The Russian / Soviet Piano Concerto

Piano, Fortepiano and Harpsichord Music
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mballan
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The Russian / Soviet Piano Concerto

Post by mballan »

It is strange that when we look at the current piano concertos that are performed regularly in the concert hall, a fair percentage are Russian, and of course include such notable examples as those by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. The Russians seems particularly adept at creating works that immediately grab our focus and musical interest, that seem to draw us into an emotive maelstrom of passionate melodies, rhythmic exuberance and virtuosity that leave a continuing imprint upon our minds and souls.

The concerto remained popular as an express of music form through both the Imperial and Soviet periods in Russia, as well as in countries that were absorbed into the now Russian Federation. It became a vehicle for not only Russian pianists at the height of their performing career, but also as a means to reflect Social realism, especially those concertos created and aimed at youthful performers and children.

I’ve created this thread to illustrate the wide magnitude of concertos created in both 19th and 20th century Russia – the works will not follow an alphabetical line as I’ve done with my other threads – but I hope will allow people to discover new concertos outside the standard works of the past two centuries.

The aim is to post two piano arrangements only – but there may be the odd full score as well.

This thread is dedicated to my fellow director of the PCS…concerto enthusiast extraordinaire…..I hope I might surprise him on occasions !

Malcolm
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Re: The Russian / Soviet Piano Concerto

Post by mballan »

And first, as mentioned with my recent posting of Rakov……his four concertos for piano and string orchestra. Nos. 1 & 2 were written in 1969, with Nos. 3 & 4 in 1977 - all are short works aimed specifically at the younger performer [in a similar fashion to Kabalevsky’s more substantial 3rd concerto]. My apologies…these were scanned from a photocopy, of a photocopy, of a photocopy of the original scores which I gave to the University of London [hence the odd lines and shading]. But nonetheless useful examples of the Soviet “youth” concerto.

Here are Concertos Nos. 1 &2……I shall post the remaining two concertos very shortly.
Rakov N - Piano Concerto No. 1 [2P].pdf
Rakov N - Piano Concerto No. 2 [2P].pdf
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Re: The Russian / Soviet Piano Concerto

Post by ilu »

Aaron Avshalomov (1894–1964) was born in Nikolayevsk, eastern Siberia, where his grandfather had established a profitable business after being exiled from the Caucasus in the 1870s. Aaron was sent for medical studies to Zürich, where his musical interests blossomed. He attended the Zürich Conservatory briefl y—which constituted his only formal musical education. After the October Revolution, in 1917, which made further studies in Europe impossible, his family sent him to the United States—via Manchuria and northern China. Less than a year later, having married a fellow Russian émigré in San Francisco, he chose to return to China. Apart from a short period in the mid-1920s, when he spent three years in Portland, Oregon, Avshalomov remained in China until 1947. For a number of years he lived in Peking, where he worked for China Booksellers and then for Libraire Française. Despite his lack of musical training—apart from the one term in Zürich— he began composing. He developed an approach that grafted elements of traditional Chinese music—which he had first encountered as a child among the Chinese community of his Siberian hometown—onto a colorful Russian style in the manner of Rimsky-Korsakov. He used the Western-oriented symphony orchestra to imitate and evoke sounds of traditional Chinese instruments, and he also transcribed characteristic ornamentations and used such instruments as temple blocks and finger cymbals. Among his first works of this type was an opera, Kuan Yin, which was premiered in Peking in 1925.

Avshalomov achieved some performances of his works in America during his stay there in the 1920s, but he was unable to establish either a position or a significant reputation in the United States, and he returned to China in 1929. He settled in Shanghai, where there was an established Jewish community, and he became the head librarian of the municipal library and, in 1943, conductor of the Shanghai City Symphony. His works during this second period in China include concertos for violin and piano and two additional operas: The Twilight Hour of Yan Kuei Fei (1933) and The Great Wall (1933–41), which was premiered there in 1945.

During the period of the Japanese invasion and occupation of China, and then the Second World War, Avshalomov lived there under house arrest. His son, the composer Jacob Avshalomov, had been born in 1919 in China but had emigrated to the United States in 1937, and after the war his father joined him—this time remaining permanently.

In his initial postwar years in America, Aaron Avshalomov saw the premiere of his Dream of Wei Lin; and his Second Symphony (1949) was commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky. But once again he was unable to parlay those achievements into further success or to gain the recognition warranted by his obvious gifts. He remains a composer whose legacy awaits deserved rediscovery.

