Thursday, June 22, 2017

May 2017 #ClassicsaDay #SovietaDay annotated list - Part 3


One of the ongoing Twitter hashtag groups I participate with is #ClassicsaDay. The idea’s pretty simple: post a link to a classical work, and – in the body of the tweet – provide a little info about it.

For May 2017, some of the participants decided to use the theme #SovietaDay. Part 1 fills in the background behind my selections.

 Below is the second group of composers I shared. For the most part, they're the generation born just after the Revolution and grew to maturity during the Second World War.

Soviet composers born 1904-1931

Aleksey Semyonovich Zhivotov (1904-1967) 
Zhivotov was a member of the Leningrad Composer's Union. He's best remembered for his song cycles.

Gavril Popov (1904-1972) 
Popov was considered to be just as talented as his contemporary Dmitri Shostakovich, but not as disciplined. His first symphony was immediately banned after its premiere in 1935. In order to survive, he tried to write as conservatively as possible, and keep himself sedated with alcohol. It worked. He won the Stalin Prize in 1946.

Tikhon Khrennikov (1913-2007) 
Khrennikov was never adventurous as a composer and was well-suited to his role as head of the Union of Soviet Composers. He was politically adept (eventually becoming a deputy of the Supreme Soviet), and claimed Stalin "knew music better than any of us." The fate of many a Soviet composer was determined directly or indirectly by Khrennikov.

Georgy Sviridov (1915-1998) 
Sviridov was best known for his choral works, which drew on the traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church. His 1959 Oratorio Pathetique won the Lenin Prize.

Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919-1996) 
Weinberg was a Polish Jew who fled East from the Nazis in 1939, eventually arriving in Moscow. He became a protege of Shostakovich, who protected him as best he could. He survived arrest as a "formalistic and cosmopolitan" composer in 1949. After the Stalin era, his music returned to circulation.

Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006) 
A student and colleague of Shostakovich, Ustvolskaya spent most of her career on the fringe. Her style was too modern for official sanction. Only after the fall of the Soviet Union was her music played with any frequency. the Grand Duet for Cello and Piano by

Mikael Tariverdiev (1931-1996) 
Tariverdiev was an important film composer as well as a classical music composer. He scored over 130 films and headed the Composers' Guild of the Soviet Cinematographers' Union. His catalog also includes four operas, two violin concertos, and a sizable number of chamber and vocal works.

Sofia Asgatovna Gubaidulina (1931- ) 
Gubaidulina had a rocky relationship with the Soviet authorities. She had to hide her interest in spiritual practices that inspired her music. Gubaidulina won a Stalin fellowship to study composition, but later her music was called "irresponsible." She scored some of the most popular films in the USSR but was blacklisted from the Union of Soviet Composers for unauthorized participation in Western music festivals. In the West, her reputation -- and popularity -- steadily grew, and she's now recognized as one of the most important composers of her generation.

Next: Soviet composers born after 1931

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