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Time, Forward!


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Author Topic: Time, Forward!  (Read 2199 times)
autoharp
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« on: November 05, 2011, 12:05:18 am »

The Russian-orientated membership may be surprised to know that I heard this ditty by Sviridov for the first time only this week. Immediately I'm feeling the need to arrange it for steel pans - which I shall do this weekend. One of my students who is Russian is rather excited by this. But I'm interested to know how other Russians feel about this piece, given its apparent excessive familiarity . . .


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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2011, 08:15:41 am »

given its apparent excessive familiarity . . .


Of course I've heard it hundreds of times, without ever knowing what it was?! Smiley  Even though I don't have a tv.

The brass theme that comes in at 1:01 was used by the main TV News ("Vremya") in Russia for years and years as the main "intro" music.  In fact as I only knew it in that context, I imagined it had been specially written for that use...  I'm pleased to find that a decent composer was behind it!  Wikipedia informs us that it was also used at the Vancouver Olympics, at which occasion Gergiev conducted it.

Sviridov's reputation has rather vanished behind that of his more illustrious contemporaries (DSCH, Schnittke etc) - he seems due for a fairer assessment, perhaps?  We performed his "Music For A Chamber Orchestra" a couple of years ago.
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t-p
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2011, 09:59:08 am »

Sviridov was well known composer in the Soviet Russia. He is one of the national composers that didn't make a break through internationally.

I also know the theme  of the piece in the clip very well. Maybe it reflects times when communist party tried to create enthusiasm and sense of progress, industrialization. People believed that life is going to get better and music reflected that. But now we can look on this music without political agenda.

There is an example of his music that we used to play.




His Pushkin cycle was well known. I don't think all songs in  the cycle are interesting. I played the second one with a singer. He was limited in what he was allowed to set to music. Pushkin was safe choice. But it was possible to express loneliness and sadness that all people go through and can relate to.



I mostly associated him with songs and it could be more difficult for international audience.

He was well known composer and I loved his music.








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autoharp
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2011, 04:18:15 pm »

Thanks for those contributions. To an extent I was aware of its history. I suppose I wanted to check that people didn't view it with disgust because of an association with a bygone era. My student certainly didn't view it that way.
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t-p
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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2011, 01:14:28 pm »

COTW today and the whole week is Elgar.

Is this music that speaks to us again?



Here us the poem.

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autoharp
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« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2011, 06:15:35 pm »

I have to say that I find Elgar pretty tedious outside of the odd Pomp + Circumstance march - with one remarkable exception -  Falstaff.

Back to the Sviridov: apart from the obvious Sabre Dance, I'm wondering if there are other notable brief Russian examples in the severely motoric and delightfully vulgar vein?
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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2011, 08:20:34 pm »

Basically there were Prokofiev, Schostakovich that were played.

Then there was Sviridov that everyone knew and Khachaturyan plus Kabalevsky and Khrenninov.

Myaskovsky wasn't much played as much as I know.
I knew Boris Tchaikovsky in some music books, but his music wasn't widly known.




Tchedrin was played too, but you know his music probably .His piano pieces were very motoric.

I heard Slonimsky and saw his scores, but don't really know his music. Here is interview. I couldn't believe what I heard. It is a waste of time to listen I suppose. The only useful thing is to know that Stravinsky wasn't good student in harmony and question the need of music high education system. Is it necessary to be good student in harmony to become good composer. We know that Beethoven was doing harmony exercises with Haydn.





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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2011, 08:51:28 pm »

Back to the Sviridov: apart from the obvious Sabre Dance, I'm wondering if there are other notable brief Russian examples in the severely motoric and delightfully vulgar vein?

The sad thing about Socialist Realism in the USSR's music is that it rarely delivered on its promise, and while it certainly achieved vulgarity in the utmost, the "motor" is usually trudging along beyond. But there is reams of this kind of material...



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autoharp
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« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2011, 08:28:49 am »

Fantastic! Of course all the best stuff is in the minor key isn't it? Definite shades of Eisler but from a BIG country. Love it!
t-p, I'll examine your links when I'm back from work. In terms of the sophisticated motoric, this is probably as good an example as any. I'm not a big Shostakovitch fan, but this must be one of the favourites. (Scherzo for String Octet op 11 no 2)


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t-p
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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2011, 09:14:24 am »

This is wonderful piece. Thank you so much autoharp. It is not much played here. it is has wonderful thrust forward momentum.
I investigated Boris Tchaikovsky and found the same roots so to say (or the same college). I found another composer I forgot - Shebalin. He was well known and now is not played much. There is more melodious and lyrical tendency in his music.

