Interview with Sergei Slonimsky - 2011

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					  reMusik Journal

Saint-Petersburg Contemporary Music Center

Monday, February 21, 2011 • Interview: № 1-110221 - 2011.                                       | Organization | Publication | Recourse Center | Journal | News |

 Sergei Slonimsky.
 The Age of the Symphony in the
 XXI Century.
 “… to me it seems that the essence of the symphony
 is enclosed in the idea that it is a musical diary,
 without words, about our time and about our very
 dreadful era.”
 Composer and professor Sergei Slonimsky shares his opinion in an
 interview with the Saint Petersburg Center of Contemporary Music

                                         conception,     certainly,    remains
                                         unchanged. Every score must
Stanislava Evtyushina                    endure different interpretations. It
                                         wouldn’t be good if a composition
                                         were performed only in one way so
                                         that every orchestra or every
                                         conductor would play it exactly like
                                         the previous. If we speak about the
                                         unattainability of the classics, every   “Faust,” which strays far from                “Each of his new works is a
    On February 22nd in the Grand        conductor and every soloist              Goethe’s original. In essence, this
                                         interprets a composition in his own                                                discovery, a revelation. One is
Hall of the Saint-Petersburg State                                                film is like very free, contemporary
Philharmonic named after Dmitri          way. They interpret music from an                                                  amazed with the skills of an
                                                                                  variations. It might be more exact to
Shostakovich, a performance of           artistic standpoint. It is really        say metamorphosis of the original         artist who is so diverse in
Slonimsky’s Symphony No. 21              interesting that the performer and       Goethe text. I knew that an               intonation and style depending
“From Goethe’s Faust” will be            not the author bring variety to the      excellent composer and producer
                                                                                        ent                                 on a theme, epoch or chosen
presented. The premiere of the           music. I don’t like when a               with whom Sokurov has worked              character and at the same time
symphony took place in the               composition is only performed            with in the past would write the          remaining true to himself. He is
Mariinsky Theater on January 17,         once. In principle, a work needs to      music for the film. Knowing that, I
                                         endure and assume these different                                                  always recognizable by special
2010 during the festival “New                                                     simply wrote for myself a whole set
Horizons” under the baton of             interpretations, especially if it is                                               touches and by melodic,
                                                                                  of motives and before all of that
Valery Gergiev.                          being performed by a great               “Margarita’s Piece.” I didn’t write       harmonic      and      rhythmic
                                         conductor like Gergiev or Nikolai        out this piece completely at first but    constructions. One cannot but
    Sergei Mikhailovich, do new          Alekseev, who will be performing         wrote the first few strophes in the       hear     Slonimsky      in     a
ideas ever come to you while you         my symphony February 22nd in the         vocal part. I also wrote the theme        combination of an A major
are listening the performance of a       Philharmonic Hall.”                      for Faust, a kind of serial, twelve- -    sixth chord with it’s sung
particular work played by                                                         tone theme, and themes connected          minor triad; with an octave
different orchestras? If these new           Symphony No. 22. Sergei              with Mephistopheles and Walpurgis
ideas come to you, do you include        Mihailovich, we know that the            Night. I had a satisfying amount of       “split” into a tri-tone, minor
them in that particular work later       idea for this symphony came              musical sketches for the whole            second and perfect fourth (f2 –
or do you use them as an impulse         about after getting to know the          scenario and I wanted to develop
                                                                                     enario                                 b1 – h1 – f2). Do you not
for new compositions?                    scenario of the film “Faust” by          them into a symphony “Faust”              instantaneously recognize his
                                         director Aleksandr Sokurov. Tell         which would not be similar to the         whimsically          syncopated
“I would say that more often than        us please a little bit about the         “Faust Symphony” of Liszt, which  hich    rhythms      becoming       now
not, simply a few unimportant slips      symphony.                                naturally, is my favorite.”
of the pen become apparent in the                                                                                           awkward, now exquisite and
orchestral parts and in the full score                                            Sergei Slonimsky explains about his       graceful, now derisive and
and by the next performance, they        “I’ve been friends with Aleksandr        21st symphony; the first movement         lively, now harsh and even
are already gone. Referring to the       Sokurov for a long time. He              is “Faust.” The “Faust theme is a         threatening?”
original text, if the work is written    wonderfully presented my opera                                                     (T.S. Bershadskaya)
confidently enough and not in haste,                                              series of his thoughts, his
                                         “Antigona” in the St. Petersburg
then as a rule, the score remains                                                 philosophical reflex, his searches
                                         Kappela Hall. Unfortunately, this
practically without any changes.         was a one-act performance but very       for the meaning of life, youth,
Sometimes in a work there are some       well done in direction and musical                             fledged
                                                                                  happiness, for a full-fledged earthly
nuances, a few touch-ups, some           accompaniment. Aleksandr Sokurov         existence and the unattainability of
details or spots that need to be         showed me the scenario for his film      this dream because you can only
cleared up, but in general the

