Author Topic: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954)  (Read 22485 times)

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Offline schnittkease

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Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954)
« on: March 21, 2018, 07:50:02 PM »
A little history, somewhat paraphrased from Larry Sitsky's Music of the Repressed Russian Avant-garde, 1900-1929:

Sergei Vladimirovich Protopopov was born in Moscow on March 21, 1893 and died in Moscow on December 14, 1954. He first studied at Moscow University in the faculty of medicine, and then music with the noted Russian theorist B. L. Yavorsky at the Kiev Conservatoire (from where he graduated in 1921). Protopopov earned his living as a conductor as well as a faculty member at the Moscow Conservatoire. In his composition and teaching he was an enthusiastic advocate of Yavorsky's theories of modal rhythm, and his three large-scale piano sonatas make a point of indicating the modal movement and parent tritones at the head of each section.


Although Yavorsky presented his Structure of Musical Speech in 1908, it was not until 1931 that Protopopov, working under the guidance of his teacher, set forth his very thorough exposition of Yavorsky's ideas. The basis of the theory is the universal need of the tritone to resolve, due to its unstable nature. The theory is of course based on tonal precepts and does not admit the possible existence of the unresolved tritone within a harmonic scheme. However, Protopopov delved into the possibilities of microtones in his book, involving systems of 18-, 24-, and 26-step scales, including notation, and eventually pursuing the idea as far as 72 steps in the octave. It is not known whether Protopopov the composer, rather than the theorist, actually attempted to put this idea into practice. Like Joseph Schillinger, Protopopov, in a less systematic way, suggested that the principles of modal rhythm could be applied to other arts. Ironically, Protopopov's work came too late. Anatoly Lunacharsky presided over a conference on the Theory of Modal Rhythm in 1930, and the theory was given support. Only a year later, at yet another conference, and in the prevailing climate, the theory was found to be insufficiently Marxist. The two conferences coincided with the appearance of the two-volume Protopopov work explaining Yavorsky's hypothesis from 1908. After this, the theory (and with it Protopopov's book and his career as a composer) fell into obscurity.

I really enjoy the piano sonatas. Any other admirers?

Offline Draško

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Re: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954)
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2018, 05:03:16 AM »
I only have the 2nd Sonata and really like it, torrential. Schleiermacher on HatHut. The theoretical stuff flies way over my head, I'm afraid. Would love to hear more. What is there? 

Offline Cato

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Re: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954)
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2018, 05:15:45 PM »
I only have the 2nd Sonata and really like it, torrential. Schleiermacher on HatHut. The theoretical stuff flies way over my head, I'm afraid. Would love to hear more. What is there?

Not much!  Protopopov seemed to have stopped composing after about 15 works, because of Socialist Realism: the other two sonatas are available on YouTube:


<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/_jevFEltpUA" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/_jevFEltpUA</a>


<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/UxhRVzADTig&amp;t=2s" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/UxhRVzADTig&amp;t=2s</a>
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Offline lescamil

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Re: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954)
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2018, 05:25:04 PM »
I really enjoy the piano sonatas. Any other admirers?

I really enjoy them as well! Shame no one in the Portland area programs them, or much else that's interesting similar to these...
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Offline Cato

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Re: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954): A Mystery!
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2019, 04:39:29 AM »
Occasionally I check Bing and Google for the latest on obscure composers, e.g. Protopopov!

Today I was astounded to find a reference to a performance in Germany of a Prelude, No. 5 of an Opus 32!!!

Where and when did this appear, and where are all the other works?  The reference books list c. 12 works and imply that Protopopov stopped composing because of censorship from the Communists.

In the video of the performance is a German translation of a part of a Pushkin poem, and we also read that Protopopov was a prisoner of the Communists under Stalin for 2 years (1934-1936).

Here is an English translation of the poem:

In  far Siberia’s deepest soil,
Preserve your proud, unflagging patience;
They won’t be lost—your bitter toil,
And striving, lofty meditations.

