GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Henk on August 07, 2008, 11:58:17 AM

Title: great Russian composers
Post by: Henk on August 07, 2008, 11:58:17 AM
Which composer in 20th / 21th century can really compete with Shostakovich and Prokofiev? What are recommended cd's?
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: vandermolen on August 07, 2008, 12:07:31 PM
Which composer in 20th / 21th century can really compete with Shostakovich and Prokofiev? What are recommended cd's?

Do you mean Russian composers? If so, I personally would add Miaskovsky but if you mean ore generally, I'd suggest Sibelius, Vaugan Williams, Tubin and Holmboe amongst others, but it is very much a personal choice.
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Brewski on August 07, 2008, 12:08:59 PM
I would put Alfred Schnittke in that esteemed company.  There is at least one thread on him, here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,636.0.html).

The Concerto Grosso No. 1 is a fine place to start, and the recording below (now reissued, too) with Heinrich Schiff and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe is excellent.  There is one on BIS, too, with Lev Markiz and the New Stockholm Chamber Orchestra which is very good but I think Schiff's is more uninhibited. 

If you like chamber music, the String Quintet has been recorded a lot: I have four or five different ones, all quite good.  This one below with the Barbican Trio and guests, on Black Box, is as fine as any.  I also like the one on Hyperion by the group Capricorn.

--Bruce 
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: DavidRoss on August 07, 2008, 12:38:06 PM
Which composer in 20th / 21th century can really compete with Shostakovich and Prokofiev? What are recommended cd's?
The greatest Russian composer of all:  Stravinsky.  There's a terrific value in a recent boxset of Stravinsky conducting his own music on 22 CDs.  A great introduction is Abbado's 2fer set of ballets.  Everything by Boulez, especially the Cleveland Rite.  Gardiner's Rake's Progress.

Also, though not nearly as prolific as the others, Rachmaninoff's best is not to be missed. 
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: some guy on August 07, 2008, 12:39:08 PM
Why "compete"?

Other worthwhile composers include Denison, Gubaidulina, Ustvolskaya, Tarnopolski, and Artemiev.

And I not only acknowledge my ignorance beyond these (and Schnittke and Stravinsky, who've already been mentioned) but gladly parade it in hopes that people like tab (on the other Russian thread) will help me diminish said lack of knowledge. Diminishing a lack. I quite like that.

Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Henk on August 07, 2008, 01:13:27 PM
Why "compete"?

Other worthwhile composers include Denison, Gubaidulina, Ustvolskaya, Tarnopolski, and Artemiev.

And I not only acknowledge my ignorance beyond these (and Schnittke and Stravinsky, who've already been mentioned) but gladly parade it in hopes that people like tab (on the other Russian thread) will help me diminish said lack of knowledge. Diminishing a lack. I quite like that.



I used the word compete, but don't put too much weight on it.

Stravinsky, of course, how could I forget (I have that 22 cd box), but I don't get really into his soundworld yet.

I heard already lots of names, listened to samples. But of what I listened to only the big three Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, seem to sound authentic, original. Of course I have not listened enough to others to validice that statement, but that was the reason for this thread: Are there others how are authentic, orginal, who are comparable in greatness to these three composers? I tried Schnittke but it didn't get me yet, I feel no warmth, it's so cold, hard music, maybe I didn't listen to the right pieces.. I think also Schnittke composed a lot of music that is of minor quality. I also listened to samples of Miaskovsky and Popov, but they sound too much like Shostakovich to my ears.
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Christo on August 07, 2008, 02:24:56 PM
Definitely Alemdar Karamanov (1934-2007), whom we lost last year. BTW, he was partly a Crimean Tatar - is that a problem with you, Henk? For his work, see: http://home.wanadoo.nl/ovar/karamanov.htm (http://home.wanadoo.nl/ovar/karamanov.htm)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41vOf1qdSDL._SS500_.jpg) (http://ljplus.ru/img4/l/u/luciocadavri/hopkins.jpg.jpg)



Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Henk on August 07, 2008, 02:32:16 PM
Definitely Alemdar Karamanov (1934-2007), whom we lost last year. BTW, he was partly a Crimean Tatar - is that a problem with you, Henk? For his work, see: http://home.wanadoo.nl/ovar/karamanov.htm (http://home.wanadoo.nl/ovar/karamanov.htm)


Interesting, never heard of him.
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Christo on August 07, 2008, 02:36:01 PM
Interesting, never heard of him.