© Санкт-Петербургский центр современной академической музыки                                                                              www.remusik. or g
  reMusik Journal

Saint-Petersburg Contemporary Music Center

Monday, February 21, 2011 • Interview: № 1-110221 - 2011.                                     | Organization | Publication | Recourse Center | Journal | News |

live one life. These searches for a     something of Faust’s second side        today. From a different side comes
                                                                                                                omes    interest. The first movement of the
blissful moment, even only one, are     also appear especially in the finale    the opposite. Conservative and not      work is a complex, rhythmical and
fraught with a price, which states      of the symphony where the               very well educated critics, of the      timbre work on one note “C.” From
                                        techniques of sound extraction from
that once this moment is reached,                                               classical from, consider that the       one side, it is a parody on mini-
                                        the instruments, the musical theme
life will end. Faust then falls under   of flight, some sort of furious,        symphony must be composed of            music, maybe not a parody, a satire
the power of Mephistopheles. That       devilish galloping and some pulse-      four movements and that in general      on mini-music. Nowadays the
is the overall idea for the non-        raising, infernal rhythms become        it must by long and boring. This        fashion in music is to flaunt the fact
traditional, programmatic contents      very important. That is my three-       contradiction is met all the time in    that the work is based on one note,
for the first movement of the           part, program symphony, which one                     r
                                                                                our press. For me, from one side,       three notes, one chord and so on. So
symphony which presents to the          might even say follows a romantic       this bothers me because critics fall    here’s the limit – one note. From a
                                        plan and was calculated for the
listener       quite     complicated                                            upon my symphonies from two             different side, it turns out that on
                                        largest halls. The symphony is
philosophical ideas and writing         highly contrasting in its musical       sides from the other angle, it means    this one note it is possible to
using serial techniques. The second     language. The first movement is         that it is worth it to write. Surely    satisfactorily,      with     different
movement contrasts the first. This      very complicated, the second is very    when critics are not satisfied, the     variations in rhythm and in
is now the “Song of Margarita”          simple and the third movement           public is very interested and the       instrumental relationships, write
which she sings at the spinning-        combines        simplicity       and                                 ight
                                                                                performers and conductor fight for      even a complex variation, an
wheel the day before being thrown       complexion.”                            the work meaning that business          invention and almost, even a sonata
into prison. When she yearns for                                                                                        form. In the second movement there
Faust, she is prepared for anything        “. . . in a symphony, everything must develop over                           is an aria for contrabass, not a
even the sacrifice of her own life in                                                                                   romance, but like one stupid critic
order to be with him. Margarita is a
                                           a long span. Surely, the fundamental quality of a                            wrote, excuse me, in the journal
woman that suffers, a woman who            symphony is that it is not a small form and a                                “Musical Academy,” a symphonic
calls out for sympathy but she also        returning musical thought develops over a long                               aria with linear development with a
represents the symbol of the eternal                                                                                    very vocal, long melody. In general,
feminine in Goethe a symbol that           span, not speaking of quantity of time but of                                in a symphony, everything must
elevates the human spirit and takes        unbroken and original development.”                                          develop over a long span. Surely,
it eternity or nirvana.                                                                                                 the fundamental quality of a
                                                                                                                        symphony is that it is not a small
