Saturday, 31 March 2012

Trip to Oymyakon, the Pole of the Cold, in Yakutia (Sakha). Pictures of siberian winter, north-east Russia. The world's coldest place after Antartica

Trip to Oymyakon, the Pole of the Cold, in Yakutia (Sakha). Pictures of siberian winter, north-east Russia. The world's coldest place after Antartica

The village of Tomtor in the valley of Oymyakon, Pole of Cold, Yakutia,

Oymyakon is a village made of many charming small houses, where about 1200 people live. It is here that the lowest temperature of the northen hemisphere, -71,2°C, was recorded.


When Russian literature passed through Prague

In the wake of the Russian Revolution and civil war, Prague played a surprisingly large and often unacknowledged role in 20th century Russian literature and thought. While the exiled aristocratic and political exiles settled in Paris and most of Russia’s intelligentsia chose Berlin, the scholars and writers that came to then Czechoslovakia would have a far reaching intellectual influence.
While Prague provided a certain amount of comfort for Russian exiles, given that Czech is a Slavic language, a more compelling reason for resettlement was that the new republic’s constitution provided émigrés not only the right of asylum but financial support. The welcome provided refugees in Czechoslovakia was unique in Europe and was attributed to the insight and international outlook of President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk as well as the anti-Bolshevik sentiments of the country’s first prime minister, Karel Kramář.
The Russian writer most closely associated with Prague is undoubtedly poetMarina Tsvetaeva. Leaving Russia in 1922, she arrived in the bustling metropolis of Berlin, where Russian émigré publishing was about to come into being among a community estimated then at over 100,000. After a short spell, Tsvetaeva went on to Prague to reunite with her husband Sergey Efron, who was taking advantage of student stipends and housing provided by the Czech government to continue his studies.
Upon arrival, though, financial concerns caused Tsvetaeva to immediately relocate herself and her daughter to a village on the outskirts of Prague where a number of other Russians had already taken up residence. Except for a brief period the following year in the city proper, she would live in a series of small villages on Prague’s outskirts, such as Všenory, Horní Mokropsy and Dolní Mokropsy.
While the material conditions of her life were extremely trying, Tsvetaeva was very productive as a poet in the years she spent in Prague, a productivity that was rewarded by assured publication in the Prague-based émigré journal Volja Rossii (Will of Russia); it published everything Tsvetaeva sent them from 1922 until the journal’s closure in 1931.
Unlike many of her scholarly fellow-Russians, who formed strong bonds in Czech literary and academic circles, Tsvetaeva confined herself to the Russian sphere. While isolating her at times she did make contact with  number of Russian writers, including the young Berlin émigré Vladimir Nabokov.
In 1924 Nabokov was writing in Russian under the pseudonym of Vladimir Sirin and was still two years away from getting his first novel published. Nabokov’s mother and sister lived in Smíchov in Prague 5, as did Tsvetaeva at that time. The two Russian writers met and took a long walk that Nabokov would later refer to as a “strange, lyrical hike.”
It was during this visit in Smíchov that Nabokov would begin writing what many critics consider his best play, The Tragedy of MrMornIn fact, though anxious to return to Berlin, he delayed his trip back to make further progress on the play, a work that is perhaps Nabokov’s most direct response to the revolution in his homeland. Because of some previously missing sections of the manuscript the play has never appeared in English until now, with publishers Penguin bringing out a translation in July 2012.
Nabokov’s mother would move to various parts of Prague over the next 15 years and died in Prague in 1939. Her sons were unable to to come to her funeral because of the war. ...

Friday, 30 March 2012

Inna Lisnianskaya: Forty Days

The whole sky enters your eyes. 
All the earth in your wrinkles. 
To start the same life over again 
There's neither cause or reason. 

But friends say that there is. 
They tell me as a noble gesture 
I should nobly bring ends together, 
Rummaging in your archive, 

I who understand what it is, 
Its scale, its look: 
Waves of the desert, surge of the seas,
Strings in David's hands 

                              27 April 2003 

* * * 

My genius of law and order, you fell asleep. 
Grass will grow on your grave 
As if the large mound. 
Which resembles an exercise book 
In which each blade sings. 

To the granite, so you may rest, 
I shall impart the contours of an exercise book, -
Let the memorial stand, a folio. 
Here the Ides of March will be apropos,
My deeply loved man of music! 

With your music, you built a road 
To temple, mosque, synagogue, 
A Christian temple, minarets. 
You knew how to wind your coat like a toga
To wear your beret as a wreath. 

                              29 April 2003 

* * * 

You left me not so much as a shadow. 
I myself was yours. 
What maddened dove beats at the shutter 
So grey feathers fly all about? 

You left not so much as a dream of yourself.
Yet I myself was yours. 
What star stood fast even as it fell
Glittering in your window? 

