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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 640 times)
relm1
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« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2017, 12:47:03 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.

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.

There are pro-fascist works that ended up blacklisting composers who were on the wrong side of history.  I believe Paul von Klenau and Alfredo Casella to be notable examples.  In my opinion, we should let the music speak for itself rather than the political views of the composer because otherwise it can be difficult to filter fact from fiction.
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calyptorhynchus
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« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2017, 06:10:51 am »

Ivanovs' Symphony no.13 is a paean to Lenin. It has three fastish movements and the Lenin bit is in prologues to each of the movements, a sort of spoken recitative (in Latvian).

It would be easy to drop the prologues and just play the three main movements.
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Elroel
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« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2017, 04:16:03 pm »

It would be easy to drop the prologues and just play the three main movements.

It is not unlikely that this was the original idea of Ivanovs. When played without these prologues the music seems to fit better than with them.
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calyptorhynchus
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« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2017, 08:29:55 pm »

Or maybe he was told to write a tribute to Lenin, and retrofitted the prologues to a just-completed symphony.

 Grin

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Gauk
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« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2017, 09:52:57 pm »

There are pro-fascist works that ended up blacklisting composers who were on the wrong side of history.  I believe Paul von Klenau and Alfredo Casella to be notable examples.  In my opinion, we should let the music speak for itself rather than the political views of the composer because otherwise it can be difficult to filter fact from fiction.

Agreed - and without naming German composers, one could cite, for example, Atterberg and Sinding.
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dhibbard
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« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2017, 10:21:37 pm »

There are pro-fascist works that ended up blacklisting composers who were on the wrong side of history.  I believe Paul von Klenau and Alfredo Casella to be notable examples.  In my opinion, we should let the music speak for itself rather than the political views of the composer because otherwise it can be difficult to filter fact from fiction.

Agreed - and without naming German composers, one could cite, for example, Atterberg and Sinding.

I pointed this out on another thread  ....one of the members of this forum pointed me to this interesting history book.

"Composers of the Nazi Era: Eight Portraits 1st Edition" by Michael H. Kater

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0195099249/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=AL05K0SB8PFZQ

Interesting account of the following composers:
Egk
Hindemith
Weill
Hartmann
Orff
Pfitzner
Schoenberg
Strauss     

my thought on   Paul von Klenau was probably just an opportunist... but was a member of the Nazi Party.
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Latvian
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« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2017, 07:42:41 pm »

Quote
Ivanovs' Symphony no.13 is a paean to Lenin. It has three fastish movements and the Lenin bit is in prologues to each of the movements, a sort of spoken recitative (in Latvian).

It would be easy to drop the prologues and just play the three main movements.

Indeed, the work hangs together quite well without the interpolations.
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Gauk
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« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2017, 09:39:20 pm »

I pointed this out on another thread  ....one of the members of this forum pointed me to this interesting history book.

"Composers of the Nazi Era: Eight Portraits 1st Edition" by Michael H. Kater

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0195099249/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=AL05K0SB8PFZQ

Interesting account of the following composers:
Egk
Hindemith
Weill
Hartmann
Orff
Pfitzner
Schoenberg
Strauss     

my thought on   Paul von Klenau was probably just an opportunist... but was a member of the Nazi Party.

Kater seems to be the specialist in this era, but I would have thought that at least half of those figures were well gone over in other sources.
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Christo
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« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2017, 11:18:30 am »

Estonian composer, Veljo Tormis, born 1930 and deceased last month, composed a cantata: Lenin's Words [Lenini sõnad] in 1972, at the occasion of the 50th birthday of the establishment of the USSR, in three movements:
1. What is Soviet Power?
2. The Complete Equality of Peoples
3. The Tomorrow of World History
for soprano, female choir, male choir and mixed choir, on texts by Lenin.

When I first met him, in August 1993, he told me that he had chosen words from Lenin's famous 'Testament' that were not acceptable to the Soviet authorities at the time - especially as they acknowledged minority rights. Cheesy

I see the story is confirmed by Mimi S. Daitz in her monography on Tormis: https://books.google.nl/books?id=LLSptm0fA6wC&pg=PA214&lpg=PA214&dq=Tormis+Words+Lenin%27s&source=bl&ots=j47nfrYM4d&sig=Ltcw0PKtsMaGps1psvaA4XHCZxc&hl=nl&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiyjsKYnb_SAhWBfxoKHT04BGIQ6AEIGjAA#v=onepage&q=Tormis%20Words%20Lenin's&f=false
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… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.  RVW, 1948
Toby Esterhase
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« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2017, 01:29:25 am »

http://www.mosconsv.ru/en/event_p.aspx?id=150619
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dhibbard
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« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2017, 03:29:21 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.

Neil... since you are in Moscow, do you ever go to any of the concerts in St. Petersburg of the Academic SO of SP?   If so, from time to time they sell self recorded CDs after the concert,  please look at see if you can find anything of interest.. like Zolotarev's symphonies..
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BigEdLB
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« Reply #26 on: June 23, 2017, 08:32:56 pm »



Tihkon Khrennikov, aka "Stalins's Lapdog"

March of the Stalin Artillery (1943)
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