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Orchestral/Choral Works about Lenin and October revolution


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Author Topic: Orchestral/Choral Works about Lenin and October revolution  (Read 836 times)
Toby Esterhase
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« on: November 13, 2013, 10:55:24 pm »

IMHO only from USSR and former soviet bloc are dozens.
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dholling
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2013, 12:02:10 am »

Shebalin's Choral Symphony "Lenin"
Maybe:
  Prokofiev's Cantata on the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution
  Myaskovsky's "Kirov is With Us"
  Shostakovich's 12th Symphony
    ->I said maybe because I'm not sure Lenin is mentioned in these works (I got to refresh myself here).
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Gerard
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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2013, 10:57:20 am »

As mentioned in another thread just now: there is the cantata "Lenin" (6 solo singers, chorus, and orchestra), 1970, by the Spanish-become-Cuban composer José Ardévol (1911 to 1981). The words are by V.I. Lenin himself and F.P. Rodríguez.
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Appreciative, or investigatory, that is the question . . .
autoharp
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2013, 12:48:31 pm »

Hanne Eisler's Lenin Requiem (1935)

http://eislermusic.com/reviews/requiem.htm
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Toby Esterhase
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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2013, 10:53:17 pm »

Eisenkombinat OST by Gerster
Schedrin: Lenin with US
Muradeli "Lenin" opera
 Huh
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chill319
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« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2013, 06:28:43 am »

20th anniversary: Prokofiev, Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution, Op. 74
30th anniversary: Prokofiev, Thirty Years, festive poem for orchestra, Op. 113; Flourish, Mighty Land, Op. 114
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dyn
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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2013, 07:42:29 am »

Were there any "Hitler Cantatas"?  I have always wondered about that. Why are Stalin and Lenin "OK" but not Hitler?  I guess because Stalin "won".  Stalin murdered way more people than Hitler.

I sometimes wonder about that too. There were officially tolerated composers in Nazi Germany whose job it was to write propagandistic music for the regime, same as in any country, but they're all completely forgotten nowadays and even the slightest hint that a composer was affiliated with the Nazis puts a serious damper on performances of their music (well, apart from Orff, perhaps). Yet not only has the music glorifying Stalin survived but it's also notably more popular than most of the music that was officially banned or censured. (Look at the Shostakovich symphonies—2, 3 and 4 considered too "formalist", and nowadays rarely played outside complete cycles—5 and 7 and 10 showered with official honours, still heard all the time—13 and 14 as close as they come to actual critiques of the regime, how often do you hear those?) It makes you wonder if Zhdanov was on to something.

Of course, Hitler's regime only lasted ~12 years, and he had a bad habit of sending anyone who looked too intellectual to a death camp, so the amount of Nazi music out there is significantly smaller.
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2013, 08:53:10 am »

13 and 14 as close as they come to actual critiques of the regime, how often do you hear those?)

How about tomorrow evening at the Moscow Conservatoire Great Hall - conducted by Mark Elder?  Wink  I shall be going.

http://www.russianarts.org/rno/concertssingle_t.cfm?ConcertDate={d%20'2013-11-30'}

The issue of Stalin-dedicated works is obviously contentious. One approach - I don't say it is 'right' - is to revisit these pieces from another viewpoint, and I'll give an example. Here in Moscow, Helikon Opera have staged Prokofiev's "The Story Of A Real Man" (Povest' nastoyashego cheloveka). It's a WW2 epic based on the real-life story of 'The USSR's Douglas Bader', Morozov. Morozov was shot-down over no-man's land, and managed to crawl with his arms along (his legs were shattered, and later amputated) back to the Russian lines.  Yet it's one of those stories where the personal heroism of the central character was hijacked by the Soviet propaganda machine. In the final scene of the opera (Morozov returned to flying duty despite his amputated legs) the now-retired pilot is visited by Stalin, who gives him a Hero Of The Soviet Union medal, and an apartment.



However, Helikon have substantially reviewed the work - and retitled it as The Man Who Fell From The Sky.  Instead of Stalin in the final scene, Morozov is now living in a soviet dump hospital, where the medical staff seem unaware of his identity or past. There he is visited not by Stalin - but by a reporter for a German newspaper, who has come to interview the "Air Ace" of WW2. (The musical material is unchanged, but there is a replacement text.) The production heavily criticised Russia's shoddy treatment of WW2 veterans needing medical care in their old age.



For this work, at least, I thought the approach was successful - and justifiable.
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2013, 12:57:31 pm »

One could point out that the Lenin Mausoleum is still in Red Square and is still visited by members of the public-perhaps not as many as before 1991 but still a goodly number. Putin is publicly on record as being opposed to its removal and the burial of Lenin's body.

Regarding Stalin, there are still a number of elderly Russians who venerate what they perceive to be his role in the "Great Patriotic War".
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2013, 01:53:12 pm »

One could point out that the Lenin Mausoleum is still in Red Square and is still visited by members of the public-perhaps not as many as before 1991 but still a goodly number. Putin is publicly on record as being opposed to its removal and the burial of Lenin's body.