Our whole world became as you, 
a dream, rejecting darkness. 
You see me as I sit and gnaw my lips 
The twenty-ninth day at the window. 

                              29 April 2003 

* * * 

I bathed your eyelids, chest and belly
With water from the tap, 
And my mouth, a burning wound,
Touched your cold mouth. 

A pillar of salt now, 
I held back my widow's wailing,
standing at your bed-head 
This late spring day. 

It can be seen by the Lord, 
Only an angel guards it, 
For strangers my day is ordinary,
Like your life. 

                              30 April 2003 
Translated from Russian by Daniel Weissbort

Modern Soviet Photography 1987

Modern Soviet Photography 1987: This photo exhibition travelled around the world visiting Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and France. It was that popular because it revealed what had been concealed from both people from other countries and those from the totalitarian state. “Pipe”.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Stalin era posters

The Longest Underwater Cave In Russia

The Longest Underwater Cave In Russia: Ordinskaya Cave is located on the left bank of the Kungur river, the Perm Region. It’s the longest underwater cave in Russia and the second longest underwater cave in Eurasia. Here you can read more about Russian caves. The cave … Read more...

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

On March 28, 1776, the legendary Bolshoi Theater was created

On March 28, 1776, the legendary Bolshoi Theater was created to meet the needs of the thriving Russian culture of the mid-18th century. The Bolshoi Company in Moscow was founded by Prince Pyotr Urusov and investor Michael Maddox. Opera and ballet were seen as superior performing arts, therefore the venue for them was referred to as Bolshoi theater (meaning “grand” or “big” in Russian), while drama pieces were staged in Maly (“small”) theater. The Bolshoi company was formed on the basis of the old private troupes and theater students. In 1780, when it acquired the Petrovsky Theater, it became the first professional repertoire theater. It produced operas, ballets, and drama. The current Bolshoi Theater building appeared on Theater Square in Moscow in 1825 to replace the Petrovsky Theater, which had been destroyed in the fire of 1805. The opera and ballet troupes took up residence there, separating from the drama troupe, based in the Maly Theater since 1824. Designed by architects Andrey Mikhailov and Osip Bove, the theater represents one of the finest pieces of the Imperial style and has become one of Russia’s symbols. Inside, the theater consists of a five circle auditorium housing 2100 seats and possessing exceptional acoustic qualities. Another fire, in 1853, caused extensive damage but, restored by Albert Kavos, who also completed the design of the Theater Square, the theater reopened in 1856. Italian and Russian opera troupes coexisted on the stage of the Bolshoi, with Russian opera holding second place while the ballet repertoire consisted of mostly restaged works from the St. Petersburg productions, with rare exceptions. The “Moguchaya kuchka” (meaning “Mighty lot” in Russian), a group of five composers--Balakirev, Borodin, Kui, Musorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov, fought against Italian domination and advocated the presence of Russian national music at the theater. ...

Namgar & Juliana - Travushka

Wild Russia - Siberia

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Valentin Rasputin: French Classes

So began these distressful and awkward days. From the early morning, I started dreading the moment when I was left alone with Lidia Mikhailovna, and, twisting my tongue, had to repeat those unpronounceable words, that seemed specially devised for punishment. I mean, why else, if not for punishment, would somebody stick three vowels together to form a drawling sound, like “o” in “beaucoup,” so long you might as well choke on it? Why should sounds go through one’s nose with a dorky moaning, when, from the Creation, the nose was given to people to serve a completely different purpose? Why? It makes no sense. I perspired, blushed, and suffocated, while Lidia Mikhailovna was torturing my tongue, having no mercy on me. Why did she choose me? There were tons of guys at school whose French was just as ugly as mine, but they were set on the loose, enjoying themselves, while I was bound to make up for all of them, like a martyr.
As it turned out, the real disaster was still in store, waiting for me. Lidia Mikhailovha suddenly decided that the study time we had left before the second school shift came in was not enough, and suggested that I come to her place. She resided at one of the apartment complexes for teachers, near the school grounds. On the other side of Lidia Mikhailovna’s apartment building, lived our school principal in person. Coming there for me was pretty much like heading towards the execution dock. Sheepish and tightly wrapped by nature, baffled by every little mishap, I turned to stone and couldn’t breath in this tidy and cosy apartment. I had to be told to take off my coat, to walk into the room and sit down – I had to be moved around, like an object and forced to talk. All of this was not helping my linguistic skills. Strangely enough, here in the house we spent a lot less time on French than at school, where the second shift allegedly stopped us from studying. What’s more, Lidia Mikhailovna, doing something around the house, asked me questions or told me stuff about herself. I suspect it was specially for me that she made up this story how she had gone to study French at the university just because she had never been good at it at school and was determined to prove that she could do as well as the others…
…Lidia Mikhailovna must have been 25 years old or so, I remember her fine-featured but unexpressive face with lids, narrowed to cover the slight squinting; her tight smile rarely coming out in full bloom; the short black hair. With all that, her face didn’t have that rigidity that, as I have noticed over the years, every teacher eventually acquired, no matter how kind and poised they were. Her expression was a cautious, but cunning bewilderment, as though she looked at herself and asked: how did I end up here and what am I doing? Now my guess is that by then, she had had a chance to be married: her voice, her pace, gracious but confident, her act, – everything witnessed her courage and worldliness.

