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Program 697: Late-Soviet Composers

KALW Broadcast Date: May 22, 2022 | Host: Joseph Bohigian

On this Music from Other Minds, a program of music by composers from the former Soviet Union from the mid 1970s to early 1990s that looks outward, away from the country’s administrative center, engaging with influences at the edges of the Soviet East and South or looking toward Western Europe. These composers challenged the strictures placed upon them in their country at a time of increased opening and forged new paths for contemporary music in the region. Sofia Gubaidulina’s Offertorium represents a trend toward religious symbolism in the officially atheist country. Alfred Schnittke’s polystylism is on full display in his String Quartet No. 3, which quotes Lassus, Beethoven, and Shostakovich. Edison Denisov also references the past with his set of variations on a theme by Haydn in Death is a Long Sleep. Uzbek composer Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky imitates an Uzbek hammer dulcimer with a string quartet in his Chang Music IV. The ensemble Astraea, (Sofia Gubaidulina, Viktor Suslin, and Vyacheslav Artyomov) improvises on folk and ritual instruments from the Caucasus and Central Asia in Archipelagos of Sounds in the Ocean of Time. Finally, the program closes with Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov’s “Song Can Tend The Ailing Spirit” from Silent Songs, a tribute to the victims of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which the composer states have made his quiet, reflective compositions “again become relevant.”

Program Audio

30-Second Spot

Track Info & Links
Gubaidulina Offertorium

Title: Offertorium
Composer: Sofia Gubaidulina
Performers: Gidon Kremer, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Charles Dutoit (conductor)
Recording Title: Offertorium
Record Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Catalog Number: DG ​​471 625-2

Schnittke String Quartet 3

Title: String Quartet No. 3
Composer: Alfred Schnittke
Performers: Kronos Quartet
Recording Title: Kronos Quartet Performs Alfred Schnittke: The Complete String Quartets
Record Label: Nonesuch
Catalog Number: 79500

Denisov Death is a Long Sleep

Title: Death is a Long Sleep
Composer: Edison Denisov
Performers: Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Ivan Monighetti (cello), Pavel Kogan (conductor)
Recording Title: Colin Et Chloe / Instrumental Music
Record Label: Melodiya
Catalog Number: SUCD 10-00107

Yanov-Yanovsky Chang Music IV

Title: Chang Music IV
Composer: Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky
Performers: Carducci Quartet
Recording Title: Path
Record Label: Louth Contemporary Music
Catalog Number: LCMS1001


Title: Archipelagos of Sounds in the Ocean of Time
Composer: Sofia Gubaidulina, Viktor Suslin, and Vyacheslav Artyomov
Performers: Astraea (Sofia Gubaidulina, Viktor Suslin, and Vyacheslav Artyomov)
Recording Title: Astraea
Record Label: Métier
Catalog Number: MSV28595

Silvestrov Silent Songs

Title: Silent Songs – Five Songs: Prelude. Song Can Tend The Ailing Spirit
Composer: Valentin Silvestrov
Performers: Sergey Yakovenko, Ilya Scheps
Recording Title: Silvestrov: Silent Songs
Record Label: ECM
Catalog Number: ECM 1898/99

Øyvind Torvund
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