Right.  >:(:-X :'( In that respect, he resembles Petrassi, probably ...  8) 0:)
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Dundonnell on August 07, 2008, 03:42:15 PM
Right.  >:(:-X :'( In that respect, he resembles Petrassi, probably ...  8) 0:)


???
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: eyeresist on August 07, 2008, 05:29:59 PM

Now he's just making stuff up!
 
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Henk on August 08, 2008, 03:02:18 AM
Right.  >:(:-X :'( In that respect, he resembles Petrassi, probably ...  8) 0:)


I listend to samples, but it didn't appeal to me. For russian music I think I'll stick to Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich.
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on August 08, 2008, 06:19:52 AM
I listend to samples, but it didn't appeal to me. For russian music I think I'll stick to Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich.
For something really appealing, have you tried the symphonies of Borodin and Balakirev? I love all of them but have a special soft spot of Borodin's 2nd. These are melodic, terse works along the lines of Tchaikovsky minus some of the emotional draining moments. They may not be "deep", whatever that means but I think they are fantastic.

For whatever reason I can't get into the symphonies of Rimsky-Korsakoff. To me his symphonies never approach the genius he showed in Scheherazade, the Capriccio Espanol or the Russian Easter Fantasy Overture.
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: karlhenning on August 08, 2008, 04:27:35 PM
I used the word compete, but don't put too much weight on it.

That's the spirit!
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Henk on August 08, 2008, 10:29:40 PM
For something really appealing, have you tried the symphonies of Borodin and Balakirev? I love all of them but have a special soft spot of Borodin's 2nd. These are melodic, terse works along the lines of Tchaikovsky minus some of the emotional draining moments. They may not be "deep", whatever that means but I think they are fantastic.

For whatever reason I can't get into the symphonies of Rimsky-Korsakoff. To me his symphonies never approach the genius he showed in Scheherazade, the Capriccio Espanol or the Russian Easter Fantasy Overture.

I listened to Borodin symphonies, which made a huge impression first time listening it but later less, and also his sq. no. 2, which I liked very much. So he may be on my list also.
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Anne on August 10, 2008, 07:40:02 PM
If you can get interested in opera, there are some beautiful ones by Russian composers.

Moussorgsky:
   Boris Godunov
   Khovanshchina

Tchaikovsky:
   Eugene Onegin
   Pique Dame

There are more, but these would be a start.
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Sarastro on August 10, 2008, 08:31:43 PM
Miaskovsky

Miaskovsky has deservedly fallen into oblivion. 0:)
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Dundonnell on August 11, 2008, 02:28:10 AM
Miaskovsky has deservedly fallen into oblivion. 0:)

Hardly :o

When I first heard some Miaskovsky in the 60s I certainly never dreamt that one day there would be complete sets of all 27 of his symphonies available on CD! That doesn't seem like 'oblivion' to me ;D

There are quite a few Miaskovsky admirers-vandermolen for one- on this site so others will probably leap to his defence :)

I shall say, however, that when one compares Miaskovsky's music with the majority of other music produced in Russia during the 1920s-1940s(with the obvious exceptions of Prokofiev and Shostakovich) there is a separating chasm of integrity and profoundity. Miaskovsky's music is undoubtedly 'old-fashioned' but in no way the worse for that! In fact it is little less 'old-fashioned' than some of the fine music being produced by British composers like Arnold Bax at the same time. There is none of the crude, tub-thumping of so many Russian composers working to the dictates of Soviet Socialist Realism. The vein of melancholic nostalgia so typical of Miaskovsky is profoundly appealing, particularly when he was such a superb orchestrator.