Sergei Slonimsky, during the                Sergei Mikhailovich, in the         goes on as usual. The business at       form and a returning musical
explanation of the third movement       interview         with        Asia      hand is that the symphony is the        thought develops over a long span,
“Walpurgis Night”, tells how the        Sollertinskaya (Klassica, FM,           freest from today, which can be         not speaking of quantity of time but
two works “Faust” by Goethe and         Jan. 27th 2010), you expressed the      expressed, practically, by any          of      unbroken       and     original
“The Master and Margarita” by           opinion that “The symphony is           structural principal. It might be a     development. The third movement
Mikhail Bulgakov have something         the most free form, which is an         form with large movements, which        is a triple fugue on three completely
in common.                              expression of the inner and outer       comment on each other and which         contrasting chromatic themes. At
                                        being of the whole human race. It       merged by a discontinuous single        the end and in the coda, the
        “In the third movement a        is definitely not a formal plan.”       development. It can be a very           invention on a single note “C”
devilish image of Faust is revealed,                                            laconic from for after the symphony     returns already in the look of a
                                        We are very interested to know,
and this image is not just the                                                  of Wagner it’s not possible to          festive conclusion. All of the string
roaming fires and infernal events of    what is the difference between the
                                        writing of a symphony today from        require a certain length from a         players stand up and at the end the
“Walpurgis Night.” This image in
Goethe’s Faust, without question,       the traditional form?                   sonata or a symphony. The length        audience see a sort of instrumental
influenced the great white hall of                                              might be calculated not only by         theater. It might be such. In reality
Satan in the novel “Master and               “Yes, It seems to me that          minutes but also by seconds.            it is a satirical-grotesque symphony.
Margarita” by Bulgakov. At the end      listeners,      conductors       and    Finally, it might be a cyclic form,     Incidentally, this genre can be found
of the finale of the symphony,                                                  which Beethoven changed during          in Shostakovich’s ninth symphony,
                                        performers,      concerning      this
appears the theme of Faust in full,                                             the writing of his sonatas. In that     but there it is expressed differently,
climactic account for in essence the    question, are simply a few
                                        generations ahead of the music                                     scale
                                                                                form there is no large-scale first      and in some other symphonies, or
central hero (hoping, searching and
committing crimes) is willfully and     critics, which are all the time         movement or sonata form and also        their separate movements, as a trick.
unwillingly, working under the          making it difficult for us to work      not always variations. There can be          The symphony can be especially
power of the devil and at the same      freely in the area of the symphony.     any kind of succession of form.         tragic as in say, my tenth symphony
time reaching for the light and the     From one side, some critics confirm         For example, the public and         “Circles of Hell” alla Dante, where
ideal human existence. The finale                                               especially the young listeners          nine movement or nine cycles and
                                        that the symphony is an outdated
can be call more or less tragic                                                 received my twentieth symphony,         two series unfold like a snake. In
because in this symphony there are      form. Surely, they are looking at the
                                        symphony as necessarily a four-part     which was performed in St.              the last two movements, the music
no pretenses to expound the
complete conception of Faust and        sonata Allegro, andante, scherzo,       Petersburg and then in Moscow at a      unfolds horizontally, in the last
more precisely the two sides of his     and finale cycle. By no means is        conference of composers, I can          cycle, vertically always aligning in
character. At the same time,            this the only type of symphony          allow myself to say, with great         chords. They fill almost all of the

© Санкт-Петербургский центр современной академической музыки                                                                            www.remusik. or g
  reMusik Journal

