Author Topic: Khrennikov's Kremlin  (Read 5333 times)

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Offline Androcles

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Re: Khrennikov's Kremlin
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2016, 11:34:22 AM »
Wrt Khrennikov's claim that no composers were purged, Zaderatsky was sent to Magadan in 1937 and stayed for three years where he wrote his most important piece, the 24 Prelides and Fugues with a borrowed pencil, Mossolov was also sent to the gulag, and Weinberg was imprisoned and would almost certainly have been executed if Stalin had not died when he did. Roslavets was destroyed and broken by masses of disgusting propaganda (including by Khrennikov) aimed at him and would almost certainly have been executed if he had not been paralysed by a stroke.

I remember reading somewhere that there was also a bloody purge of students at Moscow Conservatoire in 1937, which led to some promising composing talents being shot.

Basically, Khrennikov's claim is nonsense, and if composers fared better than some others (eg army officers) in the Stalin years, it wasn't because of anything he did. The only thing he has to his credit in my eyes is permitting the first performance of Schnittke's 1st Symphony in Nizhny Novgorod in 1973, if I remember correctly. He clearly wasn't bothered by all the nasty stuff he had done and lived way into his nineties.

His music, as far as I can tell is unfailingly banale. There is a lot of Soviet music I would listen to in preference - all of Miaskovsky, Weinberg, Roslavets, Mossolov, Zaderatsky, Popov, Shebalin, Golubev, Lyatoshinsky, Kabalevsky, Khachaturian and many others.... and thats without mentioning P and S.

So to sum up he was an abhorrent liar with no conscience who wrote bad music. Deserves to be forgotten.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 11:37:44 AM by Androcles »
And, moreover, it is art in its most general and comprehensive form that is here discussed, for the dialogue embraces everything connected with it, from its greatest object, the state, to its least, the embellishment of sensuous existence.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Khrennikov's Kremlin
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2016, 12:11:12 PM »
Wrt Khrennikov's claim that no composers were purged, Zaderatsky was sent to Magadan in 1937 and stayed for three years where he wrote his most important piece, the 24 Prelides and Fugues with a borrowed pencil, Mossolov was also sent to the gulag, and Weinberg was imprisoned and would almost certainly have been executed if Stalin had not died when he did. Roslavets was destroyed and broken by masses of disgusting propaganda (including by Khrennikov) aimed at him and would almost certainly have been executed if he had not been paralysed by a stroke.

I remember reading somewhere that there was also a bloody purge of students at Moscow Conservatoire in 1937, which led to some promising composing talents being shot.

Basically, Khrennikov's claim is nonsense, and if composers fared better than some others (eg army officers) in the Stalin years, it wasn't because of anything he did. The only thing he has to his credit in my eyes is permitting the first performance of Schnittke's 1st Symphony in Nizhny Novgorod in 1973, if I remember correctly. He clearly wasn't bothered by all the nasty stuff he had done and lived way into his nineties.

His music, as far as I can tell is unfailingly banale. There is a lot of Soviet music I would listen to in preference - all of Miaskovsky, Weinberg, Roslavets, Mossolov, Zaderatsky, Popov, Shebalin, Golubev, Lyatoshinsky, Kabalevsky, Khachaturian and many others.... and thats without mentioning P and S.

So to sum up he was an abhorrent liar with no conscience who wrote bad music. Deserves to be forgotten.
Interesting post and you may well be right. I'm curious why he wasn't replaced after the collapse of the USSR. I agree that all those composers you mention are more deserving of our attention although I'm not especially familiar with Zaderatsky and Golubev and don't know much Roslavets either. Shebalin and Popov are especially underrated as is Salmanov. Interesting point about Schnittke's First Symphony.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Androcles

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Re: Khrennikov's Kremlin
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2016, 01:42:27 PM »
Interesting post and you may well be right. I'm curious why he wasn't replaced after the collapse of the USSR. I agree that all those composers you mention are more deserving of our attention although I'm not especially familiar with Zaderatsky and Golubev and don't know much Roslavets either. Shebalin and Popov are especially underrated as is Salmanov. Interesting point about Schnittke's First Symphony.

