full. Never before for us has life been so joyous.”

Those are the opening words. The piece also says that Stalin “hears all, sees all” — which, you have to admit, was kinda true.

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