Oh..and one last point! One of the biggest mail order CD firms in Britain(MDT) currently lists Vol. 14 of Svetlanov's cycle of the symphonies(Nos.23 and 24) as its 'Top Seller'! Oblivion indeed ;)
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: vandermolen on August 11, 2008, 04:19:32 AM
Miaskovsky has deservedly fallen into oblivion. 0:)

Agree with Dundonnell here (hardly surprising as my avatar image is a photo of Miaskovsky!).

The quality of Miaskovsky's symphonies is uneven (well, he did write 27) but, at his best (as in symphonies 3,6,11,17,21,24 and 27+ the slow movement of No 16) he is IMHO a great composer.  I tuned into the radio the other day and hearing a few bars of orchestral music guessed it must be Miaskovsky, even though I did not recognize the work at first (it was the first movement of Symphony 24). There is a kind of moving nostalgia and eloquence about Miaskovsky at his best which I find both moving and endearing and which is unique to him I think.

Try the Cello Concerto and Cello Sonata No 2 before you write him off completely.

Also, I heard his Symphony 21 performed live in London in June, so, if anything, he seems to be coming better known in some places.
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Dundonnell on August 11, 2008, 04:26:48 AM
I knew that you would join it :) :)
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: vandermolen on August 11, 2008, 04:37:22 AM
I knew that you would join it :) :)

 :)
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Dundonnell on August 11, 2008, 04:50:44 AM
BTW-many thanks for the VW disc!!
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: vandermolen on August 11, 2008, 05:41:30 AM
BTW-many thanks for the VW disc!!

You are v welcome  :)
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Philoctetes on August 11, 2008, 05:48:44 AM
I listend to samples, but it didn't appeal to me. For russian music I think I'll stick to Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich.

How large a sample?
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: greg on August 11, 2008, 05:49:17 AM
Agree with Dundonnell here (hardly surprising as my avatar image is a photo of Miaskovsky!).

The quality of Miaskovsky's symphonies is uneven (well, he did write 27) but, at his best (as in symphonies 3,6,11,17,21,24 and 27+ the slow movement of No 16) he is IMHO a great composer.  I tuned into the radio the other day and hearing a few bars of orchestral music guessed it must be Miaskovsky, even though I did not recognize the work at first (it was the first movement of Symphony 24). There is a kind of moving nostalgia and eloquence about Miaskovsky at his best which I find both moving and endearing and which is unique to him I think.

Try the Cello Concerto and Cello Sonata No 2 before you write him off completely.

Also, I heard his Symphony 21 performed live in London in June, so, if anything, he seems to be coming better known in some places.
Have you heard the Violin Concerto? I feel the guy would be more interesting to me in another genre....
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: greg on August 11, 2008, 05:51:46 AM
I would put Alfred Schnittke in that esteemed company.  There is at least one thread on him, here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,636.0.html).

The Concerto Grosso No. 1 is a fine place to start, and the recording below (now reissued, too) with Heinrich Schiff and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe is excellent.  There is one on BIS, too, with Lev Markiz and the New Stockholm Chamber Orchestra which is very good but I think Schiff's is more uninhibited. 

If you like chamber music, the String Quintet has been recorded a lot: I have four or five different ones, all quite good.  This one below with the Barbican Trio and guests, on Black Box, is as fine as any.  I also like the one on Hyperion by the group Capricorn.

--Bruce 
I've only listened to the recording of the CG 1 on Naxos....... if DG is any better, that must be something really special!  :D
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: vandermolen on August 11, 2008, 06:23:48 AM
Have you heard the Violin Concerto? I feel the guy would be more interesting to me in another genre....

Yes, I have several recordings. It is a very enjoyable work. Not sure what you mean by your "another genre" comment.
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: greg on August 11, 2008, 07:03:53 AM
Yes, I have several recordings. It is a very enjoyable work. Not sure what you mean by your "another genre" comment.
Violin Concertos often don't make much of an impression on me, or at least, less of an impression usually, so I'd probably have better luck with symphonies, possibly....
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: vandermolen on August 11, 2008, 07:21:15 AM
Violin Concertos often don't make much of an impression on me, or at least, less of an impression usually, so I'd probably have better luck with symphonies, possibly....

