Tomoff, Kiril. Creative Union: the Professional Organization of Soviet Composers, 1939-1953. New York, NY: Cornell Univ Press, 2006. Print.
It was a freezing January day in the city of Archangelsk, Russia. A man by the name of Dmitri Shostakovich picked up the newest issue of Pravda from the newsstands, which were unusually busy today. “Wow, this is really harsh!” “Are Pravda’s expectations THAT high?” people whispered to one another. After reading it briefly, Shostakovich flew into a fit of frustration and rage. This paper called his music “degenerate and decadent” (Stevens)! There is no way that Pravda would trash his music as badly as this. In fact, the article was written under orders by an upset Josef Stalin. These two Russian titans impacted Russia’s culture between 1930 and 1950. They absolutely hated each other! The tension between the two radiated throughout Shostakovich’s music and Stalin’s iron-fisted attitude towards his symphonies. Stalin manipulated composers to the point of suicide for defying his wishes, and he was not afraid to do that to Shostakovich. Somehow, Shostakovich dared to resist Stalin’s evil ways and went on to become a “brilliant and internationally famous composer.
David Fanning and Laurel Fay. "Shostakovich, Dmitry." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. 1 Apr. 2012.
Hurwitz, David, and Dmitriĭ Dmitrievich Shostakovich. Shostakovich symphonies and concertos: an owner's manual. Pompton Plains, N.J.: Amadeus ;, 2006. Print.
Which great composer received the title of the first Russian to gain international fame? Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky created marvelous music that carries his name to this day. He contributed to the great Romantic era with the genuineness of his compositions. Having hard life, he still persevered on and did not let his circumstances stop him. Learning about his life, music, and worldview gives a full view of Tchaikovsky.
As a youth he reluctantly studied law, as much bore by it as Schumann had been, and even became a petty clerk in the Ministry of Justice. But in his early twenties he rebelled, and against his family's wishes had the courage to throw himself into the study of music at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. He was a ready improviser, playing well for dancing and had a naturally rich sense of harmony, but was so little schooled as to be astonished when a cousin told him it was possible to modulate form any key to another. He went frequently to the Italian operas which at that time almost monopolized the Russian stage, and laid t...
This is the second volume of Richard Taruskin's historical work, and it highlights composers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He examines the progression of different styles and eras of music.
Mussorgsky’s importance to and influence on later composers are quite out of proportion to his relatively small output. The 65 songs he composed, many to his own texts, describe scenes of Russian life with great vividness and insight and realistically reproduce the inflections of the spoken Russian language. "Mussorgsky was recognized by both the Kuchka and Tchaikovsky as a powerful musical force." Rimsky-Korsakoff, for example, regarded some of his friend's boldest strokes as "mistakes, particularly in his harmonies."
In this paper I will take a closer look into Sergei Rachmaninoff’s life with a specific focus on his Vespers with special attention on the fifth movement, Nunc dimittis. There is confusion as to with what purpose he wrote the Vespers as some claim him to be non-religious while others claim he is very religious. Regardless of his preferences, he requested the fifth movement be played at his own funeral so I intend to explore potential reasons for his decision. I will go about this research by looking into what information we know of his personal life using credible sources, as well as researching his Vespers as a whole with specific focus on the sixth movement. I will also address World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution and its effects
While Tchaikovsky is known for his compositions of classical ballet, he was overall great as a pianist. Like most composers of music, his compositions reflected that of his feelings greatly, which helped him connect to the public and spread his music quite well. As a child, he became better than his teacher in one year, and at the age of ten went to the School of Jurisprudence and quickly completed the upper division classes. After graduating, he did four years at the Ministry of Justice, which didn’t really suite him well. Once out of the Ministry of Justice in the 1860s, he joined the Music Conservatory at the age of 22. Shortly after joining, he composed his first orchestral score in 1864. Two years later, he settled down in Moscow and started to increase his fame as a composer. In the following years he would tour around Europe and even into the United States. In 1893, six days after the premiere of his last piece he
If we were to overlook Beethoven having the greatest influence over the Romantics, then we would come to Hector Berlioz (1803-1869), who is even considered more of an innovator than Mr. Beethoven himself. Berlioz became famous not because he changed the rules, but because he completely ignored them. Every aspect of music he dissected under his microscopic thinking. If he felt like a feature of music helped him express his soul’s desire, then he kept it, if not, he would shatter it completely down ...
Igor was born in Lomonosow, Russia on June 17, 1882 to Anna Kholodovsky, a talented pianist and Fyodor Stravinsky, a bass singer . When Stravinsky was only three he witnessed a musician at a Russian fair singing and performing weird instruments. Igor was amazed by what the musician had done. This was one of Stravinsky's first memory of music. Igor's childhood was not a good memory for him. He felt hated and neglected. Igor recalled that his schooldays no one had a real attraction for him and he was always lonely. The only thing that got him through it was music and his piano lessons .In 1890, Igor heard his first orchestral performance "The Sleeping Beauty." He was awestruck at the grace of the piece. That performance fueled his interest in music even more. When he was fifteen, he had mastered Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto in G minor. Stravinsky also finished a piano reduction of a string quartet by Glazunov, who allegedly thought that Igor was unmusical and considered him to have poor skills. His parents sa...
Igor Stravinsky was born near St. Petersburg, Russia into a very musical family. His father was famous for being an operatic bass and his mother was a pianist. Their home was filled with art, literature, and music, and Igor started piano lessons at age nine. But his parents didn’t want him to follow in their footsteps, so they encouraged him to study law, which he did. He went to a university to study, and it was there that he befriended Vladimir Rimsky-Korsakov, a celebrated composer, who Stravinsky was apprenticed under for three years. After a year and a half of this excellent music instruction, Stravinsky began his first symphony. It was around this time that he graduated from the university and married his cousin, Catherine Nossenko. When he and his wife went to the country that summer, Stravinsky promised Rimsky-Korsakov, his good friend as well as mentor, that he’d send him the finished music of the piece he was working on. A few weeks later, he sent the completed composition, his well-known Firworks, to him. But the parcel was returned with a message: “Not delivered owing to the death of the addressee”. This was a sad time for Stravinsky, but it was also one full of promise, because before his death Rimsky-Korsakov arranged for some of Stravinsky’s music to be performed. In the audience of one of these performances was Sergei Diaghilev, a dire...
Schwartz, Boris. Music and Musical Life in Soviet Russia, 1917-1981. 2nd edition. Indiana University Press, 1983.