David Nice’s course on Russian Music—a total of forty sessions, each 2-3 hours in length—completed last week. The music, however, lives on. Here are three works, one each by Sofia Gubaidulina, Alfred Schnittke, and Lepo Sumera, featured in the final installment of Nice’s Russian Music tour de force.Continue reading
The 1920s in the Soviet Union, as elsewhere, were roaring with invention. Sergei Prokofiev, after several years abroad, returned to Russia in 1927. On the day of his departure, January 13, he wrote in his diary: Continue reading
Dmitri Shostakovich composed his Prelude and Scherzo for String Octet, Op. 11 (1925) when he was only eighteen, the same year in which he composed his Symphony No. 1.
Shostakovich originally composed the prelude in December 1924 as an elegy to the poet (and his close personal friend) Volodya Kurchavov; the scherzo was added seven months later. [cite] Continue reading
In the teeming collage of text that forms a backdrop for the Metropolitan Opera’s 2010 production of The Nose are the words “spine,” smashed,” and “beautiful, pitiful age.” While in the thrall of the opera’s swirl of sound and image, I held tight to those words in hope of discovering where they came from and what they meant. Continue reading