Oh, I see. Thanks. I don't know what you already know but Symphony 6 is perhaps his masterpiece but I would listen to a version including the optional chorus at the end (ie not the Svetlanov version). The Jarvi recording on DGG is v good. Also, Symphony 27 (Chandos) or symphonies 24 and 25 (Naxos) and the Cello Concerto (Regis) are good places to start.
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Dundonnell on August 11, 2008, 10:43:32 AM
Oh, I see. Thanks. I don't know what you already know but Symphony 6 is perhaps his masterpiece but I would listen to a version including the optional chorus at the end (ie not the Svetlanov version). The Jarvi recording on DGG is v good. Also, Symphony 27 (Chandos) or symphonies 24 and 25 (Naxos) and the Cello Concerto (Regis) are good places to start.

Traitor :) :)
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: vandermolen on August 11, 2008, 02:25:16 PM
Traitor :) :)

And of course Symphony 23 and 24 on Alto  ;)

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product/ALC1024.htm
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Dundonnell on August 11, 2008, 03:08:26 PM
And of course Symphony 23 and 24 on Alto  ;)

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product/ALC1024.htm

That's better :) You do want to write more CD notes, don't you? :) :)
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: vandermolen on August 11, 2008, 03:10:15 PM
That's better :) You do want to write more CD notes, don't you? :) :)

Good point!  :)
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Sarastro on August 11, 2008, 03:39:45 PM
Hardly :o

Relatively. :)

In the era of recordings just few composers have been neglected. Works from ancient Greece and all the way to the modern "classical" music, such as Glass or Cage, have been being recorded and issued, whereas never performed live. Recordings do not reflect the reality. Many people in Russia do not know Miaskovsky, some just heard the name, and few listened to his music. Russians are so ignorant. 0:)
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: greg on August 12, 2008, 08:02:14 AM
Oh, I see. Thanks. I don't know what you already know but Symphony 6 is perhaps his masterpiece but I would listen to a version including the optional chorus at the end (ie not the Svetlanov version). The Jarvi recording on DGG is v good. Also, Symphony 27 (Chandos) or symphonies 24 and 25 (Naxos) and the Cello Concerto (Regis) are good places to start.
Awesome. I'll make a mental note of this whenever i get to this composer.  :)
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Szykneij on November 04, 2009, 05:05:56 PM
On Saturday I'm going to a performance by the Melrose Symphony Orchestra, a Massachusetts group that is billed as "The oldest continuing volunteer orchestra in the nation". In its 92nd season, there is nothing amateurish about this ensemble. I saw them perform last year and they are outstanding.

They are giving an all-Russian concert of Glinka's Russlan and Ludmilla Overture, the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 and Shostakovich Symphony No. 9. I decided to familiarize myself with these pieces by listening to them this week.

I have a good recording of the Glinka by the St. Petersburg Radio and TV Orchestra and an excellent Yedang Classic CD of Richter playing the Rachmaninoff with the Leningrad Philharmonic. The only example of the Shostakovich 9 in my library, though, is a 1958 Monitor LP of the State Radio Orchestra of the USSR conducted by Alexander Gauk that I transferred to CD. Although the vinyl is pristine and the performance is spirited, it's a mono recording and the sound quality is not as good as I would like. Does anyone have a recommendation for a superior recording of the Shotakovich 9th?
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: offbeat on November 05, 2009, 09:25:14 AM
Not mentioned yet is Alexander Scriabin - i would not say was on a par with Shostakovich or Prokofiev but definetly has an individuality and eccentricity that makes him stand out among others. I know he is an aquired taste due to his rather extreme fantasies but still remembering the first time i heard the poem of ecstasy live - wow who could forget that.
Not sure if the best but from my collection recommend
Mutis take on the three numbered symphonies plus ecstasy/fire
And special for me is all the piano sonatas plus more from John Ogden
 >:D
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Franco on November 05, 2009, 10:28:27 AM
Aside from Shostakovich and Stravinsky (him, I don't even think of as Russian) I have to admit that most Russian composers don't do anything for me.  Especially the 19th century Russians: Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, etc.  Then again, most (latter half) 19th century composers don't do much for me with some huge exceptions, Brahms, Verdi, and a whole host of French composers.