Strezhevoy, Oil-Rich Town in Tomsk region, West Siberia

Strezhevoy Oil Refinery, Ltd. engages in the distillation of crude oil. It produces diesel fuels. The company was founded in 1999 and is based in Strezhevoy, the Russian Federation.

Strezhevoy (Russian: Стрежево́й) is a town in Tomsk Oblast, Russia, located on the shores of the Ob River's canal. Population: 42,216 (2010 Census preliminary results);[3] 43,815 (2002 Census);[7] 43,348 (1989 Census).[8]

It was founded in 1966 as a settlement near the village of Strezhevaya and was granted town status in 1978.

Skolkovo: Russian 'Silicon Valey'

Russia aims to challenge renowned Silicon Valley with its own Skolkovo innovation center in the suburbs of Moscow. The modern center for research and development will be built in the village of Skolkovo located in the Odintsovo area, Moscow region. The Russian 'Silicon Valley' will host five different scientific communities next to the campus of Skolkovo Moscow School of Management, a top-level business school founded by leading Russian and international companies.
The idea to create a Russian equivalent of Silicon Valley was announced by President Dmitry Medvedev in March 2010. Russia has many talented and creative scientists working on the cutting-edge technologies in a variety of fields. In addition, there is a potential to create favorable conditions for "brains" from abroad. Building a high-tech hub for scientists and businesspeople in Skolkovo should help Russia to develop and commercialize new technologies in the right way.
Initially, Skolkovo will become a center of research and innovation in five directions that carry top priority for Russia - energy, IT, telecommunications, biomedicine and nuclear technologies. The territory of Skolkovo innovation center will host the branches of the largest corporations and the best graduate programs. It will provide tax incentives, easy access to new clients, and mechanisms to finance and sell new ideas. For all these reasons, the center is sometiems called "innograd" which means "innovation city" in Russian.
The Russian government considered a number of locations for the new high-tech town, including the city of Novosibirsk, Saint Petersburg, Obninsk and many other regions which already host large scientific communities. The choice of the village of Skolkovo might be explained by a number of reasons. First, it is on opportunity to start from scratch and create new conditions for the best people who will power the future of Russian economy. Second, Skolkovo is conveniently located in close proximity to the capital of Russia and such institutions as Moscow School of Management and the Center of Space Communication. In addition, the suburbs of Moscow have very efficient infrastructure which will further help the Russian government control the development and progress of its new ambitions project. ...

Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007)

