Soviet Russia (1953-1991)

Episodes

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01After Stalin: The Thaw20171113

Donald Macleod presents music from 1953, the year of Stalin's death.

Marking the centenary of the 1917 Revolution, Donald Macleod continues his exploration of Russian music with a week of programmes charting Soviet music from the death of Stalin to the dissolution of the Union in 1991.

In the company of Professor Marina Frolova-Walker, we discover a musical culture travelling down two parallel roads. Communist ideals continue to find their place in music, through film, drama and orchestral music. But cultural outsiders plough a furrow too, determined to explore new musical techniques, often at the risk of being ostracised by their peers and the establishment.

The week begins in 1953, the year of Stalin's death. The so-called 'Thaw' begins, and with it musicians increasingly test the water in their responses to changing times. Composers like Georgy Sviridov present an image of a 'paradise lost', and Galina Ustvolskaya turn to the most ascetic sounds of the avant-garde. And amongst it all, Dmitri Shostakovich continues down a treacherous path of trying to be true to his musical and political ideals in a climate where an iron fist is never far above the composer's head.

Khachaturian: Sword Dance of the Young Thracians (from Spartacus)
Scottish National Orchestra
Neeme Järvi, conductor

Sviridov: Poem to the Memory of Sergei Yesenin (excerpt)
Alexei Maslennikov (tenor)
Yurlov Russian State Academic Choir
Leningrad State Philharmonic Society Symphony Orchestra
Yuri Temirkanov, conductor

Bunin: Viola Concerto (excerpt)
Rudolf Barshai (viola/director)
Moscow Chamber Orchestra

Ustvolskaya: Preludes 10-12
David Arden (piano)

Shostakovich: Symphony No.11, Op.103 (finale)
USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra
Gennadi Rozhdestvensky (conductor).

02The 1960s: A New Folk Wave20171114

Donald Macleod explores the appearance of folk culture in the Soviet music of the 1960s.

One theme from the 1917 October lingered long into the Soviet era: the spirit of the proletarian revolutionary. Donald Macleod is joined once again by Marina Frolova-Walker to explore how folk culture found its way into art music following Stalin's death, including one composer's controversial reimagining of Bizet's famous Carmen.

Shchedrin:
Concerto for Orchestra no.1 'Naughty Limericks'
Russian National Orchestra
Mikhail Pletnev, conductor

Carmen Suite (excerpts)
Russian National Orchestra
Mikhail Pletnev, conductor

Sviridov:
Time, Forward!
Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
Konstantin Krimets (conductor)

Canticles and Prayers - Having Beheld a Strange Nativity
Credo Chamber Orchestra
Bogdan Plish (conductor)

Russia Cast Adrift (last 4 movements)
Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone)
St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra
Constantine Orbelian (conductor).

03Church, State And Spirit20171115

Spiritual themes find their way into Soviet music from the 1970s. With Donald Macleod.

Donald Macleod's exploration of Soviet music reaches the 1970s as the space race gathers pace, and the Cold War reaches ever more terrifying heights. Against this backdrop a seam of music taking its inspiration from the Church emerges, including work by the woman who famously described herself as a 'tardy autumnal fruit', Sofia Gubaidulina.

Ustvolskaya: Composition No 1 - Dona nobis pacem (part 3)
Schoenberg Ensemble
Reinbert de Leeuw (conductor)

Gubaidulina: In croce
Henrik Brendstrup (cello)
Jens Christensen (organ)

Martynov: The Beatitudes
Conspirare
Craig Hella Johnson

Schnittke: Choir Concerto - 1st movement
Russian State Symphonic Cappella
Valery Polyansky (conductor).

04A Tale Of Dmitri And Dmitry: Shostakovich And Kabalevsky20171116

Donald Macleod explores music by Russians determined to reach beyond the Iron Curtain.

Could the Iron Curtain have made musical culture beyond Soviet borders more alluring? Donald Macleod and Marina Frolova-Walker find out, as they explore music written by Soviet composers who spent much of their time looking towards European trends. Plus music by a unique Russian voice who spent his career immersed in the world of jazz.

Denisov: Song about a Finger (from Sun of the Incas)
Natalia Zagorinskaya (soprano)
Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble

Denisov: Bagatelle No.3
Jean-Pierre Armengaud (piano)

Kapustin: Variations, Op.41
Marc-Andre Hamelin (piano)

Schnittke: Title: Concerto Grosso No.1
Gidon Kremer (violin)
Tatiana Grindenko (violin)
Yuri Smirnov (harpsichord, prepared piano)
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Heinrich Schiff (conductor)

Schnittke: Pastorale (Suite in the Old Style)
Leonard Elschenbroich (cello)
Petr Limonov (piano).

05Glasnost20171117

Donald Macleod explores the final years of the Soviet Union in music.

As Glasnost makes itself felt in the final years of the Soviet Union, Russian composers forge their own path in the face of political turmoil. For many, emigration beckons. For others, a determination to find a new Russian voice for the post-Soviet era. Donald Macleod is joined by Russian music historian Marina Frolova-Walker.

Sofia Gubaidulina: Silenzio 1
Geir Draugsvoll (bayan)
Geir Inge Lotsberg (violin)
Øyvind Gimse (cello)

Elena Firsova: Forest Walks, Op 36 (1st movement)
Studio New Music Moscow
Ekaterina Kichigina (soprano)
Igor Dronov (conductor)

Yuri Kasparov: Devil's Trills
Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble

Nikolai Korndorf: Yarilo
Ivan Sokolov (piano).