Apologies for being a bit forceful in my first post.  Rant over. Golubev wrote some perfectly respectable symphonies in the Miaskovsky - Shebalin kind of mould. Zaderatsky is very interesting an well worth the acquaintance, particularly if you like piano music. The 24 Preludes and Fugues from his third imprisonment (he had a hellish life in the Soviet Union, due to having been music tutor to the son of the Tsar) have just been released on disc, played by Jascha Nemtsov. They predate similar works by Hindemith and Shostakovich, and bear comparison with them. There are 5 piano sonatas, the second is available on disc. He has an unplayed, unrecorded Symphony and Violin Concerto to his name.

And, moreover, it is art in its most general and comprehensive form that is here discussed, for the dialogue embraces everything connected with it, from its greatest object, the state, to its least, the embellishment of sensuous existence.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Khrennikov's Kremlin
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2016, 09:25:18 PM »
Apologies for being a bit forceful in my first post.  Rant over. Golubev wrote some perfectly respectable symphonies in the Miaskovsky - Shebalin kind of mould. Zaderatsky is very interesting an well worth the acquaintance, particularly if you like piano music. The 24 Preludes and Fugues from his third imprisonment (he had a hellish life in the Soviet Union, due to having been music tutor to the son of the Tsar) have just been released on disc, played by Jascha Nemtsov. They predate similar works by Hindemith and Shostakovich, and bear comparison with them. There are 5 piano sonatas, the second is available on disc. He has an unplayed, unrecorded Symphony and Violin Concerto to his name.
Thanks very much - will look out for them. Miaskovsky, as revealed by my GMG avatar is one of my very favourite composers - I listened to Symphony 6 (Polyansky) yesterday with much pleasure and find it very moving, especially the choral conclusion.. Now, he was a man of great integrity. I'll give Khrenninkov's Second Symphony a listen from time to time as I do enjoy it and find the end of the slow movement rather moving.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 09:27:22 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

cilgwyn

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Re: Khrennikov's Kremlin
« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2016, 02:05:37 AM »
A different opinion:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2006/Apr06/KHRENNIKOV_KAP008.htm

and here:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2006/Apr06/KHRENNIKOV_KAP008.htm

Thank you for you very interesting posts,Androcles (and vandermolen). I think he was quite a talented composer,in his own way. Everyone has composers they like,dislike or don't think much of. Khrennikov is too much of a musical magpie to be regarded as a major composer;but then lots of other second league,third league (whatever you want to call them) composers are! The difference with Khrennikov is in his political activities and the stance he took. I can't think of another composer where any attempt to discuss his music always ends in a furious rant or a locked thread! I like his Second and third symphonies and his Piano concertos; putting on Shostakovich and Prokofiev rather brutally exposes their failings,in more ways than one! I think the main problem I have with Khrennikov's music is not so much that it is derivative in any way,but that,unlike say Kabalevsky,he doesn't assimilate his influences as succesfully. Whatever you say about Kabalevsky;at his best,however obvious his influences are,he does have an identifiable sound world,that I can relate to his name. Khrennikov tends to wear his influences like a veneer;as if they are grafted on. One stretch of music seems to sound like Shostakovich,the next Prokofiev. It sometimes feels like a game of spot the influence. Yet,he has a nice gift for spicy harmony and ear tickling,if not truly memorable,tunes that I do find appealing. Also,as in the third symphony,and parts of the Piano concertos,a certain Soviet kitsch,which I do rather like. Of course,he composed allot of film scores,so this is hardly surprising. The Piano concertos are a case in point. A mish-mash of influences;but,imho,all the more enjoyable for that. One things for sure. If Khrennikov hadn't taken the political stance he did;he would just be another minor composer on these boards (and others like this one). There probably wouldn't be many posts;but they wouldn't end in 'rants' or locked threads;as happened to the Tikhon Khrennikov thread at the Art Music Forum! As you say;there are obviously allot of far more interesting,and eminently worthwhile,composers from the soviet era. Khrennikov's political activities have the unfortunate effect of granting him a little more attention than he deserves. At the same time,in terms of any purely musical merit his music might,arguably,possess;it surely is the kiss of death! (outside Russia,anyway!).

Now to put on some Shostakovich on,eh?!! ;D

Offline Androcles

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Re: Khrennikov's Kremlin
« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2016, 12:03:55 PM »
Thanks very much - will look out for them. Miaskovsky, as revealed by my GMG avatar is one of my very favourite composers - I listened to Symphony 6 (Polyansky) yesterday with much pleasure and find it very moving, especially the choral conclusion.. Now, he was a man of great integrity. I'll give Khrenninkov's Second Symphony a listen from time to time as I do enjoy it and find the end of the slow movement rather moving.