Mstislav Rostropovich was a Russian cellist, pianist, conductor, pedagogue and political figure whose international performances and public appearances symbolized the struggle of intellectuals against the rigid Soviet Communism.
He was born Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich on March 27, 1927, in Baku, Azerbaijan, Soviet Union. His father, Leopold Rostropovich, was a notable musician and pedagogue of Polish nobility descent. His mother was a concert pianist of Russian-Jewish heritage. His teachers at Moscow Conservatory were Dmitri Shostakovich, and Sergei Prokofiev, and both became his main musical influences for life. In 1951 Rostropovich was awarded the State Stalin's Prize, after his numerous victories at international competitions and a growing stream of recognition and acclaim. in 1955 he married opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya who was a member of Bolshoi Theatre. At that time his stage partners were such musicians as Svyatoslav Richter and Emil Gilels along with his wife Galina Vishnevskaya.
In 1969 Rostropovich saved his friend, dissident writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn from prosecution. At that time Solzhenitsyn needed a place to hide from the Soviet authorities. An arrangement was made for Solzhenitsyn to live secretly at Rostropovich's dacha, a summer cabin outside of Moscow. This angered the Soviet Communists, and Rostropovich was banned from international tours and royalties. His performances in the Soviet Union were also banned, his income was drastically reduced, and his musical activity was limited to teaching. The Soviet authorities put severe pressure on Rostropovich by restricting his communication with the world and by ignoring his numerous invitations to perform at international festivals and competitions.
In 1974, after years of struggle with the Soviet dictatorship, Rostropovich fled the Soviet Union with his wife and two daughters, Olga and Elena. He became a much more relaxed person in exile, living the artistic freedom he had so longed for, and did not want to go back until the fall of the oppressive Soviet regime. In 1977 Rostropovich was appointed Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) in Washington, DC, the post he kept for the next seventeen years. Soon after Rostropovich became employed in the USA, his Soviet citizenship was revoked by Leonid Brezhnev in 1978. during the 1970s and 1980s Rostropovich enjoyed a very active concert career; he toured extensively as a cellist as well as an internationally acclaimed orchestra conductor and pedagogue. He also made numerous recordings of cello music and became recognized as arguably the world's best cellist of his time. Being also a good pianist, Rostropovich accompanied his wife, opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya on her numerous international concert tours.
In 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev restored their citizenship of Russia (then Soviet Union), allowing Rostropovich to return back home. His return happened during the most dramatic events of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. At that time Rostropovich joined the Russian President Yeltsin during the August coup of the hard-line communists against Mikhail Gorbachev. Eventually Rostropovich established himself as an internationally recognized cultural, political and intellectual figure of the new Russia. His music performances as well as his public statements were equally acclaimed and respected by all freedom-loving people.
Rostropovich returned to the new Russia and continued his career as a musician and public figure. He lived in his homes in Moscow and in St. Petersburg and remained active in cultural and political life. He died of a heart failure at the age of 80, on April 27, 2007, in Moscow, and was laid to rest in Novodevichy Semetery in Moscow Russia. His honors include: Recipient of Order of Service to the Fatherland medal of Russia (2007). Honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire, a Commander of the Legion of Honor of France, a Commander of the Phoenix Order of Greece, holder of the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Kennedy Center Honoree, the State Stalin's Prize (1951), the title People's Artist of the USSR (1956), and the Defender of Free Russia Medal (1993).

The Largest Theater In Russia

The Largest Theater In Russia: Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater is the most important theatre in Novosibirsk and Siberia. It was completed in February, 1944, the first performance being held on May 12th, 1945. It is the largest theater in Russia (larger than the Bolshoi … Read more...

Monday, 26 March 2012

Nikita Demidov - one of the first Russian entrepreneurs

Early spring of 1696 Peter the Great took a trip to the Russian town of Tula famous for its armouries. Numerous wars revealed all the weak points of Russian weapons: domestic industry yielded too much to European and the major part of weapon was imported from Holland and Sweden. The necessity to develop domestic metallurgy sector and related industries had appeared long time ago. In Tula Peter the Great inspected the metallurgical plant and its production and asked the workers to fix the gun made by a foreign craftsman. Surprisingly, one armourer repaired the gun as well as he managed to make its exact copy. The name of the master was Nikita Demidovich Antufyev.
Nikita Antufyev (also known as Demidov) was born in 1656 in a common peasant family. He came to prominence after Peter the Great visited that metallurgical plant in Tula. The Emperor didn’t forget about the talented craftsman and ordered to grant him some land and money enough to start his own business. Antufyev (Demidov) build a big iron-processing plant on the Tulitsa River and soon after that Russian arsenal received new guns of excellent quality and 12 times cheaper than those of Europeans. Demidov supplied iron and cast iron to St. Petersburg construction works along with other products necessary for army and fleet.
Here, it should be mentioned, that Peter the Great introduced several Acts providing domestic entrepreneurs with particular privileges. E.g. they were allowed to take interest-free loans to start business, were exempted from taxes and duties on production for a long period and didn’t have to go to the army (this privilege applied to all the members of the family).
The entrepreneur asked the Emperor to lease him a plant built in 1699 in the Ural on the Nevya River. The land was rich in minerals and gem stones, so the plant started to work as soon as the deal was made. Weapon and ammunition produced at the plant Demidov supplied to the Russian army during the North War of 1700-1721.
Later Demidov built Shuralinsky (1716), Byngovsky (1718) and some other plants in the Ural. In 1720 the Emperor gave the entrepreneur and his descendants the title of nobility.
Demidov proved to be a very successful businessman of his time: his fortune grew quickly and he became more famous with every passing year. By the end of the 18th century the industrial empire of the Demidovs included 55 plants and factories producing one third of the total amount of iron and cast iron Russia manufactured then. Besides obligatory deliveries of weapon and ammunition (amounting to 20% of all production) Demidovs’ plants provided the Russian market with sheet iron and various metal wares: mugs, jars, kettles and samovars.
After the death of Nikita Demidov, the family business devolved to his son Akinfy, who turned to be the true Demidov. His workers went up to the Altai Mountains and found rich deposits of silver; they learnt to work malachite and other Uralian gems, turning them into wonderful decorations, vases and caskets.