The faithful sister to all woe,
Hope, in your subterranean houses,
Courage and gaiety soon arouses;
The hoped-for time will come, e’en so:


Apparently the Germans have discovered much more about Protopopov than is available right now in English!

The video comes via Vimeo:

https://vimeo.com/318010770
« Last Edit: July 29, 2019, 03:44:49 AM by Cato »
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Offline Cato

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Re: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954) Opus 32
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2019, 04:52:58 AM »
I found this on YouTube and placed there last year, courtesy of "Emil," who says that the Opus 32 is "unpublished."  Read the comments,  if you can - some are in Korean!

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/qcuiVfp7uWw" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/qcuiVfp7uWw</a>
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Offline schnittkease

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Re: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954)
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2019, 10:00:56 AM »
Yes, this was a big surprise for me too, considering I put together the original IMSLP worklist before Emil greatly expanded it. I wasn't aware of Anton Rovner's research on the composer, but then again I don't speak Russian.

Offline Cato

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Re: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954)
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2019, 08:11:26 AM »
Trying "Bing" to see if I could receive different websites for Protopopov, I found a reference to some more works:  an unnamed opera, Suite of 6 Folk Pieces for Orch. (1945), Poem for Cello and Piano (1935), 3 Poems for Cello and Piano (1938), and 3 Preludes (1938). 

So it would seem that in an archive somewhere in Russia one could probably find these works.  It would be interesting to hear whether or not he buckled under to the dictates of "Socialist Realism."
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Offline schnittkease

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Re: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954)
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2019, 10:12:02 AM »
There are 71 works (or editions of works) listed in WorldCat.

Of the previously unbeknownst post-Op. 11 output, I could only find:

⁠—Three Belarusian Folksongs, Op. 17 (Moscow: Muzgiz, 1940)⁠—held at the Royal Danish Library.
⁠—"U Archangel'skogo goroda, u korabel'nogo pristanišča : sbornik starin" (can't decipher what this is on the worklist)—held at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.
what seems to be a collection of Russian folksong arrangements—held at the University of Basel.

Offline Cato

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Re: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954) and SCRIABIN'S Prefatory Action!
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2019, 01:22:17 PM »
There are 71 works (or editions of works) listed in WorldCat.

Of the previously unbeknownst post-Op. 11 output, I could only find:

⁠—Three Belarusian Folksongs, Op. 17 (Moscow: Muzgiz, 1940)⁠—held at the Royal Danish Library.
⁠—"U Archangel'skogo goroda, u korabel'nogo pristanišča : sbornik starin" (can't decipher what this is on the worklist)—held at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.
what seems to be a collection of Russian folksong arrangements—held at the University of Basel.

Many thanks for your efforts: many of the 70+ listings are for works already known (e.g. the Piano Sonatas) or do not refer to this Protopopov, but rather to Vladimir Protopopov, who seems to have edited works by Glinka.

However, there was this highly intriguing reference:

Quote

Predvaritelʹnoe deĭstvo : fantazii︠a︡ dli︠a︡ chtet︠s︡a, khora i dvukh fortepiano =

Prefatory action : fantasy for narrator, chorus and two pianos

Author:    Aleksandr Nikolayevich Scriabin; Sergeĭ Vladimirovich Protopopov; Anton Rovner

Publisher:    Sankt-Peterburg : Kompozitor, 2018.


So this seems to imply that Protopopov arranged (and completed?!) Scriabin's last work, Prefatory Action for 2 pianos?  Did Alexander Nemtin, who spent 30+ years on an orchestral completion/realization know of this work?

Anton Rovner is a musicologist who seems to be very interested in Sergei Protopopov:

http://www.musica-ukrainica.odessa.ua/a-rovner-protopopov.html
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Offline relm1

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Re: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954)
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2019, 03:14:24 PM »
There are 71 works (or editions of works) listed in WorldCat.

