Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dimitar Nenov - Symphony No.1 (I-II)

Fyrexia Channel>

Dimitar Nenov (Bulgarian: Димитър Ненов), (December 19, 1901 in Razgrad – August 30, 1953 in Sofia) was a Bulgarian classical pianist, composer, music pedagogue and architect. He studied music and architecture in Dresden; he also studied with the noted pianist Egon Petri (himself a student of Ferruccio Busoni). Nenov went on to become a professor of piano at the Sofia Conservatoire, where he taught piano to the Bulgarian pianists Genko Genov, Svetla Protich, Lazar Nikolov, Trifon Silyanovski, and many others.

A communist regime was installed in Bulgaria on September 9, 1944, a date that marked the end of World War II in Bulgaria. It was tough time then for Bulgarian culture. Prof. Nenov was fired abruptly from the Conservatoire, due to allegations of "having performed piano compositions by 'Nazi' composer Richard Wagner". Following a strong public outcry, he was reluctantly restored back to his position.

In 1953, when Prof. Nenov was already very sick and dying, one of his rivals- a communist protege- was appointed to Director of the Bulgarian National Radio, and soon afterwards he ordered to have all of Prof. Nenov's musical recordings erased and destroyed. Because of such ruthless hate crime that remained unpunished, only one single live recording of Prof. Nenov remains available today, in the archives of the Hungarian National Radio.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Liu Shueh-Shuan

Liu Shueh-Shuan (4 March 1969 in Chang-hua, Taiwan) is a Taiwanese composer. He has written works for the Erhu and his music combines elements of traditional and modern cultures in eclectic musical styles. His recent composition, “Gui-Ze”, was awarded the Gold Medal in the Council for Cultural Affairs 2003 Traditional Music Composition Contest (ensemble category); meanwhile, his “Second Erhu Concerto” awarded the Silver Medal (concerto category), and “Busia 1930” won him the Bronze Medal (orchestra category) in the 2002 Contest.
Liu’s works include “Painting of Li Mei-Shu – for Orchestral suite” and “Stone-Lion of San-Shia-Zu-Shi Temple – for Orchestra”. In Paris, The National Chinese Orchestra premiered Liu’s “Mulakuna”, a piece innovatively composed through morse code, with the creative combination of eastern and western instruments to highlight the destruction and impact brought by civilization, mesmerizing all audiences and was greeted by standing ovation.
Upon invitation by The National Chinese Orchestra under the Ministry of Education, Liu composed “Song of the Tsou Tribe” based on Taiwanese aboriginal folk music and toured throughout Europe. At the end of 2000, he was invited to write “The Wish” for the “New Century Concert”. The piece depicts the mixture of anxiety and pleasure with the advent of the New Year, reflected by the 300 audience attendees singing out the optimism and spirit of the Taiwanese people. In addition, his “First Erhu Concerto”, composed for the International Erhu Competition, is highly acclaimed by Erhu players due to its adoption of groundbreaking Erhu techniques and original musical language. Other accomplishments range from his participation in the Golden Melody winning children’s album “Red Dragonfly” and “Firebug”, to the commission of Taipei’s Lantern Festival’s musical themes of 2001 and 2002.
Liu's recent works include “Song of the Yami Tribe” for The Taipei Municipal Chinese Classical Orchestra, “Kavalan-Fantasia Overture” for The National Chinese Orchestra, and “Hugupuo Music Theater”. Liu was also invited to be the producer and musical director for the opening ceremony of 2001 National Olympics, and compose the soundtrack for “The Masters in Chinese History” series for the Public Television Service Foundation.

Youtube>Fyrexia Channel > Liu Shueh-Shuan >

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bessarion Ya Shabalin

Vissarion Yakovlevich Shebalin (Russian: Виссарион Яковлевич Шебалин, June 11, 1902, Omsk–May 29, 1963) was a Soviet composer.

His parents were school teachers. He studied in the musical college in Omsk. He was 20 years old when following the advice of his professor went to MoscowGlière and Myaskovsky. Both composers thought very highly of his compositions. Shebalin graduated from Moscow Conservatory in 1928. His diploma work was the 1st Symphony which the author dedicated to his professor Nikolai Myaskovsky. Many years later his fifth and last symphony was dedicated to Myaskovsky's memory.

In the 1920s Shebalin was a member of the ACM - Association for Contemporary Music; he was a participant of the informal circle of Moscow musicians — “Lamm’s group”, who gathered in the apartment of Pavel Lamm, a professor from the Moscow Conservatory. 