Indeed, but the Mausoleum is only open two mornings per week now - and its visitors are almost entirely gawping tourists, rather than fervent Leninists Wink

It's a much 'easier' tactic to wind it down slowly, than shut it down and rebury its sole occupant (as, ehem, Lenin requested in his Will - for a private burial alongside his brother). "People I know" have confided that keeping Lenin under watchful eye on Red Square is a kind of safeguard against having a tomb elsewhere ransacked or desecrated.

Of course, the tombs of the other USSR leaders (except Khrushev) are also part of the mausoleum complex, although they are not mummified as Uncle Ilich is - they are mounted behind the mausoleum.  There was also a tradition - connected, primarily, with arranging ceremonial burials in a secular society - of burying the ashes of Heroes of the USSR in niches in the Kremlin Wall. There's a little "Avenue of Glory" behind the mausoleum, and adjoining the wall, where you can find people like Yuri Gagarin, and American communist John Reed commemorated.  Frankly I would not like to see Gagarin reburied elsewhere - his tomb belongs where it was placed by the people of his era, I feel?  So removing the mausoleum opens up several other issues.

The thing which DOES irk me is that the magnificent building on the corner of Manege Square and Red Square (by the Chapel of the Iverian Virgin) is currently empty. It was the seat of the Duma (the Tsarist-era Parliament) in the C19th, and then after the Revolution it became Lenin Museum No 1 - "number 1" of many, since every town or hamlet had a Lenin Museum too... some were sadly laughable in their display material. This building ought to be put to some proper use - but the Putinites are too cowardly to grasp the nettle and throw out the rubbishy old displays about Lenin. It's been locked up for about 25 years now - a testament to the stagnation of the Putin years.  It should clearly be handed over the History Museum, which stands adjacent, and hasn't nearly enough space for its displays. 

(Or of course they could turn it into an opera house Wink )
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2013, 02:09:43 pm »

Very interesting Smiley  Thanks for that info'.
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Toby Esterhase
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« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2013, 11:51:27 pm »

Shostakovich "Song of Forests" and "Sun shines over Motherland" Kabalevsky Third Symphony,Jan Kapr
"In the Soviet land"
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Toby Esterhase
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« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2017, 12:37:28 am »

Centenary Concerto

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Latvian
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2017, 08:11:10 pm »

Latvian composer Imants Kalniņš' October Oratorio was revived just a few years ago in Latvia, to a certain amount of controversy. Specifically, many asked why an overtly political work such as this was being revived when any number of fine works without historical and emotional baggage could have been done instead. Musically it's not a bad piece, but the text is certainly dated ideologically and as I recall there was no attempt to update it along the lines of the Prokofiev opera Neil discussed in this thread.

Back in the early 1980s I had an interesting conversation with a Latvian musical colleague who at that time had only fairly recently defected from what was then still Soviet Latvia. At some point, the subject of politically-themed compositions came up and she told me that back in the 1950s and 1960s it was fairly obligatory for any composer of significance to crank out a musical tribute to Lenin and/or the October Revolution. Failure to do so was typically detrimental to one's career, and at one time to one's health. She told me that the central music libraries had shelves and shelves filled with this rubbish, much of which was never performed but which was routinely filed and catalogued, and served as proof of political loyalty. Multiply these holdings by the number of former Soviet republics and you have what amounted to a cottage industry.
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Gauk
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« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2017, 07:36:02 pm »

Were there any "Hitler Cantatas"?  I have always wondered about that. Why are Stalin and Lenin "OK" but not Hitler?  I guess because Stalin "won".  Stalin murdered way more people than Hitler.

I sometimes wonder about that too. There were officially tolerated composers in Nazi Germany whose job it was to write propagandistic music for the regime, same as in any country, but they're all completely forgotten nowadays and even the slightest hint that a composer was affiliated with the Nazis puts a serious damper on performances of their music (well, apart from Orff, perhaps). Yet not only has the music glorifying Stalin survived but it's also notably more popular than most of the music that was officially banned or censured. (Look at the Shostakovich symphonies—2, 3 and 4 considered too "formalist", and nowadays rarely played outside complete cycles—5 and 7 and 10 showered with official honours, still heard all the time—13 and 14 as close as they come to actual critiques of the regime, how often do you hear those?) It makes you wonder if Zhdanov was on to something.

Of course, Hitler's regime only lasted ~12 years, and he had a bad habit of sending anyone who looked too intellectual to a death camp, so the amount of Nazi music out there is significantly smaller.

From what I know (e.g. Michael Kater's study "The Twisted Muse"), it seems that there were no Hitler cantatas; the Nazi leaders did not go in for that sort of musical hero-worship; it was really a Stalin speciality. You don't get many Khrushchev cantatas either. There are probably some works on Hitlerish texts, but I get the feeling that even paid-up party members tended to balk at setting such tawdry stuff. You would think that there should be "victory symphonies" penned by German composers c. 1940-1942, but I find no trace of them. Works by composers like Hans-Georg Görner (if you can find them) all seem to be pleasant stuff that one would not take exception to if you heard it "blind".

The regrettable thing is how after the war, there was a tendency (at least in Germany) to associate all tonal composition with the Nazi regime, and hence only 12-tone music was considered acceptable. So it is a subject that has to be addressed to understand the trajectory of late 20th C musical history.
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