Saint-Petersburg Contemporary Music Center

Monday, February 21, 2011 • Interview: № 1-110221 - 2011.                                          | Organization | Publication | Recourse Center | Journal | News |

space as if already evil occupies         writing, then they don’t have to be       Myaskovsky, one of my favorite             Myaskovsky, Rachmaninoff, and
these paths. In these paths, torment      reduced to stylized neoclassical          and        respected        composers.     late Tchaikovsky. The form of the
is clenched in the space of sound.        forms of inventions and fugues in         Myaskovsky, in his creative work,          symphony wrote itself very
At the end, in general, the light goes    their original forms. Because of          was focused on the late romantics.         naturally, without any stylizations,
out in the hall and the symphony          that, it seems to me that the essence     This symphony was not long ago             because, I think, primarily about the
end in complete darkness. The             of the symphony concludes in that it      performed in the Hall of         l         essence of Tchaikovsky and about
symphony is dedicated the living          is a kind of diary of humanity            Tchaikovsky, in Moscow under the           the emotions of this music.
and dying in Russia, that is, to all of   without words about our time and          direction of Yuri Simonova with the        Although,      if     an     educated
us, to all people who go through the      about our very dreadful era. Such         Moscow                    Philharmonic.    musicologist carefully looks at the
circle of hell during life and because    eras of the division of people into       Myaskovsky was a teacher of many           score, he will see much that is
of that, maybe we could be freed          separate atoms when literally taken       composers.           His        musical    individual in the melodies, in the
from this hell in that light. We’ve       to the limit, are a struggle of           grandchildren        were     Schnittke,   use of modes, in the harmonies,
all experienced how badly people          everybody against the individual,         Denisov, Gubaidulina and many              which might sound borrowed but
live. In general, it is necessary to      the individual against everybody          others. I, myself, studied under           are in reality not traditional, that
say that for me the main theme in         and everybody against everybody.                           o
                                                                                    Shabalina who was a student of             appears in some fundamental
the symphony is the very bad,             If anything I am probably more of a       Myaskovsky. Without looking at             form . . . .
difficult and unsettled life of the       romantic in music than a neoclassic.      the success of his work, his fate was          In general, I really respect
everyday, decent, honest man. It          Regarding form, they can be really        a tragic one. In 1948, when he was         serious musicologists and many of
concerns his incompatibility with         varied. They can be polyphonic,           already around seventy years old, he       them write about my music, but I
life, his loneliness, and unrelenting     homophonic sonorous, melodic or           was rudely and indiscriminately            can’t stand snobby music critics.
                                                                                    deemed to be an anti-Soviet      Soviet    Because of that I have a very
                          “. . . .critics fall upon my symphonies                   composer. Three years after that he        strange fate that all of my works
                                                                                    was already dead. In the symphony          weather it be an opera, symphony,
                          from two sides from the other angle, it
                                                                                    number twenty-seven, looking away          romance or quartet seem to receive
                          means that it is worth it to write. Surely
                                                                                    from the fact that the music is            contemptuous       statements      and
                          when critics are not satisfied, the public is             lyrical and vocal, there is no             reviews about deficiencies. What
                          very interested and the performers and                    stylization after Myaskovsky or use        then, when after a few years, ten,
                          conductor fight for the work meaning                      of his themes. The symphony was            twenty, thirty, they will write
                          that business goes on as usual.”                          performed on a concert, where on           dissertations and defenses about my
