Aleksandr V. Mosolov: The Man of Steel
Aleksandr Vasil'evich Mosolov was born on July 29, 1900 in Kiev and died on July 12, 1973 in Moscow. This important composer occupies a special niche in the music of the period. His parents were artistic and musical -- his mother was a professional singer who graduated as a pianist from the Kiev music school; she gave Mosolov his first piano lessons. His father was a lawyer. In 1903 the family moved to Moscow. The mother was employed at the Bolshoi Theater, first as a chorister and later in solo roles. Interestingly, due to family pressures, she sang under the pseudonyms "Antonina Miller" and "N. A. Kol'tsova"; clearly, the profession of opera singer was somehow tinged as far as the relatives were concerned, and her career lasted only a few seasons.
After the death of Mosolov's father, his mother became the companion of the Ukrainian composer B. V. Podgoretskiy ( 1873-1919), also quite well known as a teacher, critic, ethnomusicologist, and conductor; some of his songs were dedicated to Mosolov's mother. This association did not last long, and Mosolova then married the painter Mikhail Varfolomeevich Leblan. Since Leblan was a most successful teacher, young Mosolov, from an early age, was exposed to the widest possible currents and schools of thought in the painting world. Both German and French were spoken at home, and the young composer was instructed in both. He also began his piano studies with the composer Aleksandr Alekseevich Shenshin. The house generally was a rallying point for all kinds of professional people, and there were frequent soirees at home. On top of all this cosmopolitan atmosphere, there were trips to cities such as Paris, Berlin, and London.
Mosolov attended high school until 1916. When the Revolution broke out, he volunteered to serve in the Red Army, since he was particularly appalled at the prospect of a long and protracted civil war. He was discharged in 1921 on medical grounds after some injuries and was awarded the "Order of the Red Banner" on two occasions.
Mosolov entered the Moscow Conservatoire upon conclusion of his military service; he studied composition with N. Y. Myaskovsky and R. M. Gliere, and piano with G. P. Prokofiev and K. Igumnov, graduating in 1925. Gliere, whose own style was miles away from Mosolov's, was a source of constant support and inspiration. While still at the Conservatoire, he composed a symphonic poem "Twilight," his series of five sonatas for the piano, the Legend for cello and piano, Three Lyric Pieces for viola and piano, and settings of verses by Blok and Gumilev: about twenty vocal