Studio for New Music Moscow
Thursday 29 September at 8:00 p.m.
STUDIO FOR NEW MUSIC MOSCOW
Olga Bochihina (1980) Unter der Kuppel hervor for ensemble (2009, 6’) Italian premiere
Faraj Karaev (1943) A Crumb of Music for George Crumb for ensemble (1985/1998, 18’)
Vladimir Gorlinski (1984) Ultimate Granular Paradise for ensemble and electronics (2008, 10’) Italian premiere
Alexej Sioumak (1976) Illusion of Concerto for ensemble (2006, 8’) Italian premiere
Nikolaj Khrust (1982) Eugenica. Italienisches Konzert for ensemble and electronics (2009, 12’) Italian premiere
Vladimir Tarnopolski (1955) Chevengur for soprano and ensemble to words by Andrej Platonov (2001, 15’) Italian premiere
conductor Igor Dronov
Following its debut concert in France in 1993, conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich, the Studio for New Music Moscow has collected over 600 concerts all over the world – Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, France, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Portugal, Sweden and United States – has performed in prestigious venues – Berlin Philharmonic, Konzerthaus, Cité de la Musique – and has collaborated with prestigious formations such as the Ensemble Modern and the Schönberg Ensemble.
Founded within the Conservatory of Moscow and its course entitled to the orchestra for contemporary music by composer Vladimir Tarnopolski and conductor Igor Dronov, the ensemble must be given credit for having reintroduced the forgotten avant-garde of the Twenties in Russia, from Prokofiev to Popov, Roslavets, Zhivotov and so many others, and for having presented the younger generations abroad, thereby integrating Russian music into the mainstream of European cultural developments. This effort has been rewarded with prizes from the Ernst von Siemens Musistiftung (2001 and 2004), from Kulturstiftung des Bundes (2004/06) and, in 2010, by a scholarship from the European Commission for the realization of the project entitled Europe through the eyes of the Russians. Russia through the eyes of the Europeans.
The concert in this programme offers a look at a little-known musical reality: beside the consolidated figures of Tarnopolski himself, who has been a guest at the Music Biennale several times, and Faraj Karaev, the others are under the age of thirty and new to most, Olga Bochihina, Alexej Siouma, Nikolaj Khrust and Vladimir Gorlinski.
A Crumb of Music for George Crumb occupied Karaev from 1985 to 1998 and in the title plays with the meaning of the American composer’s name. Written for an ensemble of 15 musicians – including winds, brass instruments, strings and two percussionists, the composition is based on a poem by Emily Dickinson. “The musicians recite it at the beginning, accompanied by the brass instruments that can be barely heard (quasi niente), punctuated by the piano in the moment of gravity: If I shouldn’t be alive / When the Robins come / Give the one in Red Cravat / A Memorial crumb / If I couldn’t thank you / Being fast asleep / You will know I’m trying / Why my Granite lip! The wind instruments explode into a song, a sort of hymn repeated over and over, with the dominating oboe. This mysterious and intimate music is an excellent demonstration of Karaev’s particular talent for creating a sound universe that is both melancholy and magic. Following a second explosion into song, the strings offer a counterpoint reflection that accumulates in the spaces between the major and minor parts in a slow crescendo. The composition ends with a murmur of voices that repeat ‘Robins come’ while the brass section plays notes drawn out al niente” (Frans C.Lemaire).
In Unter der Kuppel hervor, Olga Bochihina pairs and distributes the instruments of the ensemble according to their timbre (flute and first violin, oboe and viola, clarinet and cello, percussions, piano and second violin). “At the beginning of the piece, one can recognize four signals that move in a circle and at the same time in different directions (up to the letter D). At the letter A the attacks of the wind instruments are dominant, at the letter C, the attacks of the string. The material of the piece is reduced to the correlation between two ideas: the idea of glissando and that of oscillation. Their fusion, the transition from one to the other, constitutes the fundamental principle of the composition. During the development, the groups of the ensemble (each constituted by two instruments) are transformed little by little into homogeneous groups and in the final episode all the instruments are conceived as a single super instrument. At the end of the piece, the waves come out, out of a cupola – the cupola of the gong” (from the programme notes).
Vladimir Tarnopolski is the author of music that paradoxically combines two different aspects: on the one hand the search for a new euphony, by using sound materials with a complex construction and abolishing consonance and dissonance, sound and noise, harmony and pitch, acoustic and electronic instruments; on the other a refined theatrical quality to which he brings a joyous irony and surreal sense of the grotesque.