Juliana (Юлияна) - Uhuktuu (Awakening). Khomus music. Yakutsk, Yakutia

Juliana (Юлияна) - Uhuktuu (Awakening). Perfomance by khomus (mouth harp), the Yakut musical intrument. Yakutsk, Yakutia / Russia.

Juliana is a former member of Albina Degtyareva's Ayarkhaan enssemble. Now is perferming solo.

Tyumen, the Oldest Russian Settlement in Siberia

As a Russian city, Tyumen was established in 1586, when the first military mission sponsored by Russian Tsar and led by Ermak mainly to respond frequent attacks of Khan Kuchum, seized the city. Since that time Tyumen has been known as the "gateway to Siberia." For the past three centuries, up until the 1960s, Tyumen was a quiet provincial Siberian city. Most of its inhabitants lived in wooden houses along the Tura and Tyumenka rivers, for which it became known as the "capital of villages." Being a major transportation point to Eastern Siberia and Far East of Russia, Tyumen has experienced all major historical events in Russia. It has seen the Decembrists on their way to exile in Irkutsk, Tsar Nicholos II and his family to their final destination of Ekaterinburg, Revolution turmoil, Civil War, bloody uprisings against the new Bolshevik food policy (prodrazverstka), GULag prisoners, and more. During WWII Lenin's coffin was kept for safety reasons at the Regional museum of Tyumen. Many famous people were born or studied in Tyumen. Among them is the famous writer M. M. Prishvin. His essays about nature are filled with harmony and the art of word.



Tyumen Russland Februar 2003 045

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Invincible Nenets people of Russia's far north

Gas And Nomads In The Russian Arctic - Bovanenkovo ,Yamal Peninsula

Lots of beautiful photos from Yamal Peninsula.

Gas And Nomads In The Russian Arctic » The Russian Photos Blog

Bovanenkovo ,Yamal Peninsula, Russia © Jeremy Nicholl

Vladimir Vassiliev & Ekaterina Maximova - La Traviata

Legendary Ekaterina Maximova and Vladimir Vassiliev in the ballet scene from the 3rd Act of Franco Zeffirelli's production of Verdi's "La Traviata"

Ekaterina Maximova - Biography

Ekaterina Maximova is one of the most popular and beloved of the Russian ballerinas of the 20th Century. 

Born in Moscow on 1 February 1939 she studied at the Moscow Choreographic Institute under the distinguished ballerina Elisaveta Gerdt. An exceptionally talented student she was taken into the Bolshoi immediately on her graduation in 1958 having already danced the complete role of Masha in Vainonen'sNutcracker

Her creative biography is inseparably linked with that of Vladimir Vasiliev. They have been partners both professionally and privately throughout their adult lives. 

Early in her career at the Bolshoi she performed a few smaller assignments such as the peasant pas de deux inGiselle, Colombine in The Bronze Horseman, the Bell Dance in Act 2 of The Fountain of Bakhchisarai, which she danced in Galina Ulanova's farewell performance, but soon under Ulanova's guidance danced her first Giselle in 1960. 

However her first major success had already taken place in 1959 with the role of Katerina in The Stone Flower. This was her first meeting with choreographer Yuri Grigorovich and a collaboration which was last 20 years in which she danced a number of leading roles in his productions, most notably perhaps for western audiences Phrygia in Spartacus and Masha in The Nutcracker. These ballets, alongside Giselle were the backbone to many of the tours undertaken by the Bolshoi in the 1960's and 1970's. Her other main roles during this time at the Bolshoi were Kitri in Don Quixote and Cinderella in Zakharov's version of the fairy tale. She also danced Maria inThe Fountain of Bakhchisarai. In 1973 she added Juliet in Lavrovsky's version of the Shakespeare ballet to her repertoire. 

Whilst Maximova took an active role in the development of Soviet contemporary ballet, she is unique among the artists of the Soviet period in that she was able to guest widely with foreign companies appearing with great success in the works of Béjart, Cranko and Petit. 

She was always in great demand in Russia to work with the leading Russian choreographers. Maximova had a particular affiliation with the Moscow Classical Ballet. She performed the title role in Pierre Lacotte's Nathalieand also roles of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and Eve in The Creation of the World, both choreographed by Natalia Kasatkina and her husband Vladimir Vasilyov. 

Together with Vasiliev she toured independently from the main Bolshoi troupe from the early 1980's and took on many new roles created for her by her husband. Perhaps the greatest of all was her performance in title role of his full-length ballet Aniuta premiered on stage in 1986 based on a film recorded four years earlier. She enjoyed huge success with the Kremlin Ballet in Moscow in 1990 in the title role of his production ofCinderella

Since leaving the stage she has worked at the Bolshoi Theatre as a pedagogue, coaching the leading soloists in ballerina roles. Also since 1982 she has been on the faculty of dance at Moscow's GITIS institute. 