                                                                                    the second half was the 3rd piano          music. There are about two
                                                                                    concerto         of      Rachmaninoff      examples of positive reviews and a
struggle with all sorts of                monophonic. In my works there is          (performed by Boris Berizovsky,            million examples of bad P.R..
temptations,      aggression,      and    also a monophonic symphony                not to be confused with the                Perhaps it is already beginning to
rudeness. It also refers to the eternal   number six. The symphony is               oligarch) and on the first half with       suit me. Because of that, from the
contradiction of everyday, idealistic     composed in one voice and almost          the Overture to the Opera Evrianta         latest symphonies, I dedicated
problems and life’s tyranny and you       everything is in the hypo-phrygian        by Weber. The public clamored for          number twenty-eighth (I have a
can say pressure from the powers          mode        and      in     different,    tickets to this concert with such a        kind of detailed dedication which I
that be. That is the theme; how           nontraditional modes. There the           varied program and completely              intend to print in the score.) to my
varyingly it is embodied in life, and     four-tone form of the eighth              filled the hall. Everybody came to         musical enemies, which constantly
how varied people are in life, and        symphony, which might be called a         hear the young pianist play                are helping the anti-muse, the
how varied are the expressive             symphony motet or a one-part              Rachmaninoff            but         they   author of boredom, laziness and
techniques and forms in music.            symphony. It’s an instrumental            enthusiastically received the 27th         angry reaction. I then turn all of this
Because of that, music must not be        concerto for strings with trombone        symphony because it is very vocal.         into creative energy. The more
an unpretentious miniature of a           and bells. In it the four-tone            With surprise, all the people present      prohibitions and abuse, the larger
short breath. It must be a canvas of      melodic turns play a large role like      heard that in a contemporary               the symphony will be, the more
a large breath in space with              in the tenth symphony or, for                                          elody,
                                                                                    symphony there can be melody, that         interested the public. I think hat
development of musical ideas. Any         example, in the thirteenth. The           there can be long, melodic                 kind of dedication has not yet been
musical idea, including melody, but       thirteenth symphony is called “Four       development and that it is also            incorporated into compositional
if they are melody then they must         Stasima from an Ancient Tragedy,”         important. This work is written in         practice. The goal of these people is
be in a modal relationship, which is      but the tragedy is not noted. Its parts                        moderato,
                                                                                    the form: sonata-moderato, scherzo,        quite simple. They want scare the
original and not an unoriginal            are Stasimas, that is, choral speech                       decapo,
                                                                                    even scherzo-decapo, instrumental          theater into not presenting the
following must not be taken from          and expressive commentary in an           aria, adagio, and finale. The tragic       opera. They want to insult and scare
the arsenal of romanticism or             instrumental form.                                              sonata
                                                                                    finale is in a rondo-sonata form with      the conductor so that he won’t
Prokofiev. If they are harmonies,              The twenty-seventh symphony                gic
                                                                                    a tragic coda. In the given example        perform the symphony of the given
then they must be individual              is from the later symphonies and is       is a wonder plan for a program;            author. It means that I really bother
outlines. Figuratively speaking of        dedicated to the memory of the            dedication and orientation to the          somebody. There are conductors
harmonies, if there is polyphonic         noble       Nikolai      Yakovlevich      type of symphony of the time of            that are not scared. In this group