Yes - I like Miaskovsky too. He has the reputation of an extreme musical conservative, but I'm not convinced its true. Not long ago I worked through the Svetlanov set of the 27 Symphonies several times to get a picture of them. A lot of them have great depth. I particularly liked Symphonies 5, 6, 7, 10, 13, 21, 25 and 27. I thought they could probably stand alongside more famous offerings by Prokofiev and Shostakovich, given the chance. What is your favourite recording of Symphony No. 6? I have Svetlanov and Jarvi. I heard Kondrashin online. I like Svetlanov in this piece, but its a shame about the lack of a choir....Maybe I should find a Miaskovsky thread... ?
And, moreover, it is art in its most general and comprehensive form that is here discussed, for the dialogue embraces everything connected with it, from its greatest object, the state, to its least, the embellishment of sensuous existence.

Offline Androcles

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Re: Khrennikov's Kremlin
« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2016, 12:11:57 PM »
A different opinion:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2006/Apr06/KHRENNIKOV_KAP008.htm

and here:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2006/Apr06/KHRENNIKOV_KAP008.htm

Thank you for you very interesting posts,Androcles (and vandermolen). I think he was quite a talented composer,in his own way. Everyone has composers they like,dislike or don't think much of. Khrennikov is too much of a musical magpie to be regarded as a major composer;but then lots of other second league,third league (whatever you want to call them) composers are! The difference with Khrennikov is in his political activities and the stance he took. I can't think of another composer where any attempt to discuss his music always ends in a furious rant or a locked thread! I like his Second and third symphonies and his Piano concertos; putting on Shostakovich and Prokofiev rather brutally exposes their failings,in more ways than one! I think the main problem I have with Khrennikov's music is not so much that it is derivative in any way,but that,unlike say Kabalevsky,he doesn't assimilate his influences as succesfully. Whatever you say about Kabalevsky;at his best,however obvious his influences are,he does have an identifiable sound world,that I can relate to his name. Khrennikov tends to wear his influences like a veneer;as if they are grafted on. One stretch of music seems to sound like Shostakovich,the next Prokofiev. It sometimes feels like a game of spot the influence. Yet,he has a nice gift for spicy harmony and ear tickling,if not truly memorable,tunes that I do find appealing. Also,as in the third symphony,and parts of the Piano concertos,a certain Soviet kitsch,which I do rather like. Of course,he composed allot of film scores,so this is hardly surprising. The Piano concertos are a case in point. A mish-mash of influences;but,imho,all the more enjoyable for that. One things for sure. If Khrennikov hadn't taken the political stance he did;he would just be another minor composer on these boards (and others like this one). There probably wouldn't be many posts;but they wouldn't end in 'rants' or locked threads;as happened to the Tikhon Khrennikov thread at the Art Music Forum! As you say;there are obviously allot of far more interesting,and eminently worthwhile,composers from the soviet era. Khrennikov's political activities have the unfortunate effect of granting him a little more attention than he deserves. At the same time,in terms of any purely musical merit his music might,arguably,possess;it surely is the kiss of death! (outside Russia,anyway!).

Now to put on some Shostakovich on,eh?!! ;D

Thanks for the link. The writer makes an interesting point of course - if you listen to the music blind, you have no idea of the composer's controversial reputation. And as you say, people are only generally likely to get curious about Khrennikov if they've read a bit about Soviet musical history.

I just had a quick look at a Russian classical music forum to see what they say about Khrennikov. They seem to see him as a sort of grand old man of the Russian musical establishment, but concerning his music, most of the comments aren't particularly complimentary.

http://classic-online.ru/ru/composer/Khrennikov/44
And, moreover, it is art in its most general and comprehensive form that is here discussed, for the dialogue embraces everything connected with it, from its greatest object, the state, to its least, the embellishment of sensuous existence.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Khrennikov's Kremlin
« Reply #27 on: September 26, 2016, 12:14:46 PM »
Yes - I like Miaskovsky too. He has the reputation of an extreme musical conservative, but I'm not convinced its true. Not long ago I worked through the Svetlanov set of the 27 Symphonies several times to get a picture of them. A lot of them have great depth. I particularly liked Symphonies 5, 6, 7, 10, 13, 21, 25 and 27. I thought they could probably stand alongside more famous offerings by Prokofiev and Shostakovich, given the chance. What is your favourite recording of Symphony No. 6? I have Svetlanov and Jarvi. I heard Kondrashin online. I like Svetlanov in this piece, but its a shame about the lack of a choir....Maybe I should find a Miaskovsky thread... ?