The inspiration for Chevengur is exquisitely literary, borrowing its very title from the novel by Andrej Platonov censored by Stalin (written in 1929 it was not published until 1988 in a magazine). Using language as a tool, and breaking conventions and the rules of grammar which he replaces with an imaginary language, Platonov breaks the illusory reason and order of the world. The novel develops its characters against the background of the collapse of Russia in the Twenties, which becomes the symbol of an existential state of being: naked man is shown on the naked earth, lost in the immense emptiness of the steppe. “In this endless space the consonants vibrate and explode (for example, in the work vzbugrenya, an invented word is translated as ‘hillock’; moshchnie is used to mean ‘powerful’; pochva for ‘soil’) as concrete sounds surrounding the world… But as I worked with the text I did not try to convey each word, I did not attempt to ‘colour’ the words musically. On the contrary I tried to follow Platonov’s lead, to make the words ‘explode’, to distribute their ingredients, to work with both the consonants and the vowels. A process that is all the more correct if you notice that in the region evoked by Platonov, they have a habit of ‘sonorizing’ the consonants, combining them into syllables. This way, without in any way following Platonov’s ‘plot’, I tried to convey its primary material: the music of Platonov’s writing” (V. Tarnopolski).
Illusion of Concerto by Alexei Sioumak “is not – in the words of the author – either an attempt to create a concerto or the attempt to recreate its exterior form and therefore just the illusion of it. It is rather an “illusion of lost memory”. Of some concerto by J.S.Bach in E Minor”.
Eugenica. Italienisches Konzert by Nikolaj Khrust “is built on the principle of feedback - acoustic, electronic, humanitarian. The sound is born automatically as a consequence of the interaction between the electronic system and the space of the concert hall. The musicians react to the sound process, take what they need from it and elaborate it further. Playing into the microphone the sound is elaborated electronically and then diffused into the acoustic space of the room. The interactivity places the musicians in the position of playing a concert, half improvising; at the same time the piece contains a number of allusions to contemporary Italian music – hence the humorous subtitle of the work” (from the programme notes).
Ultimate Granular Paradise by Vladimir Gorlinski “seeks to create a unitary electro-acoustic environment, in which electronic and acoustic sound sources have an almost identical effect on the listener. Particular instruments are added to achieve this: sound objects that build a complicated pseudo-electronic sound. They include, among others: a pump fastened to the mouthpiece of the clarinet, a trombone with a bassoon reed, a stick to rub, an atomizer, a plate and form, an electric bow, tin. All these sounds are brought together by the idea-timbre of a granular electronic synthesis. About half way through the piece the idea of granular also carries away the rhythm (rhythmic structures repeated with varying frequency) and the local structure of the form (see letters I, K, O, etc..)” (from the programme notes).
Faraj Karaev (Baku – Azerbaijan, 1943) earned his diploma at the State Conservatory in Azerbaijan in 1966, in the composition course held by his father, Kara Karaev. He completed his post-graduate degree in the same class in 1970/71. From 1966 to 2003 he taught composition, orchestration and polyphonics at the same conservatory, which after 1991 was renamed the Baku Academy of Music. Since 1999 he has taught at the Department of Musical Theory at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow and from 2003 to 2005 at the Department of Musical Composition at the State Conservatory in Kazan. From 1994 to 1996 he was vice-president of the Contemporary Music Association of Moscow. In 1995 he was the co-founder and president of the Yeni Musiqi Society for contemporary music. From 1980 to 1994 he was artistic director of the Bakara Ensemble (Baku). In 1991 he was composer-in-residence at the Folkwang-Hochschule in Essen, Germany. His works have been performed in festivals and concerts in the former Soviet Union, in Europe, in the United States, in South America and in Japan and conducted by, among others, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Valery Sinaysky, Alexander Lazarev, R. de Leeuw, E. Spanjaard, R. Freizitzer, D. Sachs. The many ensembles that have performed or commissioned Karaev’s works include the Bolshoi Theatre Ensemble, the Ensemble Studio for New Music in Moscow, the Ensemble Modern, Nieuw Ensemble, Asko, Schönberg Ensemble, Ensemble Reconsil Wien, Quatour Danel, Continuum (New York).