© Санкт-Петербургский центр современной академической музыки                                                                                  www.remusik. or g
  reMusik Journal

Saint-Petersburg Contemporary Music Center

Monday, February 21, 2011 • Interview: № 1-110221 - 2011.                                        | Organization | Publication | Recourse Center | Journal | News |

belongs Yuri Simonov, whom I                                                                                                 shows a reaction to the serialism
consider a great conductor. I             “It is necessary to strive for an ancient breath,                                  and       ultra-chromaticism       of
followed his work with great              which can be found in ancient Greece and in                                        Schoenberg. Glass on the other
admiration. He led six rehearsals of                                                                                         hand shows a reaction to the post-
                                          ancient, eastern music. That is the only way
a mixed program and gave out                                                                                                 dodecaphony        composers      for
music, ninety percent of which was        achieve a new quality in the 21st century. It’s the                                example Boulez, Stockhausen,
unknown, which could have been            new Renaissance.”                                                                  Ligeti and my favorite Luigi Nono
played out somehow, having                                                                                                   who was a wonderful composer.
recalled that which was written. He                                                                                          This is reaction to the side of
drew out all of his exclusive,           Prigozhin who, in my opinion, is on      Boulez who to this day lives and           conscious primitivism and closeness
conductor’s shades and nuances.          the same level with Denisov,             works. There is the work of                to mass culture. We also have those
That is what can make the                Schnittke and Gubaidulina. Simply        Messiaen with his completely               types of composers. I don’t have
difference in every performance;         St. Petersburg musicologist (I mean      original      modes,       arithmetic      contact with them, although one or
individuality, exclusive shades and      here, more                               language, original           rhythms       another of them has their market
nuances and, of course, agreement        often than not, historians of Russian    connected to the east and with             and agents for advertising and sales.
with the author. These were really       music), poorly work and poorly           Indian music. There are very many          This we all know well but that type
joyous days for me.                      spread propaganda of their own           different schools and trends.              of music does not develop the
                                         achievements      so      that    even   Finally, there is a line, in the           human essence does not answer the
                                         Balakirev, Glazunov and Lyadov           opinion of Slonimsky, of which             task of art and that means it does
    What are the differences that        are not studied to the degree in         little is known in our music. This is      not give the possibility to educate
you see between the St.                  which Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff,         the line of Slavic folklore for            the soul of a human. That is why we
Petersburg school of composition         Metner and evern Myaskovsky are          example Boguslav Martin and Karol          are speaking about a large, varied
and the western school, in               studied.      With      contemporary     Szymanowski.                               school like the Russian, not only St.
particular, the differences from         composers, the same thing happens.                                                  Petersburg, and western. Between
the period of the second half of         If a person from Moscow justifiably           “I really love the pieces of          the European and American schools
the 20th century until the present?      nurtures, remembers and cherishes        Martin, his cantata “Bouquet of            there are a few differences. The
                                         not only Gubaidulina, Schnittke and      Flowers” and Szymanovsky’s “12             Americans, it is true, have mini-
     “This is a very logical question.   Denisov (Gubaidulina is actually         Large Songs,” the oratorio “Sabat          compositions,      which     invaded
