Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations

By David Ewen | Go to book overview
Important recordings of music by Ernst von Dohnányi:
VICTOR: Quartet in D-flat (Flozanley); Capriccio in F-Minor (Horowitz); Variations on a Nursery Tune; Suite for Orchestra (Stock).
COLUMBIA: Sonata in C-Sharp Minor (Tertis-Murdoch).

Arcady Dubensky 1890-

ARCADY DUBENSKY was born in Russia in 1890. His life has been very uneventful, being merely a record of studies, works composed, and performances. Revealing a musical talent from boyhood, he was enrolled in the Moscow Conservatory of Music to study violin under Grimaly, counterpoint with Ilyinsky, and conducting with Arends. He made his bow as a composer at a comparatively early age. In 1916, the Imperial Opera at Moscow presented his first opera, Romance With Double-Bass, in which his musical style revealed considerable spice and good taste. Coming to America in 1921, Dubensky joined the violin section of the New York Symphony Orchestra. At the present time, he serves as a member of the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York, depending upon leisure hours and vacation months for his composition.

He was first introduced to American music audiences as a composer in 1927, when he himself conducted his Russian Bells symphony with the New York Symphony Orchestra. This work, which had a distinct Tschaikovsky flavor, attracted attention because of its sureness of approach and technical skill. It was music, as Leonard Liebling wrote in review after the first performance, "simple, melodious . . . highly colored, brilliantly orchestrated and undeniably effective in an old-fashioned way. The style smacks of the period before the advent of Richard Strauss and handles characteristically Russian themes as Smetana treated the tunes of his native Bohemia. . . . The modernistic call has not reached Duben- sky. His nearest response to it consisted of a few clarinet notes in the vein of Debussy."

Since 1927, Dubensky has acquired considerable prestige as composer, with two major works for orchestra: The Raven, a "melodeclamation," music accompanying the recitation of Edgar Allen Poe's famous poem; and the Fugue for Eighteen Violins, both introduced by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra and subsequently performed by leading symphony orchestras everywhere. Both of these works revealed the fact that Dubensky was a composer of enormous promise who--altho he clung tenaciously to tradition--could speak in original accents. " Dubensky gave me an esthetic experience I shall cherish," wrote Irving Schwerké about the Fugue, when it was performed in Paris shortly after its première in New York. "The Fugue for Eighteen Violins is a distinct contribution to concert literature."

In discussing his own music, Arcady Dubensky refers to himself as "one of the American composers who have followed the traditions and forms of the old classical school." He works best at night. Speaking of his method of working, he writes: "Musical ideas come to my mind at first in visual forms accompanied by music which I then put down on paper and work out." His favorite composers are Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin and Tschaikovsky. He is in little sympathy with the modern school of composers. Inevitably, his duties as violinist with the Philharmonic Symphony Society and his arduous work in

____________________
Dubensky: Do + o + ̄-běn′skē

-64-

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