Shebalin was a close friend of Dmitri Shostakovich, who dedicated a string quartet (No. 2) to Shebalin.
After graduating from Moscow Conservatory, he worked there as a professor, and in 1935 became also a head of the composition class in Gnessin State Musical College. In the very difficult years of 1942-1948 he was a director of the Moscow Conservatory and the art director of the Central Musical School in Moscow. 

He fell victim to the Zhdanov purge of artists in 1948 and fell into obscurity afterwards. Among his students were L. Auster, Edison Denisov[1], Grigory Frid[2], Tikhon Khrennikov, Karen Khachaturian, Aleksandra Pakhmutova, and others. Shebalin was one of the founders of and the chairman of the board (1941-1942) of the Moscow Union of Composers.

Shebalin was one of the most cultured and erudite composers of his generation; his serious intellectual style and a certain academic approach to composition make him close to Myaskovsky. In 1951, he was awarded the Stalin Prize.

In 1953, Shebalin suffered a stroke which followed by another stroke in 1959 impaired most of his language capabilities.[3] Despite that, just a few months before his death from a third stroke in 1963, he completed his fifth symphony, described by Dmitri Shostakovich as "a brilliant creative work, filled with highest emotions, optimistic and full of life."

Shebalin died on May 29, 1963. He was buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery near his professors and colleagues.

Youtube> Fyrexia Channel > Bessarion Shebalin - String Quartet No.1 Op.2 >

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hauer - 16 Piano Pieces after Holderlin Op.25

Hauer was born in Wiener Neustadt and died in Vienna. He had an early musical training in zithercellochoral conducting, and organ, but evidently did not include theory and composition, for he claimed that he was self-taught. In 1918 he published his first work on music theory (a tone-color theory based on Goethe's), and in August 1919 discovered his "law of the twelve tones", requiring that all twelve chromatic notes be sounded before any is repeated. This he developed and first articulated theoretically in Vom Wesen der Musikalischen(1920), before Schoenberg’s earliest writings on twelve-tone technique.[4] Hauer's compositional techniques of composition are extraordinarily various and range from building-block techniques to methods using a chord series that is generated out of the twelve-tone row ("Melos"). In fact, his compositional techniques change almost from each piece to the next. The so-called 44 "tropes" and their compositional usage ("trope-technique") are essential to Hauer's twelve-tone techniques. In contrast to a twelve-tone row that contains a fixed succession of twelve tones, a trope consists of two complementary hexachords in which there is no fixed tone sequence. The tropes are used for structural and intervallic views on the twelve-tone system. Every trope offers certain symmetries that can be used by the composer.
Hauer wrote prolifically, both music and prose describing his methods, until 1938, when his music was added by the Nazis to the touring "degenerate art" (Entartete Kunst) exhibit.[4]Wisely keeping a low profile, he stayed in Austria through the war, publishing nothing; but even after the war he published little more, although he probably wrote several hundreds of pieces which remain in manuscript.
From the 1920s Hauer has been a model for literature several times, e.g., in Otto Stoessl's "Die Sonnenmelodie", Franz Werfel's "Verdi" (Matthias Fischboeck). Late in life Hauer spoke about Mann, as well as Theodor W. Adorno, with great bitterness, for he felt that both men had misunderstood him. Adorno had written about Hauer, but only disparagingly. Because of his later achievements and developments it has also been assumed by many scholars that Hauer is also a model for the "Joculator Basiliensis" in Hermann Hesse's "Glass-bead Game".
After 1940, Hauer wrote exclusively Zwölftonspiele ("Twelve-tone Games" or "Twelve-tone Playing"), designated sometimes by number, sometimes by date; he wrote about one thousand such pieces, most of them lost.[1]

YouTube> fyrexia channel>

Friday, January 21, 2011

Carlos Chávez

Born 13 June 1899 in Mexico City, Carlos Chávez was a renowned composer, conductor, and educator whose distinctive, often highly percussive music synthesized elements of Mexican, Indian, and Spanish-Mexican influence. A prolific writer of music and music criticism, Chávez's oeuvre includes five ballets, seven symphonies, four concertos, a cantata and opera, and innumerable pieces for voice, piano, and chamber ensemble; he wrote two books (of which Toward A New Music: Music and Electricity became a major contribution and fundamental document of new musical thought) and more than 200 articles on music.