Maximova's artistry is complex and intense and she was adored worldwide. She can charm through the comic and light-hearted roles with her captivating smile alone. But that is an over simplification. She has an immense dramatic range shown by her success in roles as diverse as Nathalie and Juliet. But all of these qualities fuse together in the role of Aniuta, which perhaps tested her dramatic skills as an actress most completely. She has wonderful technical clarity, beautiful clean line, wonderful footwork and the ability to invest passion and drama into the smallest movements. Fortunately many of her roles have been preserved on film, often partnered by Vasiliev and prove a lasting document to her achievements and also to one of the greatest ballet partnerships in the history of dance. 

In October 2008 the Bolshoi Theatre celebrated the 50th anniversary of the career of Maximova and Vasiliev with a 5-day Festival, yet Maximova died suddenly in Moscow on April 28, 2009.

Geoff Whitlock

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Aleksandr Vvedensky: Kuprianov and Natasha

Kuprianov and his dear lady Natasha after walking those swinish guests to the door prepare for bed.
said, taking off his majestic tie
Frightening the dark the candle burns,
it has silver bones.
why do you stroll about yearning,
the guests are probably for certain long since gone.
I even forgot, Marousia,
o darling let us go to bed,
I want to dig around in you
in search of interesting things.
It’s not for nothing they say we have different constitutions.
(taking off her blouse)
Kuprianov, there’s little sense in this candle,
I fear it wouldn’t have lit up a poodle,
and there’s two of us here.
I fear I will howl
from anguish, passion, terror, thought,
I fear you o mistress shirt,
you that hides me within,
I am entangled in you like a fly.
(taking off his jacket)
Soon you and I, Natasha
will embark on our funny recreation.
The two of us, the two of us
will occupy ourselves with procreation.
We will become like tuna.
(taking off her skirt)
O God, I’m left without a skirt.
What am I to do in my painted pants.
Meanwhile on chairs stood goblets, rather silver and pert,
wine blackened like a monk
and the moribund worm twitched.
I resume.
I feel even shame.
I’m becoming naked like the sky,
nothing is visible as yet,
but soon a star will glitter.
It’s so disgusting.

(taking off his pants)
Soon I will rise by your side
almost naked like the tide.
As I recall,
at instances like these I felt enraptured
when I beheld a woman’s fountainhead
green or blue
but it was red.
I’d giggle myself blind
stroking the satin hemispheres of her behind.
Yes, I was happy.
And I thought woman is a reed,
she is almost human,
an unattainable duck.
Hurry up please.
(taking off her pants)
Shedding my plumage
I think of how I’m causing stimulation
to your olfactory glands
and optical nerves.
You gorge yourself upon my earthly image
and can foretaste the pleasure
of standing upon me like a tower two o’clock.
You glimpse the hair through my shirt,
divine the beating of my wave,
but why then does my mind cloud up,
I’m half asleep like boredom. ...
September 1931

Monday, 19 March 2012

Different Worlds. Photos By Dmitry Beliakov

Different Worlds. Photos By Dmitry Beliakov: A collection of photos taken by a photographer, military journalist, Dmitry Beliakov. Chechnya, Russia, Grozny, Desolated Mira street (Peace street) after 22 weeks of heavy bombardment, February 4th, 2000. Abkhazia, the Tkvarcheli region, Bridge over the Galidzga river, May 2008 … Read more...

Rodion Shchedrin: Concerto per pianoforte e orchestra n.2 (1966)

Rodion Shchedrin (*1932): Concerto per pianoforte e orchestra n.2 (1966) -- Nikolai Petrov, pianoforte -- USSR Symphony Orchestra diretta da Evgeni Svetlanov --

I. Dialogi. Tempo rubato
II. Improvizatsy. Allegro
III. Kontrasty. Andante

-- painting by Viktor Khudin

Composer Rodion Shchedrin on practice, technology and the secret of a long and happy marriage