It is simply for me personal like for    living, a great friend and a             Mater” and others. But surely this is      Germany. I think that in all of these
a      practical     musician,     the   wonderful composer), but also            quoted on the market of avande             trends it is possible to find many
understanding of a school changes        Sildelnikov and Karetnikov who is                     ,
                                                                                  garde work, in festivals. This music       rational and useful elements. For
with      the    understanding      of   older, then here it is forgotten. This   is absolutely intelligible for the         example you can find the widening
individuality. Because of that, I        is very bad because here there is the    widest group of listeners and at the       of the study of instruments. I
don’t undertake to formulate what is     school of Sherbachev, which carries      same time not reduced to the               consider that in many trends the
in the parts of the St. Petersburg       a freer character from the side of       primitive of Orfa or Phillip Glass.        sphere of instrument study, simply
school of composition, if because,       composition of a cycle and of            All of this is very interesting to me,     many sound-extractions in every
for one reason, the Shostakovich         musical language, which is not           the melodies, harmonies, clarity, the      instrument became the same very
school is the official, recognized       reduced to only one mode, to the                           lity
                                                                                  natural originality and at the same        landmark or defining moment like it
school. I think in the forties, when     open genius of Shostakovich or to                         primitive
                                                                                  time the non-primitive quality, the        became during the time of Debussy,
this school conversely pursued, that     only one form of the deployment of       sense of folklore which comes form         Scriabin, and Ravel. In the
it was new for that time. After fifty    themes.”                                 any country including Russia. I            beginning of the 20th century was
or sixty years these ideas became                                                 consider that Russian national             the sphere of harmony or the sphere
something          elemental        of       Sergei Mikhailovich speaks           melody is not reduced to the school        of chords. That which the
conservatism and many composers          regarding western music, about that      of Sviridov because he wrote that          impressionists opened up has not
simply imitate the genius of             he can’t say that there exists only      the diatonic is seven sounds,              been written off. Everything is
Shostakovich. That’s one thing.          one school. He goes through               onality
                                                                                  tonality must be chiefly in the minor      accounted for; everything went in
From a different side, there is, we      examples of the different school         modes and chiefly in the natural           the general baggage. They created
will say the school of Shervachova       like the sonorous with its               mode. Thank God that this is his           wonderful works. Luigi Nono,
a very great St. Petersburg              paradoxical, philosophical core. He      individual opinion. It could be            Ligeti with his “Requiem,” Boulez,
composer who was unjustly                talks about his admiration for Cage      different      like    with     indirect   some composers of sonorous
forgotten. He gave meaning to            in America and the Minimalists,          chromaticism, with a strong                composition:      Edgard     Varese,
individual freedom of every              which also study different African       closeness to old village songs with        Crumb and Cage created wonderful
individual symphonic composer and        rhythms, the Gamalan and others. In      its very complex, branched rhythm.         works in the same way. They are all
every individual symphony. From          line with this school, there are         In this trend, I really like the cantata   greatly varied. For me, the most
his students you can find the            others like the Complex-City with        “Bouquet of Flowers” by Martin.            important thing is individuality. All
wonderful composer-inovator, who         Norman Hall, Bervist, and others.        Orff is not so close to me because         of the composers I have listed have
is recently deceased,          Lucian    There is the post-serial school of       work is really reactionary. He             individuality and are not just