Chávez was trained primarily as a pianist and developed much of his compositional skills independent of instructors. Coming of age at the close of the Mexican revolution and during a time of renewed cultural nationalism, Chávez's investigation of indigenous Indian cultures, native folk elements, and dance forms brought an unprecedented vigor and visibility to 20th-century Mexican music. A master of orchestration, Chávez's use of native instruments was inimitable with polyrhythms, cross-rhythms, syncopation, and numerous irregular meters often significant elements of compositonal structure. Works such as the Sinfonía de Antígona, Sinfonia India, and a ballet for Martha Graham (La Hija de Cólquide, "The Dark Meadow") were celebrated for their remarkably distinctive and original sound.

YouTube>fyrexia>Carlos Chavez>

Deshevov : Ice and Steel

Ice and Steel by Deshevov

In March 1921, Russian sailors, soldiers, workers, and other citizens stood up to the Bolshevik government, then in disarray, in an uprising known as the Kronstadt Rebellion, named for the island fortress outside of Petrograd (St. Petersburg) where it began. The Rebellion was driven by harsh economic conditions, and by dissatisfaction with Bolshevik policies and practices, such as the seizure of land formerly belonging to peasants. Factory strikes and general unrest were the result, and demands were made of the Bolsheviks – demands that they found unreasonable. It seems that the Rebellion even may have had a degree of international support, although to what extent is unclear. Bolshevik forces quickly put down the Rebellion, and the remaining rebels were dealt with harshly. The loss of life, and the significance of the Rebellion (and with the reluctance of many soldiers in the Red Army to quell it) were not lost on Lenin, however, who moved to mitigate some of the economic factors that had given rise to the Rebellion in the first place.
Ice and Steel (Eis und Stahl) is an almost forgotten opera based on the Kronstadt Rebellion. Composed in 1929, it was intended to be a new kind of "Soviet opera" – ideologically acceptable, yet modern enough to prove that the Soviet Union was progressive. Deshevov, whose background was in theater, succeeded in composing a forward-looking score, but was (arguably) unable to hide, if not sympathy for the rebels, then at least a certain amount of ambivalence towards the subject. As a result, Ice and Steel did not have a long performance history in the Soviet Union. This production from 2007, probably its first in more than seven decades, goes even farther. Director Immo Karaman ends Ice and Steel not with the ultimate triumph of the Bolsheviks, but with what appears to be a representation of the end of the Soviet Union. It's too bad, in a way, that our first look at Ice and Steel has to be to revisionist's look, but the temptation to present the opera in this way must have been overwhelming.
Don't expect arias and love duets, and the other trappings of traditional opera. Instead, expect 96 minutes of drama, as boldly and starkly represented with music as the words on a propaganda poster. The music is very effective, and, if you adjust your expectations, quite enjoyable. Deshevov aimed for realism here, and he achieved it with music that is gripping and current even though it is nearly eight decades old. From the intrigue-filled (and intriguing) opening scene in Kronstadt's black market to the patriotic ending (given a bitter, ironic twist by director Karaman), the action sweeps along like a well-edited piece of cinema.
Similarly, don't expect opera stars standing in the footlights and pouring out high notes. The huge cast has been chosen to put across the flares and semaphores of Deshevov's score and Boris Lavrenjov's libretto, and they do it well. Beautiful singing is not the point here. The point is communication, so what we are given instead are large, interesting voices in the possession of singers who can create a character in two or three broad brush strokes.
Karaman's production sometimes confuses, but it is visually effective, and it has an appropriate "commando spirit," if you will. It seems to have made the transition to my television screen well, thanks to the fluid direction of Brooks Riley. The sound (in the three usual formats) and the 16:9 visual format are impressive, and the subtitles – so important in a work like this – are easy to read and seem idiomatic.
Ice and Steel won't be for everyone, but for those with an interest in, say, the young Shostakovich's more outré experiments, or in 20th-century Soviet history, it is well worth exploring.

YouTube>Deshevov - Rails + Meditations (selection)>

Friday, January 14, 2011

Anatoly Nikolayevich Alexandrov

Anatoly Nikolayevich Alexandrov (Russian: Анато́лий Никола́евич Алекса́ндров) (May 25 1888 [O.S. May 13]–April 16, 1982) was a Russian composer of works for piano and for other instruments, and pianist. His initial works had a mystical element, but he downplayed this to better fit Socialist realism. He led a somewhat retiring life, but received several honors. Alexandrov was the son of a Professor of Tomsk University. He attended the Moscow Conservatory (which he left in 1915), where he was a pupil of Nikolai Zhilyayev, S.I. Taneief and Sergey Vasilenko (theory), and Konstantin Igumnov (pianoforte). His early music revealed the influence of Nikolai Medtner and Alexander Scriabin. He was appointed Professor at the Moscow Conservatory in 1923.