Here's the Miaskovsky thread:

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,1523.0.html

I like Kondrashin's Russian Disc recording best of all. There is a later Kondrashin recording on Melodiya but he rushes the beautiful flute passage in the trio of the scherzo and the earlier version gets it just right. For a more modern recording I'd recommend Dmitri Liss with the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra on Warner and you get Symphony 10 thrown in as well. My favourites are 3,6,8,11,12,15,16,17,21,23,25,27.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: Khrennikov's Kremlin
« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2019, 02:55:00 PM »
I've discovered the Cello Concerto No. 1 from this set:



Whoahh, what a stunning piece! A very succinct work with two heartfelt slow movements followed by a very spicy one, just fun. Khrennikov was polemic in his time, but it doesn't mean that his music has to lie into oblivion. This concerto is a real treat, very balanced regarding profoundity and exuberance.

cilgwyn

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Re: Khrennikov's Kremlin
« Reply #29 on: July 13, 2019, 03:56:53 PM »
I quite like his music! I just wish you could say you,quite like his music,without being made to feel guilty by people,because of who he is,and the terrible things he's supposed to have done. I suppose if you like any of his music you have to keep quiet about it,or join an 'underground',Khrennikov appreciation society,of some kind;just in case you get 'called out' for liking any of the music of such a horrible man! A sort of inverse censorship,which really doesn't help any of the people who 'suffered' under Khrennikov,anyway;because they're all dead and gone,by now!

Offline JBS

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Re: Khrennikov's Kremlin
« Reply #30 on: July 13, 2019, 06:04:10 PM »
I have one CD of Khrennikov's music


Live recording from 1988. Of the four soloists, only the composer himself did not later  "defect" from the Soviet Union.

I recall them as pleasant, even virtuoso, but nothing at all out of the tonal mainstream. Although Repin and Khrennikov appear among the soloists in the set posted by Symphonic Addict, those are different performances (different orchestra and conductor).
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 06:05:42 PM by JBS »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Khrennikov's Kremlin
« Reply #31 on: July 13, 2019, 10:09:11 PM »
I've discovered the Cello Concerto No. 1 from this set:



Whoahh, what a stunning piece! A very succinct work with two heartfelt slow movements followed by a very spicy one, just fun. Khrennikov was polemic in his time, but it doesn't mean that his music has to lie into oblivion. This concerto is a real treat, very balanced regarding profoundity and exuberance.
Very interesting Cesar. I've never heard the Cello Concerto so must look out for it. I love the cover of that CD set but it is a bit pricey.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: Khrennikov's Kremlin
« Reply #32 on: July 14, 2019, 04:24:31 PM »
I have one CD of Khrennikov's music


Live recording from 1988. Of the four soloists, only the composer himself did not later  "defect" from the Soviet Union.

I recall them as pleasant, even virtuoso, but nothing at all out of the tonal mainstream. Although Repin and Khrennikov appear among the soloists in the set posted by Symphonic Addict, those are different performances (different orchestra and conductor).

The set brings together all the concertos and symphonies, hence the reason I acquired it long time ago and just now I'm exploring it. These works can be conservative in idiom, but it's undeniable the fun they convey! Fun with lyricism, not as empty as many would think.

Very interesting Cesar. I've never heard the Cello Concerto so must look out for it. I love the cover of that CD set but it is a bit pricey.

I wasn't aware of the price right now because I have had it for long. It's a shame that the CD JBS posted only have some PCs and VCs.

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Khrennikov's Kremlin
« Reply #33 on: July 16, 2019, 09:35:37 AM »
I disposed of that disc I mentioned about a year or so ago, and I have absolutely zero desire to listen to another note. Let's hope next time I gamble on a composer and go in blind, a more glowing recommendation is offered, if at all possible.