Have you got a very
The combative Mr Taruskin has clashed (publicly) with just about every other musicologist working in the sphere of C20th music.
"Anticommunism is a pissing contest I could win" - a quote which characterises his hectoring and bullying stance
Frankly its not so much his views themselves, but the poisonous manner he has of expressing them. He has done himself few favours in this regard.
Many Shostakovich scholars, in particular, have found themselves on the wrong end of Taruskin's sharp tongue. The nub of the problem is that Taruskin has allowed his personal political views - an intense and pathological dislike of Communism - to cause him to make value judgements of composers whose views differed from his. Despite the extremely difficult relationship he had with Stalin, it's clear that Shostakovich believed in the ideals of Socialism, and was appalled by the way the USSR had been misgoverned by a system of governance that had no right to use the term "Socialist" at all. (Quite apart from Volkov's controversial book, we have the reminiscences of Maxim Shostakovich and Rostropovich on this topic). Taruskin's respect for Shostakovich the composer has led him down a questionable path - in seeking to repair Shostakovich's reputation with his fellow Americans (to whom Communism in any form is utterly unacceptable) he has falsified Shostakovich as an enemy of Communism... which, whatever we may want to hear, he was not.
I fear that it's only within Russian society that men who were Communists of moral conviction and belief will ever be understood - for the rest of the world, they will always be painted with horns and spade-shape tails. Taruskin is as much a victim of his own society as Shostakovich in this respect.
I haven't yet read Taruskin's magnum opus - I fear that soviet composers other than Shostakovich will come in for an ideological "bashing" for having the nerve to believe in what they believed in.
Frankly I can't say I am a big fan of Marxism-Leninism (the brand of Communism favoured in the USSR) either. However, I believe that musicologists really have a Wikipedia-type duty to be NPOV, and record what happened... rather than impose their own judgements upon it. I should be interested to see what he makes of Weill, Eisler, Henze, Bush, Dallapicolla, and others.