Showing posts from February, 2016

Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes - Documentary

Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes

Giselle with Natalya Bessmertnova and Mikhail Lavrovsky

Natalia Bessmertnova
Mikhail Lavrovsky
Galina Kozlova
Vladimir Levashov
Algis Zhuraitis - Conductor

Nikolay Argunov (1771- after 1829) - brief biography

Nikolay Argunov was born in 1771. His father was the famous painter Ivan Argunov. He was the serf of the count P.Sheremetyev as his farther. During his trips abroad P.Sheremetyev was taking the painter with him and Nikolay was able to perfect his skill. P.Sheremetyev granted him freedom later on.

N. Argunov  was staying mainly in Moscow and was engaged in paint of many portraits. Was granted the title of the "appointed academician" for his portrait of "unknown person" by the Academy of Fine Arts in 1816. And was granted the title of academician for the portrait of the senator P.Runich (in the hall of the academy board). Portraits of N. Argunov  can be seen very often. There are several portraits of the members of the family of the count P.Sheremetyev (in estates Ostankino and Kuskovo, near Moscow, as well as in the estates of the counts A. and S.Sheremetyev in Saint Petersburg), "Portrait of Boy" in the estate of the prince V.Argutinskiy-Dolgorukov, portrai…

Svetlana Zakharova and Roberto Bolle - Giselle (complete)

Teatro Alla Scala 2005

Roberto Bolle - Albrecht
Svetlana Zakharova - Giselle
Marta Romagna - Myrtha
Vittorio D'Amato - Hilarion
David Coleman - Conductor

Mussorgsky: Khovanshchina

Khovanshchina Musorgsky (Shostakovich)
E. Svetlanov Bolshoi
Mark Reizen
Maya Plisetskaya (1:35:00)
Aleksej Krivchenya
Anton Grigoryev
Director Vera Stroeva
Shostakovich orchestration

Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition

Sir Georg Solti - Chicago Symphony Orchestra 1980

David Burliuk - Biography

David Davidovich Burliuk was born on 9th (21) July, 1882 into the family of an amateur agriculturist. As a child he lost his left eye in a fight with his brother. So he had one glass eye, which became a part of his artistic image. In 1898—1910 he studied in art colleges in Kazan and Odessa. He also studied painting in Germany and France. The artist made his debut in press in 1899.

Having returned to Russia, in 1907—1908 Burliuk mixed with leftward artists and participated in art exhibitions. In 1911—1914 he studied together with Vladimir Mayakovsky in the Moscow Painting, Sculpture and Architecture School.

Possessing outstanding managerial abilities, David Burliuk quickly accumulated the main powers of futurism. With his direct assistance numerous books of poetry were published, prospects issued, exhibitions and public debates arranged. During World War I David Burliuk was not subject to drafting due to his glass left eye. He lived in Moscow, had his verses published, contributed for…

Shorter notice - Alexander Blok

Certain poets don the mantle of their art only when writing; others, such as the Russian Symbolist Aleksandr Blok (1880–1921), are unceasingly the poet. For his contemporaries, Blok was a mystical figure; his poems, vatic and eschatological. Disposed against the middle way, Blok’s eye scaled the empyrean or plummeted to harsh earthly realities. Likewise marked by extremes has been Blok’s literary reputation: referred to by some as the greatest of twentieth-century Russian poets, Blok is seen by others as a fatuous follower of the revolution. His most famous and controversial poem, “The Twelve,” an ironic, dissonant hymn to the October uprising, was taken by Soviet critics as proof of Blok’s sympathy. Yet it was not Marxism but Blok’s otherworldly idealism—with its characteristic polarities —that brought him first to support, then to reject out of bitter disillusionment, the revolutions of 1905 and 1917. (He would not live to see the resulting repression which engulfed his literary com…

Igor Stravinsky - Documentary


Stravinsky: The Last Interview

Thou shalt not kill; but need’st not strive
Officiously to keep alive.