© Санкт-Петербургский центр современной академической музыки                                                                               www.remusik. or g
  reMusik Journal

Saint-Petersburg Contemporary Music Center

Monday, February 21, 2011 • Interview: № 1-110221 - 2011.                                  | Organization | Publication | Recourse Center | Journal | News |

presenters of a certain school. This     white, black and white, and black
can also be said about Messiaen and      notes, like long values, half length           Sergei       Mikhailovich        Slonimsky (Russian: Сергей
about Lutoslavsky who I really like.     values, short values, fast values, but   Михайлович Слонимский) is              a Russian and Soviet
Lutoslavsky is one of the great          not twice as short as the long. To       composer, pianist and musicologist.
composers who found in the rough         physicist this type of thing is clear.
                                                                                          He was born in 1932 in Leningrad, studied composition
stream of contemporary schools and       In a kindergarten it’s a bit early to    under Shebalin, Evlakhov, polyphony – under Nicolai Uspensky,
currents his own mode, his own           talk about the “Theory of                the author of the reading book “Samples of Ancient Russian Vocal
frigate, which went confidently with     Relativity” and quantum mechanics.       Art”, piano – under Artobolevskaya, Savshinsky, Nilsen.
an individual style having mighty        Exactly because of this, I consider
influence on many. Of course,            that any sort of dogma of method in      Sergei Slonimsky is a professor at the St. Petersburg state
                                                                                  conservatory named after Rimsky-Korsakov and Samara
conversations about the end of           our time, even in the teaching of
                                                                                  Pedagogical University, Winner of the Glinca state Prize and of the
compositional creativity and the end     composition        is       extremely    St. Petersburg Government Prize, Academician of the Russian
of a genre is just craftiness. I don’t   dangerous. You need to individually      Academy of Education, the People’s Artist of Russia.
know why people, who continue to         find your way in creativity and in
compose, what to deny other the          pedagogical      work.     Everything           The composer’s father was a Russian writer and an active
same right. I am against any sort of     depends on the plan of composition       member of the literary circle “The Serapion Brothers” – Mikhail
denial. The point of a school is to      and the individuality of the             Slonimsky (1897-1972); his uncle Nicolai Slonimsky (1894-1995)
                                                                                  was a famous American musical expert, the author of fundamental
stop banning melody, to stop             student.”
                                                                                  musical encyclopedias; his father’s cousin Anthony Slonimsky
banning harmony, to stop banning                                                  (1895-1976) was a famous Polish poet and political dissident.
polyphony, to         stop banning       Thank you, Sergei Mikhailovich           Sergey Slonimsky is the author of such operas as “Virinea” (1967),
sonorousness, to stop banning            for the interview.                       “The master and Margarita” (1972), “Mary Stuart” (1980),
traditional forms (from periods to                                                “Hamlet” (1990), “Tsar Ixion” (1993), “Ioann the Terrible’s
sonata form), to stop banning free       Thank you.                               vision” (1995); of ten symphonies (The Tenth – “Circles of Hell”
forms (nontraditional – the limits of                                             after Dante – recorded on CD in Russia), the ballet “Icarus”.
wideness),      to    stop    banning
                                                                                          “Virinea” was staged in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Samara,
symphonic works, to stop banning                                                  Perm; his opera “The Master and Margarita (chronologically the
vocal and so on and so on. It is                                                  first adaptation for stage of Bulgakov’s novel) had been prohibited
necessary to strive for an ancient                                                for stage during seventeen years after the performance of the first
breath, which can be found in                                                     act in the Leningrad House of Composers conducted by Gennady
ancient Greece and in ancient,                                                    Rozhdestvensky. “Mary Stuart” was staged in Samara, St.
                                                                                  Petersburg, Leipzig, Olomouts, Alma-Ata. Dramma per musica
eastern music. That is the only way
                                                                                  “Hamlet” is on in Samara and Krasnoyarsk. The ballet “Icarus”
achieve a new quality in the 21st                                                 was shown in Bolshoi Theatre, on the stage of the Kremlin Palace
century. It’s the new Renaissance. I                                              of Congress (choreographer and performer – Vladimir Vassiliev),
see that and because of that musical                                              in the Mariimsky Theatre of St. Petersburg (choreographer Igor
speech, which is in many depends                                                  Belsky) and in Brno (choreographer Daniel Visner).
on the idea and to whom it is
written. If you are applying yourself                                                     Sergei Slonimsky the author of more than a hundred
                                                                                                                 Concerto-Buffo (performed several
                                                                                  compositions, among them – Concerto
to a kindergarten audience then it’s
                                                                                  times in the USA and England conducted by Yuri Temirkanov),
not worth it to write a piece of                                                  Organ, Violin, Oboe, Balalaika, Electric Guitar Concerts, recently
sonorous music in the spirit of my                                                finished Piano Concert (“Jewish Rhapsody”), Cello Concert, 24
quartet “Antiphony.” If you’re                                                    preludes and fuges, which are played in Russia and abroad and are
writing for an audience of scientist                                              in the pedagogical and concert repertoire of pianists.
who       can      perceive     higher
mathematics and atomic physics                                                           Theatre and symphony opuses of the composer were
                                                                                  perfomed by such famous conductors as Temirkanov, Gergiev,
then you don’t need to give them
                                                                                  Kondrashin, Yansons, Grikurov, Rozhdestvensky, Chernushenko,
some children’s pieces. You need to                                               Sinaisky, Simonov, Ermler, Chistyakov, Talmi, Krents, Class,
show them an “Antiphony,” with its                                                Sondetskis, Dalgat, Nesterov, Provatorov, Kovalenko, Shcherbakov
quantum rhythms because that type                                                 and many others.
of work is closer to physics. The
closeness to physics refers to the
rhythmic units not being measurable
(one of my little discoveries or
maybe not.) I wouldn’t say that they                                                  More about Sergei Slonimsky:
are uncontrollable but they are                                                                     /sergeislonimsky
controlled within improvisational
deviations of the finest performers.
They are written correspondingly by

© Санкт-Петербургский центр современной академической музыки                                                                         www.remusik. or g

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Description: Sergei Slonimsky. The Age of the Symphony in the XXI Century. “… to me it seems that the essence of the symphony is enclosed in the idea that it is a musical diary, without words, about our time and about our very dreadful era.” Composer and professor Sergei Slonimsky shares his opinion in an interview with the Saint Petersburg Center of Contemporary Music “”