Nationality is key to the art of composer Rodion Shchedrin. His operas and ballets are almost exclusively inspired by classic Russian literature.
Shchedrin’s works — both new creations and those written years ago — such as the ballets “Anna Karenina,” “The Seagull” and “The Little Humpbacked Horse,” and the operas “The Enchanted Wanderer” and “Dead Souls” are now being enthusiastically staged by Russian companies, with the Mariinsky Theater showing the biggest appetite.
Every month, local audiences can attend a Shchedrin work. Two upcoming options are “The Little Humpbacked Horse” on March 17 and “Anna Karenina” on March 31.
Born in Moscow in 1932 in the family of a composer and a lecturer on the history of music, Shchedrin was brought up in a classical music environment. He graduated from the Moscow Conservatory as both a pianist and composer, and often performed his piano works himself.
A self-confessed workaholic, Shchedrin likes to repeat an old joke: A man is walking around New York and asks for directions. “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” the man wonders. “Practice, practice and practice,” comes the reply.
“However talented one may be, skipping rehearsals is an absolute taboo,” the composer said. “To retain self-respect and the respect of your audiences, it is better to cancel a performance altogether than to perform a raw, under-rehearsed piece. And the older you become, the more rehearsal time you need. This is because the more professional you are, the more nuances you can work on.”
Without the slightest fear of appearing old-fashioned, Shchedrin admits he still composes without using any computer technology. All he needs, he says, is the right state of mind, a pen and a few sheets of paper.
“Of course, I am not entirely computer-illiterate: I can read and send emails and check out videos on YouTube, but that is about it,” the composer smiles. “I absolutely consciously stop there. Technology does not help my creative process. Rather, it distracts me.”
The composer is never apart from his mobile phone but his wife, the legendary ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, does not use one as she feels it interferes with her privacy.
“Technology does make me curious, but its involvement, or perhaps invasion in people’s private lives is at times somewhat scary. Also, you just can’t keep up with the tempo of these novelties replacing one another: You have just about learned how to use a gadget, and then it is declared outdated. How are you supposed to feel? Like a pathetic imbecile!”
Shchedrin finds it difficult to accept the term “contemporary music.” He feels a work of music is either good or bad, and modern composers, he argues, can simply be called living artists.
Valery Gergiev, artistic director of the Mariinsky Theater, is a fan of Shchedrin’s music. Since 2008, the company has given premieres of “The Enchanted Wanderer,” as well as of the ballets “Anna Karenina,” “The Little Humpbacked Horse” and “Carmen Suite.” The theater also sells a season ticket to a series titled “Shchedrin” that runs both at the theater itself and at the Mariinsky Theater Concert Hall, and features the composer’s symphonic works, ballets and operas, including the ballets “Anna Karenina” and “Carmen Suite.” And, of course, the company is now well-rehearsed in Shchedrin’s symphonic works, which it regularly performs both at home and on tour.
Shchedrin’s works will also be presented at the International Stars of the White Nights Festival that will run from the second half of May through mid-July at the Mariinsky Theater.
The question of what makes a good composer or how one becomes a composer is technical for Shchedrin. “I could say, get a degree in composition, and this would be a formal answer. But it is a true answer, because one needs to be born a composer. What you learn is how to use certain instruments that help you to write down your score or learn how to use a certain musical form or structure.” ...

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Grigory Sokolov — François Couperin, « Sœur Monique »

Grigory Sokolov (born April 18, 1950 in Leningrad)

In the 40 years since the 16-year-old Grigory Sokolov was awarded first prize at the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1966, the world has been blessed with what one American critic recently called "a kind of pianism, musicianship and artistry one thought had vanished forever". Championed at a young age by Emil Gilels and a prominent figure on the Russian music scene since his early teens, Sokolov has gained an almost mythical status amongst music-lovers and pianophiles throughout the world. He is considered by many today to be the world's greatest living pianist. Ever since his first major piano recital in Leningrad at the age of 12, Sokolov has amazed everyone again and again with the enormous breadth of his repertoire and his huge, almost physical musical strength. Using little pedal, and thus superior finger-work, he draws from the concert grand an immense variety of sounds; he has an unlimited palette of colours, a spontaneous imagination and a magical control of line. His interpretations are poetic and highly individual, and his rhythmic freedom and elasticity of phrase are perhaps unequalled among pianists today. Those who are used to his art are most particularly attracted by the naturalness of his performing manner, which is part of his artistic credo. His playing betrays no influence from past masters, his style and approach are entirely his own, and are completely unique. Whatever Grigory Sokolov performs, be it a Pavane of William Byrd, a Bach Fantasia, Chopin Mazurka or a Prelude of Ravel, it suddenly sounds completely new. Even a familiar Beethoven Sonata can be rediscovered as a new piece. But all this magic has its earthly roots: Sokolov knows more about a Steinway than many piano technicians, and before he sits down to play a strange instrument, he first examines its inner mechanics, taking it to pieces. He is used to studying for many hours every day, and even on the day of a concert, practices on stage for hours, “getting to know” the piano. That he prefers his CDs to be recorded live is not surprising, since he likes to capture the sacred moments of a real, live concert and avoid the sterile atmosphere of a studio. Grigory Sokolov is a regular guest of the most prestigious concert halls and festivals of Europe. He has performed in London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Madrid, Salzburg, Munich, Rome, New York, and worked with many of the world’s most prominent conductors including Myung-Whun Chung, Valery Gergiev, Trevor Pinnock, Neeme J?rvi, Herbert Blomstedt, Sakari Oramo, Alexander Lazarev, Moshe Atzmon, etc. He has worked with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, Munchner Philharmoniker, Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Philharmonia and Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Sokolov has made a number of live recordings for Melodya and Opus 111 labels. These include works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Schubert, Schumann, Scriabin, and Tchaikovsky. The most recent publication is a DVD directed by Bruno Monsaingeon filming a recital of Grigory Sokolov at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Kirill Eskov: The Last Ringbearer

