Wednesday, March 31, 2010

One Thing Leads to Another

I host "Gamut." And at least once every show, I'll say the following:

This is Gamut, the program that each weeks runs the gamut of music from the Middle Ages all the way up to the present. And over the course of X number of shows, we have yet to repeat a work (at least on purpose) and we've yet to run out of great music to share with you.

How is that possible? Simple. Just dig a little beneath the surface.

For example: I'm airing selections from a new recording this morning, "Soviet Russian Viola Music." It's not only providing me with some great music, but also some leads I can explore to find even more.

On this disc are five composers seldom heard these days -- not because of they wrote poor quality music, but rather because Western musicians haven't dug deeply enough into the Russian repertoire.

Vadim Borisovsky
was the founder of the Russian viola school, and many of the works on this new recording are dedicated to him. One of them is by Vladimir Nikolayevich Kryukov, who studied under Myaskovsky and wrote the score for the "Battleship Potemkin. Another is a work by Sergey Nikiforovich Vasilenko, who would later teach Aram Khachaturian (Comedian's Gallop, Spartacus).

Then there's Grigory Samuilvoich Frid, an amazingly prolific composer who broke free from the yoke of Soviet Realism in the 1950's. And Yulian Grigor'yevich Krein and Vlerian Mikhaylovich Bogdanov-Berezovksy, who was a member of the St. Petersburg Union of Composers along with Shostakovich.

All of these men have unique compositional voices, and all produced a significant amount of music that was regularly performed.

It would take years for me to air a significant portion of it. And this is just one small example. Almost every country in Europe and the Americas (as well as quite a few in Asia) have an equally dense and diverse repertoire of native classical music.

So I'm not worried about running out of material. There's plenty still left to discover, and most of it just as good -- if not better -- than what's already been unearthed.

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