Olga Bochihina (Kirov – Russia, 1980) graduated from the University of Kirov (musical theory) and the Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Moscow (Department of Composition) with V.Tarnopolski. She won second prize in 2001 for composition at the I All-Russian competition for best composition for Organ. In 2005 she won first prize for Tactile Instruments for ensemble at the Third International Jurgenson Competition for Young Composers. In 2006 she wrote Cadenza to Mozart’s Concerto on commission from violinist David Frühwirth and Valery Gergiev. Two years later she wrote the symphonic prologue The Neva prospectus. She won a scholarship from the Swiss government for the Hochschule für Musik in Basle. Her works have been presented at various festivals at home and abroad: Musical Academies of Russia (Saint Petersburg, 2005), 6th Weimarer Frühjahrstage für Zeitgenössische Musik (Weimar, 2005), the Moscow Autumn (Moscow, 2005-2008), the Pythian games (Saint Petersburg, 2006), the Moscow Forum (2007, 2008), Young Euro Classic (2009), ISCM (2009) – and performed by the Mariinsky Orchestra, Y. F. Svetlanov State Academic Symphonic Orchestra, Ensemble Studio For New Music, de ereprijs orchestra (Netherlands), the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, eNsemble, Consonance-quintet. In 2007, with a group of composers she participated in the international project for the opera Boxing Pushkin which made its debut in the Netherlands (Arnhem, Neijmegen, The Hague, Apeldoorn, Amsterdam).
Vladimir Tarnopolski (Dniepropetrovsk – Ukraine, 1955) studied at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow with N. Sidelnikov and E. Denisov (composition), with J. Cholopov (music theory). He is one of the pioneers of the Association of Contemporary Music, founded in Moscow in 1989, the endpoint of a process of promotion and diffusion open to new trends from the west. He later instituted the Center for Contemporary Music at the Conservatory in Moscow, and founded the ensemble Study for New Music (1993), and launched an annual festival dedicated to contemporary music: the Forum of Moscow (1994). He has often been a guest at many music festivals in Europe and the United States: World Music Days of the ISCM, Berliner Festwochen, Munich Biennale, Wien Modern, Holland Festival, Musikfest in Frankfurt, Almeida Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, San Diego Arts Festival, Warsaw Autumn. Under the baton of Rozdestvenskij, Mstislav Rostropovic and Alexander Lazarev, his music has been performed by the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunk, by the Ensemble Modern, by the Schönberg Ensemble, by the Ensemble InterContemporain, and by the ensemble of soloists from the Bolshoi Theatre. He recently increased his theatre production with the ballet Ins Theater (1998) and the opera Wenn die Zeit uber die Ufer tritt (1999). Since 1992 he has been a professor of composition at the Conservatory in Moscow. He has also held workshops in composition in Germany, Austria, Holland, Switzerland and other countries. He has received awards and acknowledgments, such as the Shostakovich prize (Russia, 1991) and the Hindemith Prize (Poland, 1991).
Alexej Sioumak (Moscow – Russia, 1976) earned his diploma at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow in 2002 and enrolled in the master course in composition led by Alexander Tchaikovsky, winning the First All-Russian Competition of Young Composers (1999), and won first (2001) and second (2003) prizes at the International Jurgenson Competition for Young Composers. His works are performed regularly at the major contemporary music festivals, such as the Moscow Forum, Moscow Autumn, Youth Academies of Russia, Alternative (Russia), International Festival for Contemporary Music Ilhom-XX (Uzbekistan), Oxford Contemporary Music Series, Young Euro Classic, Berliner Festspiele, Young Composers Meeting, LOOSmanifestatie, Gaudeamus Music Week, ISCM World Music Days 2003 (Slovenia), the Warsaw Autumn 2004. He also participated in the international project for the opera Boxing Pushkin which made its debut in the Netherlands in 2007 (Arnhem, Nijmegen, The Hague, Apeldoorn, Amsterdam). His compositions have been performed by many ensembles such as Studio New Music (Moscow), the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, de ereprijs (Netherlands), Ensemble Modern (Germany), Centre for New Music (United States). Some of his compositions have also been broadcast by the BBC.
Vladimir Gorlinski (Moscow – Russia, 1984) graduated from the Conservatory in Moscow (in the Composition course led by Tarnopolski), where he is currently finishing his master in Composition. He has studied with Jean Geslin, Tristan Murail, Marc-Andre Dalbavie, Philippe Hurel, Louis Andriessen, Martijn Padding, Richard Ayres, Brice Pauset, Brian Ferneyhough, Manos Tsangaris, Beat Furrer and Pierluigi Billone. In 2002 he won first prize at the Schnittke International Competition; in 2007 he won the Jurgenson Competition prize and the following year the Grand Prize at the Pythian Games Festival in Saint Petersburg. His work S’Morzando was performed at the ISCM 2007 in Hong Kong. The work Beiklang 2 was presented in two categories at the Rostrum of Composers. He participated in the creation of the collective opera Boxing Pushkin which made its debut in five cities of the Netherlands in May 2007. He won the Impuls competition (2009) which won him a new commission. His music has been performed by ensembles and soloists such as trumpeter Marko Blauuw, pianist Ulrich Murtfeld, Klangforum Wien, ereprijs, KlangNetz, Studio for New Music, eNsemble, Nostri temporis.