—Arthur Hugh Clough (March 1-2, 1971)
NYR: What are your thoughts about the new euthanasia movement, Mr. Stravinsky? I.S.: First of all, I noticed on their appeals that the two leading promoter organizations share the same building as The New York Review; which, I hope, affords you a little cold comfort now and then. I hope, too, that they are merely passing the hat around, and that the contribution they want is not me. Surely many or most of us believe that when we lose control, it would be better not to come in from, but rather, like Eskimos, to go out into the cold. The rub is that we also lose control of that belief. A friend of mine, a lifelong proponent of “voluntary death,” was stricken some years ago by paralysis which, however, apart from some speech impairment, did not cripple his faculties. His friends, knowing his state of awareness, expected a quick surrender, since he obviously could have given up the ghos…

Vladimir Solovyov : Epitaph

Lies in this sepulcher.
   Once a philosopher
   And now a skeleton.
   To some he was kind,
   To many an enemy;
   But, having loved madly,
   He plunged into a ravine
   And lost his mortal soul,
   Not to mention body:
   The devil ransomed it,
   The dogs ransacked him.
Passerby! Learn from this example,
How malignant love and beneficial faith.

 15 June 1892

Anna Akhmatova: Prayer

Give me comfortless seasons of sickness,
Visitations of wrath and of wrong
On my house; Lord, take child and companion,
And destroy the sweet power of song.

Thus I pray at each matins, each vespers,
After these many wearying days,
That the storm-cloud which broods over Russia
May be changed to a nimbus ablaze.

Singer Iris DeMent's Homage to Soviet Poet Anna Akhmatova

Few poets stood higher on Joseph Stalin’s hit list than Anna Akhmatova, the Soviet doyen of reverie and suffering who was born near the Black Sea in 1899 to an upper-class family. Like many in her literary milieu before the Russian Revolution, she revolted against drowsy symbolism and became a poet of spiritual clarity and of simplicity—but she always resisted the characterization of her poems as the work of a seductive poetess or a counter-revolutionary. She preferred to consider herself a poet of the soul. Certainly, the architects of Soviet ideology, first under Lenin and later under Stalin, thought of her that way and set about trying to stop her from writing poetry of refined self-awareness. Censors accused her of flirting with mysticism and eroticism and lacking political conviction. As early as 1921, nine years after Akhmatova published her first book of poems, the Cheka arrested her former husband, Nikolai Gumilev, who was a charismatic figure in Russian poetry before 1917 and…

Anton Chekhov to Gorky, a Letter

YALTA, February 15, 1900. DEAR ALEXEY MAXIMOVITCH, Your article in the Nizhni-Novgorod Listok was balm to my soul. What a talented person you are! I can’t write anything but belles-lettres, you possess the pen of a journalist as well. I thought at first I liked the article so much because you praise me in it; afterwards it came out that Sredin and his family and Yartsev were all delighted with it. So peg away at journalism. God bless you! Why don’t they send me “Foma Gordeyev”? I have read it only in bits, and one ought to read it straight through at a sitting as I have just read “Resurrection.” Except the relations of Nehludov and Katusha, which are somewhat obscure and made up, everything in the novel made the impression of strength, richness, and breadth, and the insincerity of a man afraid of death and refusing to admit it and clutching at texts and holy Scripture. Write to them to send me “Foma.” “Twenty-six Men and a Girl” is a good story. There is a strong feeling of the environment…

Velimir Khlebnikov: The naked freedom is coming

The naked freedom is coming
Casting flowers on our hearts
And, keeping in step, with heaven
We talk, having equal rights.
We, soldiers, will strike in a strict way
At stern shields with our hands:
Let the people become the king now,
Forever, in all lands!
Let maidens sing at the windows
Amid the songs of the ancient campaign
About the Sun’s true people – The autocratic men. Translated by Alexandr Zorin

BBC: Great Composers Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky's musical scores are lyrical, romantic and deeply emotional.
This film endeavours to put the composer in context alongside Tolstoy as one of the most celebrated Russians of his time, examining his continuing significance in Russia today, and visiting locations which were important in Tchaikovsky's life. His life is scoured to reveal an abortive marriage, his true feelings about homosexuality and how this may have been expressed in his music.
Contributors include pianists Mikhail Rudy and Yevgeni Kissin, violinist Maxim Vengerov, conductor Valery Gergiev, ballerina Natalia Makarova, opera director Graham Vick and the Tchaikovsky-loving tram driver, Valentina.

