Music of the Repressed Russian Avant-Garde, 1900-1929

By Larry Sitsky | Go to book overview

Part VI

Composers in Exile

20

Ivan A. Vyshnegradsky: Microtones

Ivan Aleksandrovich Vyshnegradsky ( Wyshnegradsky, Wyschnegradsky, Vyshnegradski, Vishnegradsky) was born in St. Petersburg on May 14, 1893 and died in Paris on September 29, 1979. A composer and theorist, Vyshnegradsky was one of a large number of emigrés who left Russia during the time of the upheavals of the first two decades of the twentieth century. Many such emigrés moved to Paris and formed there a Russian colony of some intellectual and cultural potency.

Vyshnegradsky first studied philosophy and law at the University of St. Petersburg, then gravitated to music, working with Nikolai Sokolov. This was not an unusual transition as the composer's father was a well-known music lover and supported the Conservatoire in St. Petersburg. He served on its artistic council and was able to offer financial advice as he was, by profession, a banker. Vyshnegradsky's first compositions were written under the influence of Wagner and Tchaikovsky, but then, Sokolov introduced the young composer to the music of Scriabin, which had a long-lasting effect. His first acknowledged work (the oratorio "La Journee de l'Existence") had a Scriabin-like outlook, with musical symbolism coupled with Hegelian philosophy, according to Detlef Gojowy article in the "Biographical Dictionary of Russian/Soviet Composers". Clusters already appear in this first work -- it actually ends on a five- octave cluster -- and the Scriabinesque ecstasy is never too far away.

In 1916 and 1918, Vyshnegradsky himself experienced what he later described as "cosmic consciousness," which put him squarely in the tradition of Russian mystics/composers. This experience was directly responsible for the creation of the oratorio, which his wife later claimed was "the source of his entire further output, and therefore occupies a special place in the totality of his production" (writing under her maiden name, Lucile Gayden; see bibliography). The work, with words written by the composer, deals with the development of human consciousness, from its primitive beginnings to its "absolute end: the cosmic consciousness.' About two years later, Vyshnegradsky began to compose with quarter-tones. He saw the use of microtones

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Music of the Repressed Russian Avant-Garde, 1900-1929
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • 1 1
  • Bibliography 7
  • Part I - The Precursors 10
  • 2 - Vladimir I. Rebikov: The Inventor of Whole-Tone Music 10
  • Bibliography 25
  • 3: Aleksei V. Stanchinskiy 27
  • Part II - The Big Three 38
  • 4 - Nikolai A. Roslavets: The Russian Schoenberg 38
  • Bibliography 58
  • 5: Aleksandr V. Mosolov 60
  • 6: Arthur V. Lourié 87
  • Part III - The Smaller Five 111
  • 7 - Leonid A. Polovinkin: The Partial Avant-Gardist 111
  • Bibliography 132
  • 8 - Vladimir V. Shcherbachev: Old Wine in New Vessels 133
  • 9: Lev K. Knipper 149
  • 10: Boris N. Liatoshinski 158
  • 11 - Vladimir M. Deshevov: The Man of the Theater 171
  • Part IV - The Reluctant Avant-Gardists 183
  • 12 - Samuil E. Feinberg: The Post-Scriabin Pianist 183
  • Bibliography 198
  • 13: Anatoliy N. Aleksandrov 199
  • 14 - Boris A. Aleksandrov: Son of the Composer of the Soviet Anthem 216
  • Part V 217
  • 15: Aleksandr A. Krein 219
  • 16 - Grigoriy A. Krein: Toward Assimilation 225
  • Bibliography 229
  • 17 - Yulian G. Krein: Precocious Cosmopolitan 235
  • 18 - The Ukrainian Bartók and Bloch 241
  • 19: Mikhail F. Gnessin 242
  • Part VI 248
  • 20 248
  • 21: Nikolai Obukhov 254
  • 22: Iosif M. Schillinger 264
  • 23: Aleksandr N. Tcherepnine 273
  • Part VII 283
  • 24 283
  • 25: Leonid L. Sabaneev 291
  • 26 - Dmitriy M. Melkikh: Rhapsodist 309
  • 27: Gavrill N. Popov 310
  • 28: Aleksei S. Zhivotov 318
  • 29: Efim Golyshchev 323
  • 30 - Georgi M. Rimsky-Korsakov: Microtonist 328
  • Appendix: Further Scores for Study and Reference 329
  • Index 343
  • About the Author 349
  • Recent Titles in Contributions to the Study of Music and Dance 351
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