Chapter 1

"No indeed! We are not strong,
But we know Peoples that are.
Yes, and we'll guide them along
To smash and destroy you in War!
We shall be slaves just the same?
Yes, we have always been slaves,
But you – you will die of the shame,
And then we shall dance on your graves!"
Rudyard Kipling
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
Winston Churchill

Part I – Vae Victis

(«Woe to the vanquished» (Latin) – see
«Gold is for the mistress – silver for the maid –
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.»
«Good!» said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
«But Iron – Cold Iron – is master of them all.»
Rudyard Kipling

Chapter 1

Mordor, Hutel-Hara sands
April 6, 3019 of the Third Age
Is there a sight more beautiful than a desert sunset, when the sun, as if ashamed of its whitish daytime fierceness, lavishes a bounty of unimaginably tender and pure colors on its guests? Especially good are countless shades of purple, which turn dunes into a charmed sea – don’t miss those couple of minutes, they will never happen that way again… Or the last moment before sunrise, when the first light of dawn interrupts in mid-movement the staid minuet of moon shadows on the lacquered hardtops – for those dances are forever hidden from the uninitiated, those who prefer day to night… Or the never-ending tragedy of the hour when the power of darkness begins to wane and the fuzzy clusters of the evening constellations suddenly turn into prickly icy crumbs, which by morning will rime the bronzed gravel of the hamada?
It was at such a midnight hour that two men moved like gray shadows along the gravelly inner edge of a sickle-shaped gap between two low dunes, and the distance between them was exactly that prescribed by the Field Manual for such occasions. However, contrary to the rules, the one bearing the largest load was not the rear ‘main force’ private, but rather the ‘forward recon’ one, but there were good reasons for that. The one in the rear limped noticeably and was nearly out of strength; his face – narrow and beak-nosed, clearly showing a generous serving of Umbar blood – was covered with a sheen of sticky sweat.
The one in the lead was a typical Orocuen by his looks, short and wide-faced – in other words, the very ‘Orc’ that mothers of Westernesse use to scare unruly children; this one advanced in a fast zigzagging pattern, his every movement noiseless, precise and spare, like those of a predator that has scented prey. He had given his cloak of bactrian wool, which always keeps the same temperature – whether in the heat of midday or the pre-dawn chill – to his partner, leaving himself with a captured Elvish cloak, priceless in a forest but utterly useless here in the desert.
But it was not the cold that bothered the Orocuen right now: listening keenly to the silence of the night, he cringed as if with toothache every time he heard the crunch of gravel under the unsure feet of his companion. Sure, to run into an Elvish patrol here, in the middle of the desert, would be almost impossible, and besides, for Elves starlight is not light at all, they need the moon… Nevertheless, Sergeant Tzerlag, leader of a scouting platoon of the Cirith Ungol Rangers, never relied on chance in his work, and always tirelessly repeated to new recruits: «Remember this, guys: the Field Manual is a book where every jot and tittle is written with the blood of smartasses who tried to do it their way.» This must have been how he managed to lose only two men during the entire three years of the war, and in his own estimation he was prouder of that than of the Medal of the Eye, which he received last spring from the Commander of the South Army. Even now, home in Mordor, he behaved as if he was still on an extended raid on the Plains of Rohan; although, what kind of home is it now, really?..
A new sound came from behind – something between a moan and a sigh. Tzerlag looked back, estimated the distance, and, dropping his sack such that not a buckle clanged, made it to his companion just in time. The man was slowly sagging, fighting unconsciousness, and passed out the moment that sergeant grabbed him under the arms. Silently cussing, the scout returned to his sack to get the flask. Some partner, dammit… useful like a doorstop…
«Here, drink some, mister. Feeling worse again?»
The moment the prone man got a couple of swigs down, his whole body convulsed with tortuous gagging.
«Sorry, Sergeant», he muttered guiltily. «Just wasted water.»
«Don't worry about it, the underground collector is really close now. What did you call that water then, Field Medic, sir? Some funny word.»
«You live, you learn. Alright, water’s not our worry. Leg giving out again?»
«Afraid so. Listen, Sergeant… leave me here and make for that nomadic camp of yours – you said it was close, like fifteen miles. Then come back. If we run into Elves, we're both done for. I'm not good for much now…»
Tzerlag thought for a while, drawing signs of the Eye in the sand. Then he smoothed out the sand and rose decisively. ...