Pride and Poetry - Joseph Brodsky

Joseph Brodsky caught the attention of the outside world for the first time in 1964, when he was tried in Leningrad for the crime of writing poetry. That is not how the indictment read, of course: his “crime” was that he did not have a regular job, and was therefore a “parasite.” But a scurrilous article attacking Brodsky in the Evening Leningrad newspaper not long before his trial gave the game away. He was charged with being a “literary drone,” a writer of pointless doggerel, and therefore useless to society unless he was made to do “real” work. The newspaper attack and the subsequent trial were badges of honor for someone as young as Brodsky. He was only twenty-four and virtually unknown outside the narrow circle of his admirers, and campaigns of this sort were ordinarily reserved for famous older figures, such as Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova.

Brodsky was in fact the victim of political events far beyond his control. Khrushchev’s “Thaw” experiment of 1956–1962, designed, among…

Boris Pasternak: ‘February. Take ink and weep,’

February. Take ink and weep, write February as you’re sobbing, while black Spring burns deep through the slush and throbbing. Take a cab. For a clutch of copecks, through bell-towers’ and wheel noise, go where the rain-storm’s din breaks, greater than crying or ink employs. Where rooks in thousands falling, like charred pears from the skies, drop down into puddles, bringing cold grief to the depths of eyes. Below, the black shows through, and the wind’s furrowed with cries: the more freely, the more truly then, sobbing verse is realised.

The Arts in Russia Under Stalin

In the autumn of 1945 Isaiah Berlin, then an official of the British Foreign Office, visited Russia for the first time since he had left it in 1920, aged eleven. It was during this visit that his famous meetings with Anna Akhmatova and Boris Pasternak took place.1 At the end of his period of duty Berlin wrote a remarkable long memorandum, to which he gave the characteristically unassuming title “A Note on Literature and the Arts in the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic in the Closing Months of 1945.”2

He was modest, too, about the content of his report. He enclosed a copy of it with a letter dated March 23, 1946, to Averell Harriman, US ambassador to the USSR. In the letter, written from the British embassy in Washington, he told Harriman: “I enclose a long and badly written report on Russian literature etc. which I am instructed to forward to you by Frank Roberts [British Minister in Moscow]. I doubt whether there is anything in it that is either new or arresting—here only J…

Dmitri Shostakovich: Katerina Izmailova with Galina Vishnevskaya

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) 
Katerina Izmailova (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) 
A film by Mikhail Shapiro, 1966 English subtitles 
Screen play and libretto by Dimitri Shostakovich, after the novel "Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk," by Nikolai Leskov. 
Directed by Mikhail Shapiro. 
A Lenfilm Production.

Katerina . . . . . .Galina Vishnevskaya
Sergei . . . . . . . A. Inotemtsev (sung by V. Tretyak)
Zinovy . . . . . . . N. Boyarsky (sung by V. Radziyevsky)
Boris . . . .. . . . A. Sokolov (sung by A. Vedernikov)
The Imbecile . . . R. Tkachuk (sung by S. Strezhnev)
Sonetka . . . . . . T. Gavrilova (sung by V. Reka)

Chorus and Orchestra of the Shevchenko Opera and Ballet Theater, Kiev. Conducted by Konstantin Simeonov.

Nikolai Leskov: The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk

If “The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” is the best known of Nikolai Leskov’s works outside Russia, that is owing mainly to the opera Dmitri Shostakovich made of it in 1934. Like Soviet critics of the time, Shostakovich saw the heroine as the embodiment of protest against a corrupt and stultifying bourgeois society and therefore justifiable in her actions, if not exactly innocent. To make that reading more persuasive, he eliminated the third and most terrible of her crimes. Andrzej Wajda did not go so far in his film version, A Siberian Lady Macbeth (1962), but he did make the third victim a selfish and manipulative little creature and therefore “deserving” of his fate. Leskov’s story allows for no such simplifying social explanations. It is a dramatic portrayal of the amoral, ambiguous, elemental force of sexual passion, as intense in its heat as in its coldness. In stylistic directness and narrative concentration, it is unique among his works. He wrote it while visiting relatives in Kiev, …

Anna Akhmatova: Teacher – In Memory of Innokenty Annensky

And the one whom I think of as the teacher Passed like a shade and left no shadow. He drank all the torpor, all the poison, And waited himself in vain for fame. He who was the omen, and the portent, Had compassion for all, breathed their torment, He himself, endlessly suffocated…..