From the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music:
Quo melius Illac
kh0815

Re: The Russian / Soviet Piano Concerto

Post by kh0815 »

Anybody with the score of Evgeni Svetlanov's Piano Concerto? Following http://www.svetlanov-evgeny.com/EN/disc ... ex.php?l=S. It has been recorded - among others - by:

- E. Svetlanov, Russian State Symphony Orchestra, V. Verbitski
- E. Svetlanov, Russian State Symphony Orchestra, M. Shostakovich
- Nikolai Petrov, Russian State Symphony Orchestra, E. Svetlanov

Biography from that site:

Evgeny Svetlanov was born in Moscow on 6 September 1928 into a family of musicians and artists. His parents were both members of the Bolshoi Theatre company and his mother, née Kruglikova, appeared as Tatyana in “Eugene Onegin ” and performed the lead role in “Madame Butterfly ” : from early childhood, Evgeny was captivated by the theatre and for example appeared as the son of Cio-Cio-San on the most prestigious lyrical stage of the Soviet Union (it was precisely in memory of this recollection that he conducted his last performance of Puccini’s opera in Montpellier, one month before his death – thus the cycle was ended).

He studied at the Gnessin school until 1951 and at the Moscow Conservatory until 1955, attending the conducting classes of Mikhail Gnessin and Yuri Chaporin, whose oratorios and cantatas he subsequently recorded; his piano teacher was the great Heinrich Neuhaus ; his conducting mentor was Alexander Gauk, the founder of the USSR State Symphony Orchestra in 1936 and an emblematic figure of modern interpretation. As Svetlanov explains, “Before the Revolution, even though there were some excellent conductors, such as Balakirev and Rubinstein, there was no genuine Russian conducting school: Gauk created it and if only for this his name should remain in the annals of our musical history”. Celebrities such as Alexander Melik-Pacheiev and Evgeny Mravinsky also studied under Gauk.

Svetlanov gave his first concert performances as a conductor on the radio as early as 1953, while he was still a student. Two years later, he returned to the Bolshoi as principal assistant: in 1962, he was appointed principal conductor, becoming honorary principal conductor in 1999, when he conducted a new performance of “The Maid of Pskov” He had become familiar with the great operas of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin and Mussorgsky, as well as a large number of ballets that enabled him to perfect his technique and his knowledge of Russian musical literature while facing the constraints of alternating performances in a repertory theatre. In 1964, he led the Bolshoi’s first tour in Italy, which proved a resounding success.

The following year, Evgeny Svetlanov took over the USSR State Symphony Orchestra, which he had known for ten years, and headed the orchestra for over thirty five seasons, ranging from subscription concerts in Moscow (and all over the Soviet Union) to phenomenally successful overseas tours and a countless number of recordings: during his tenure with the orchestra the maestro recorded an anthology of Russian music covering both the entire romantic and post-romantic period to modern times. This was a monumental task that Svetlanov conducted methodically over twenty five years while interpreting, both on record and in the concert hall, the German ( from Mozart to Schönberg, with a marked preference for Mahler) and French repertoires (Debussy, Ravel and Dukas,with the notable exception of Berlioz). Two hundred and fifty CDs would be required in order to republish this anthology which represents an encyclopaedia of Russian symphony and concert works. However Svetlanov completed over three thousand recordings throughout his career for Russian, Japanese, French, British and Dutch record companies.

Svetlanov devoted himself to composition both fully and sporadically. Although he knew Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Khachaturian and Rodion Schedrin, his individual style differed markedly from that of his famous contemporaries: by his own admission, he was fairly “conservative”, deeply influenced by popular imagery (inherited from the Gnessin school?) and without question disarmingly spontaneous in emotional terms.

His musical tastes were extremely eclectic and as a creator he sought to maintain a post-Romantic tradition drawn from Miaskovsky, of whom he was a leading proponent, and Rachmaninov. In response to the all too familiar question about a desert island, Svetlanov’s reply was as follows: “A desert island? Never. My colleague Yuri Temirkanov will tell you that he would gladly take a copy of Mozart’s “Requiem” …Personally, I would rather be on a star! With the score of Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances.”

Apart from “his” orchestra, from which he was inexplicably dismissed at the end of his life (“I have no intention whatsoever of trying to guess the real reasons for my dismissal. I think that would have major implications, even greater than some people think …”), Svetlanov conducted many Western orchestras: the BBC, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra (England), the Philadelphia Orchestra (United States), the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre National de France, the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra, Strasbourg Philharmonic and Montpellier National Orchestra, the Orchestra di Santa Cecilia (Italy), the Berlin and Munich Philharmonic Orchestras (Germany),the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (Austria), the Orchestre du Théâtre royal de La Monnaie (Belgium), the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Holland), the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Finnish Philharmonic Orchestra, the Finnish and Danish Radio Orchestras, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Göteborg Symphony Orchestra, etc. In 1992, he was also appointed principal conductor of the Hague Het Residentie Orchestra (Holland), with which he completed many recordings.