But I don't think of composers primarily by their national identity - that seems to be an accident of birth, but I suppose one could make an argument that there is some significance to the country of origin and that composers from that area share a sound. 

I am much more prone to think of composers (esp. from the late 19th onward) no matter where they are from by things like - if their music is light or heavy, tonal or not, lush or spare, and I almost always prefer the opposites to heavy, lush and tonal.

Just my opinions of course.

 8)
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Brahmsian on November 05, 2009, 10:39:12 AM
I probably should have been born Russian.  8)

Tchaikovsky, Taneyev, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, Borodin.

Time and money are the only things stopping me from getting the complete works of all of these composers, and then I'd be wanting to explore Rimsky-Korsakov, Balakirev, Scriabin, Schnittke, and much more.

There is something really special and unique about Russian music.
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Franco on November 05, 2009, 11:12:06 AM
I know of no Russian composers or music from before the mid-19th century.  Is there a Russian Bach, for example?  We have composed music from Europe dating from the 12th century.

Anything from Russia going back even partway that far?

And if not, why not?  Russians must have been writing music, why don't we know it?
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: listener on November 05, 2009, 01:50:10 PM
a bit price-y, might be in a nearby library:
History of Music in Russia from Antiquity to 1800 - Vol. 1
Nikolai Findeizen
Translation by Samuel William Pring
Edited and annotated by MiloŇ° Velimirovic and Claudia R. Jensen with the assistance of Malcolm Hamrick Brown and Daniel C. Waugh

http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=41658
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on November 06, 2009, 12:35:49 AM
And if not, why not?  Russians must have been writing music, why don't we know it?

Until the 18th century, Russia was pretty much isolated from most Western cultural currents, including the development of art music that took place in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. So after the forced Westernization started under Peter the Great, they had a lot of catching up to do, which began to show results around 1800 or so, with minor composers like Bortnyansky et al.

Before that, there was art music in Russia, but it was mostly Orthodox liturgical music.
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: vandermolen on April 29, 2016, 10:12:01 PM
Can't see Khachaturian in the composer list.
Here is a new release of his best symphony I think:

Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Scion7 on April 29, 2016, 11:07:57 PM
Is there a Russian Bach, for example? 

No.

The Russian principalities were conquered by the Mongols in the 13th century, then controlled by the Kipchak khanate of the Golden Horde for centuries.  After they finally threw 'the Mongol yoke' off, Russian nobles fought amongst each other until Ivan and Peter finally "unified" the country - but it was backward technologically and socially compared to western Europe.  There were no schools of higher learning and so forth until Peter the Great started bringing Russia "up to speed."  Therefore, no Renaissance or Baroque period in Russia - and no audience for it, either, until Russian society was ready for the Western European music tradition, outside of some church music.  Peter and Kat sent people to Italy and elsewhere for training for their courts - the first figures were some Ukrainian composers but the first Russian composer of importance is Glinka.  Soon, Russia becomes a hotbed of good and great composers - after Germany, arguably the 2nd most important country in Classical music (with the Italians also in the running) - with at least two towering geniuses - Tchaikovsky, and later Shostakovich.  Before and after,  lots of really fine people peppered throughout - Rubinstein, Scriabin, Mussorgsky, Borodin, Prokofiev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Weinberg, and many good composers of somewhat lesser stature.

If they came to the party a little late, they more than made up for it.   A parallel might be seen with Britain in the 20th century.
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2016, 05:57:47 AM
Can't see Khachaturian in the composer list.
Here is a new release of his best symphony I think:



Very nice, Jeffrey. I'll have to revisit this symphony. I have Jarvi's and the composer's own performance.
Title: Re: great Russian composers
Post by: vandermolen on April 30, 2016, 09:41:01 PM
Very nice, Jeffrey. I'll have to revisit this symphony. I have Jarvi's and the composer's own performance.
Me too John + the Stokowski. I think that Jarvi's is the best. I wish that RCA would issue Tjeknavorian's first LSO recording of Symphony 1.