Of the previously unbeknownst post-Op. 11 output, I could only find:

⁠—Three Belarusian Folksongs, Op. 17 (Moscow: Muzgiz, 1940)⁠—held at the Royal Danish Library.
⁠—"U Archangel'skogo goroda, u korabel'nogo pristanišča : sbornik starin" (can't decipher what this is on the worklist)—held at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.
what seems to be a collection of Russian folksong arrangements—held at the University of Basel.

Don't put too much weight on databases like this.  Someone has to register the works to this database and if a fan of Protopopov doesn't know about "worldcat", it won't be listed.  There are many different databases of this sort and none are authoritative. 

Offline schnittkease

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Re: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954)
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2019, 06:50:17 PM »
Don't put too much weight on databases like this.  Someone has to register the works to this database and if a fan of Protopopov doesn't know about "worldcat", it won't be listed.  There are many different databases of this sort and none are authoritative.

Yes, of course. I thought that was a given (it's not like I'm writing a dissertation here!).

Offline schnittkease

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Re: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954) and SCRIABIN'S Prefatory Action!
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2019, 06:55:31 PM »
So this seems to imply that Protopopov arranged (and completed?!) Scriabin's last work, Prefatory Action for 2 pianos?  Did Alexander Nemtin, who spent 30+ years on an orchestral completion/realization know of this work?

The 2018 edition at WorldCat seems to have been prepared for publication by Rovner. The "notes" section reads:

Quote
With an introduction in Russian and English. Scriabin left this work in fragmentary form at the time of his death. Protopopov began working on finishing the music in 1945. The music consists of an introduction and four main movements, all sung in Russian.

I'll put in an inter-library loan ASAP. (and share some pictures, though copyright laws may apply...)
« Last Edit: August 01, 2019, 06:58:18 PM by schnittkease »

Offline Cato

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Re: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954) and SCRIABIN'S Prefatory Action!
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2019, 03:12:38 AM »
The 2018 edition at WorldCat seems to have been prepared for publication by Rovner. The "notes" section reads:

I'll put in an inter-library loan ASAP. (and share some pictures, though copyright laws may apply...)

Thanks!  I did not see that section. 

The last time I tried an inter-library loan here it cost me $25.00.
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Offline Cato

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Re: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954): A Mystery!
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2019, 08:19:27 AM »
Occasionally I check Bing and Google for the latest on obscure composers, e.g. Protopopov!

Today I was astounded to find a reference to a performance in Germany of a Prelude, No. 5 of an Opus 32!!!

Where and when did this appear, and where are all the other works?  The reference books list c. 12 works and imply that Protopopov stopped composing because of censorship from the Communists.

In the video of the performance is a German translation of a part of a Pushkin poem, and we also read that Protopopov was a prisoner of the Communists under Stalin for 2 years (1934-1936).

Here is an English translation of the poem:

In  far Siberia’s deepest soil,
Preserve your proud, unflagging patience;
They won’t be lost—your bitter toil,
And striving, lofty meditations.

The faithful sister to all woe,
Hope, in your subterranean houses,
Courage and gaiety soon arouses;
The hoped-for time will come, e’en so:


Apparently the Germans have discovered much more about Protopopov than is available right now in English!

The video comes via Vimeo:

https://vimeo.com/318010770


I tracked down the young pianist Valere Burnon seen and heard above and received a response from him in German to my question about the score of the Preludes: here is my translation.

Quote


My piano teacher is the one who gave me the Preludes, Opus 32, and I do not know exactly where or when she obtained them.   Tomorrow in fact I am flying to Moscow to look at Protopopov's original manuscript and transcribe the music for a real score.  Normally I would not be playing such works,* but I must say that Protopopov's music interests me greatly.   In any case in October I will record the entire set of Preludes for my first CD.


* I assume he means that as part of his further instruction Protopopov would not be included.

I promised to buy his CD!   0:)    8)

"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Offline schnittkease

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Re: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954): A Mystery!
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2019, 08:25:05 PM »
I promised to buy his CD!   0:)    8)

I second that promise!

Offline schnittkease

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Re: Sergei Protopopov (1893-1954)
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2019, 09:06:56 AM »
Any news on Mr. Burnon's CD?  Has it been released?