I mostly know Shebalin as composer of ballet. I forgot the name of it and looked on the net and then listened to his first symphony. http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=MBNuIEFWEtE
This is not motoric music, still firmly rooted in 20th century tradition. This is much closer to Tchaikovsky's tradition I think.
I used to like motoric movement but my tastes changed since.

Kabalevsky was played very often and he has a lot of motoric movement. .

Kabalevsky also has Preludes and Fugues. This particular was played a lot .

Kabalevsky's preludes were not as difficult and were played a lot. Needless to say that most of them were major keys.  I don't think they are bad pieces, but have no idea if his name will be remembered. I think he will be remembered in Russia perhaps. I looked on the net and his music is still played a lot.




Thank you so much for good example of Shostakovich octet. I don't know if there are other movements on the net .








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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2011, 09:22:02 am »

I remembered composer Denisov and looked him up on the net. He wasn't official composer so to say.


I know that people here don't have much time to listen. I just had a little bit of time to investigate.
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2011, 10:14:41 am »

Thanks for the Kabalevsky examples, I enjoyed listening to those Smiley  And for the Denisov, which I didn't know at all.

Khrennikov could occasionally get the motor running, although he consciously avoid the kind of "mechanism" that I think we're looking for?  Although it's a bit of a slow burn, the last movt of Symphony No 2 gets going for a while Smiley



Khrennikov has been cast as a kind of "official ogre" in the West - but research indicates that perhaps he was using his influence with the Party to intervene in individual cases?  Perhaps we should not automatically write him off, anyhow..   there's decent music amongst his sometimes variable output.

This 1-hour French documentary about classical music during Stalin's time is worth watching if you speak Russian - sadly they've severely missed a trick by not subtitling the contributions by Rostro, Schedrin & Co Sad Or Khrennikov digging himself in deeper at 46:30 Sad Or Rostro explaining Khrennikov at 47:00  And a famous bit of "motoring" going on at 26:30 ff

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t-p
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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2011, 02:41:29 pm »

I think the second clip belongs more to dictatorship thread.

There was short time after revolution when composers were able to write innovative music and performers tried to perform great music for masses so to say. I am not sure masses wanted to listen (I rather think they didn't).


Interesting part is how great composers react to the time they live in  and how they survive.

Prokofiev, Shostakovich responded to the time they lived in. They had to write patriotic music and they had to live through absolute madness. To read what was said or written is like going through mental asylum.

It is great to hear what Prokofiev thought and what composers thoughts are. There is outside world so to say and inner world.

I like Prokofiev's sarcastic remark about formalist music is music that one doesn't understand  on the first listening.
Prokofiev responded with sarcasm and Shostakovich had sarcastic sections too.

I also liked remark of Rozhdevstvensky about conducting Prokofiev's symphony in Cleveland and how he had to explain that rhythm there reminded him how prisoners were sending signals to each other by knocking on the heating system. (Orchestra there thought it was horses riding on the pavement).
It actually could be horses of Revolutionaries riding on the street too.


It would be good to translate it. This was interesting clip.


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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2011, 03:20:30 pm »

It would be good to translate it. This was interesting clip.

I think the most valuable aspect of this clip is that there is no superimposed value-judgment by an external narrator telling you "how terrible it all was" (as the BBC etc love to do). Instead it represents a series of important musical figures from the era, telling the story of the times in their own unedited words.  As such its a valuable historical primary source document (although of course, the choice of clips inevitably offers the editor the chance to skew things to their own liking).  Even so, it would great if this were to be subtitled properly - it would be a great resource for music students, who often come to this topic with, err, rather different preconceptions Wink

Indeed, I remember being told on another forum by a practicing musician that Shostakovich was a well-known Stalinist stooge, and that the proper thing for all right-thinking people to have done during the period of Stalinist rule would have been to leave the country.  All 132 million of them.  Grin

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« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2011, 03:34:57 pm »




Indeed, I remember being told on another forum by a practicing musician that Shostakovich was a well-known Stalinist stooge, and that the proper thing for all right-thinking people to have done during the period of Stalinist rule would have been to leave the country.  All 132 million of them.  Grin


[/quote]
I have to say that it was easy to think like that if you were average Soviet citizen. He was sanctioned composer after all, state supported etc and he went abroad.
He was a pond in grand game or competition between two system. He tried to tell people here about real life in the Soviet Union in sublime way so to say. Soviet propaganda machine used talented people like that.


Maybe it means that we can appreciate things only looking back in perspective.

But I don't think people can understand each other. There are words by Achmatova - How another can understand you, when you express your thought it is a lie already.
I am afraid it is very pessimistic view I am expressing here. Maybe people can find more positive tone.




INdeed I heard recently on some show that they asked Vishnevskaya about wanting to live well and saying politically correct so to say things on Soviet television. Her reply was good. She said that they dtied to survive and they didn't percecute people like members of the party did.
This is what dictatorship is.
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