Evgeny Svetlanov, conductor, composer, pianist, author and a keen amateur fisherman and footballer, deeply influenced the musical scene in the second half of the 20th century. He died aged 73 at his home in Moscow in the night of 3-4 May 2002. Hailed by many including President Putin as one of the last giants of Russian culture, he lies next to his mother in the Vagankovo cemetery.
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Re: The Russian / Soviet Piano Concerto

Post by mballan »

As promised the remaining two piano concertos by Rakov. These were composed in 1977, again for piano and strings.
Rakov N - Piano Concerto No. 3 [2P].pdf
Rakov N - Piano Concerto No. 4 [2P].pdf

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Re: The Russian / Soviet Piano Concerto

Post by mballan »

The first of forementioned concertos - this may be of interest to those members who teach younger players - the Variations for Piano & Orchestra arranged for two pianos by Polunin.

Yuri Iosifovich Polunin (1913-82) – teacher, pianist and composer who worked all his life in various Moscow children’s schools and was noted as an exceptional teacher. His compositions, aimed at children / young players, include:

Three Pieces (Muzgiz 1951) 1. Recollection 2. New Play 3. Summer Rain
Sonatina (Muzgiz 1960)
Concert Variations for Piano & Orchestra – arr. Two Pianos (Muzyka 1966)
The Spinner [Spinning] Etude
Album for Children (Soviet Kompozitor 1986)
Seven Little Etudes
Polynin Y - Variations for Piano & Orchestra arr. 2 pianos.pdf
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Re: The Russian / Soviet Piano Concerto

Post by mballan »

Gotfrid Aliyevich Gasanov. Born 1900, Derbent: died 1965, Moscow. Pianist and composer. Graduated in 1926 from the Leningrad Conservatoire, studying with Kalafati. Taught, concertized and undertook ethnographical research. Was the first professional Dagastan composer and wrote the first Dagestan opera, ballet and musical comedy.

Alfor and myself have recently posted works by Gasanov [Fantasia & Lyrical Pieces on the appropriate threads]......here is his Piano Concerto No. 1 from 1948. I particularly love the 2nd movement which has a beautiful theme running through it.
Gasanov - Piano Concerto (2P).pdf
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Re: The Russian / Soviet Piano Concerto

Post by mballan »

Especially for the CPS archive and Thal........two smaller Soviet works for piano and orchestra [both are full score].

Leonid Viktorovich Afanasyev. Born 1921, Tomsk. In 1940 graduated from the 1st Chkalovsk Air Military School and then took up a position as an pilot instructor. During 1943-45 became first deputy commander, then sqaudron commander of an assault airforce regiment. Graduated 1951 from the Alma-Ata Conservatoire, where he studied with Brusilovsky. He was also a pupil of Khachaturyan at the Moscow Conservatoire from 1951-52 where he settled. Consultant of the Creative Commssion of the Composers Union of the USSR. Award the USSR State Prize in 1952.

Afansyev L - Nocturne for Piano & Orchestra
Afanasyev L - Nocturne for Piano & Orchestra [fs].pdf
Victor Viktorovich Kuprevich. Born 1925 in Kaunas, Lithuania. Composer. Graduated from conservatoire in 1951 [piano class of Yudinoy], and in 1960 took compositon from Aleksandrov. From 1951 - 1954 teacher at the Magnitogorsk Music School; 1954 - 1956 first violinist of the music school linked to the Moscow Conservatoire. From 1956 - 1957 music director of Moscow film studios, and between 1957 - 1960 taught various instrumental ensembles. Various teaching positions continued throughout the 1960’s including artistic director of a Balalaika ensemble.

Kuprevich V - Op 46 Elegy for Piano & Orchestra
Kuprevich V - Op 46 Elegy for Piano & Orchestra [fs].pdf
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Re: The Russian / Soviet Piano Concerto

Post by mballan »

Especially for Thal and the CPS......Rostislav Boiko (1931 - ? ).....his Gypsy Rhapsody in D minor for Piano & Orchestra [2 piano arrangement].
Boiko R - Op 60 Gypsy Rhapsody in D minor for Piano & Orchestra [2P].pdf
There is a recording on the Russian Disc label [along with his other rhapsodies and 3rd symphony].

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Re: The Russian / Soviet Piano Concerto

Post by thalbergmad »

I say, what a find.

Thanks old chap.

Thal
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