Vyacheslav Artyomov

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Vyacheslav Artyomov.Photo by Dmitri Smirnov

Vyacheslav Petrovich Artyomov (Russian: Вячесла́в Петро́вич Артё́мов; born June 29, 1940 in Moscow) is a Russian and Soviet composer.

Biography[edit]

Artyomov was preparing to become physicist, studying music at the same time. He finished the musical college affiliated to the Moscow Conservatory (composition class of A. Pirumov), then graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1968 where he studied composition with Nikolai Sidelnikov[1] and piano with Tovi Logovinsky. He became a member of the Union of Composers and ACM - Association for Contemporary Music. He was active as an editor at the Moscow publishers "Musyka"[1] for several years.
In 1975, he joined the improvisation group "Astreya" together with the composers Sofia Gubaidulina and Viktor Suslin.[1] In 1979, he was blacklisted as one of the “Khrennikov's Seven” at the Sixth Congress of the Union of Composers for unapproved participation in some festivals of Soviet music in the West.
His music was performed by M.Rostropovich, G.Rozhdestvensky, D.Kytaenko, V.Fedoseyev, M.Pletnyov, V.Spivakov, T.Currentzis, Virko Baley, D.Alexeev, S.Bunin, F.Kopachevsky, L.Isakadze, T.Grindenko, Yo-Yo Ma, A.Rudin, O.Yanchenko, L.Petrova.
He was a participant in many European musical venues since 1979. Festivals of his music: "Festival of the Premiers" (Moscow, 1994), "Artyomov-Festival" (Amsterdam, 1997). His works were nominated for the State Prizes in Russia and prestigious prizes in the US. They appeared on 29 CDs in USA, GB, Germany and Russia. His Selected Works began to be published in 2000 in Moscow (8 volumes were issued). Artyomov is an Actual Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, President of the Foundation for Spiritual Creation, and holder of the Order of Friendship (2010). "Man of the year - 2016".

Music[edit]

Artyomov's compositions show his interest in the archaic ("Incantations", "Totem") and Christian motifs ("Requiem", "Ave, Maria") as well as Eastern meditation ("Awakening", "A Symphony of Elegies", "Moonlight Dreams"). As a young composer, he developed a profound interest, successively, in Russian folklore, traditional music of the East, works of Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Messiaen, and the Polish avant-garde. But it was Arthur Honegger’s Symphonie Liturgique, as well as the works of Edgar Varèse and Sinfonia by Luciano Berio that made the greatest and most lasting impression on him.

Artyomov prefers not to call his music by such an indeterminate word “contemporary”; he uses a specific term for including it into the Tradition “musica perennis” (eternal music). This Tradition has as its subject expressing first of all the poignancy of emotional experience, the most secret depth of man’s existence – not for a psychological task but for the achievement of the super-real being. As the composer says, “music is the only way for the cognition of the sense of existence”.

Artyomov considers music a science – concentration of soul experience – and, side by side with astrophysics, - one of two main fundamental sciences: astrophysics broaden the horizon of knowledge of the Universe, and music exposes the profundity and strength of human’s spirit, his interconnection with the World’s Soul (Anima Mundi). Music is “a mediator between God and man”, “a concentrate of spiritual energy, which should awaken man’s ethical understanding and purify his soul” (“Foundation of the Philosophy of Music”).

Both cycles of symphonies – Symphony of the Way and The Star of Exodus are written in a new significant, sublime and sweet style - stile nuòvo grande, sùblime e soave.

“Artyomov has absolutely clear and unique composer’s image. .. Artyomov brings glory to our country and to Russian art”. (Mstislav Rostropovich, September, 1990).

“Artyomov would appear to be just the sort of composer whose appearance is especially timely at this point in the life of his country… His music and his artistic outlook in general reflect the questing for a new order of spiritual values as well as a new regard for individuality”. (Richard Freed. ”Kennedy Center Stagebill”, September, 1990).

“I am under an incredible impression, almost a shock, produced by all that I found in his inexhaustible scores… Each sound in Artyomov’s music comes from the heart, the soul, the nerves, - it is fine melodics, it is a kind of heavenly magic, which drives you up – to purity, self-perfection, beauty…” (Dmitri Kitayenko, November,1988).

“What we are witnessing is music that dares simply to exist, shining like the sun, allowing us to bask in its warmth… The first part of the tetralogy, the Way to Olympus, is stunning… Artyomov’s On the Threshold of a Bright World is even more rare – it is a work of genius…” (Octavio Roca. “The Washington Times”, September 24, 1990).

“Artyomov is outstanding composer. His Requiem has raised Russian music to the unattainable previously height. I’m sure it is due to Artyomov that we have not only reached the European level in this genre, but surpassed its acmes – Requiems by Mozart and Verdi”. (Tikhon Khrennikov, 1988).

“What cannot be emphasized too strongly is the nobility and sincerity of genuine spirituality which informs so much of Artyomov’s art. It is an astounding creation, occupying a unique place for its composer and for Russian music in the last quarter of the 20th century”. (Robert Matthew-Walker. "Elegies" CD by Olympia, 1993).

“In the age of minimalism and abstraction Artyomov stands apart – his music is created to serve a greater purpose, much in the same way as the later works of Scriabin and the music of Messiaen”. (Stephen A.Whealton. “Way to Olympus” CD by Mobile Fidelity, 1989)

“Artyomov now is the only composer creating serious monumental compositions of tremendous strength and beauty. He is Bruckner of the 21st century.” (Teodor Currentzis, 2011)

“Artyomov is justification of the Russian music of our days” (Eduard Hayrapetian, 2011)

″Vyacheslav Artyomov is considered by many to be Russia's greatest living composer... His music is deep, ultimately spiritual and brilliantly crafted, with influences from the Russian symphonic tradition colored by Mahler, Honegger and Messiaen to name a few - but melded into a unique voice″. (Kathryn Marshall. "Divine Art", 2016).

"Artyomov writes big, ambitious tunes; listening to his music — and also on this Way to Olympus CD -- we always feel small; Artyomov is a being who understands and has mastery of the universe while we are merely hairless monkeys on a speck of dust on the distant tip of the Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way". ([JMC."The Chronicle", Thursday, 13th September, 2018. www.chronicleseries.co.uk]).

Works[edit]

  • Symphony of the Way (tetralogy):
Way to Olympus, a symphony 1978–1984
On the Threshold of a Bright World, a symphony 1990, 2002, rev.2013
Gentle Emanation, a symphony 1991, 2008
The Morning Star Arises, a symphony 1993
  • Requiem, 1985–1988;
  • The Star of Exodus (trilogy):
In Memoriam,a symphony with violin solo 1968, 1984
In Spe, a symphony with violin and cello solos 1995–2014
  • Gurian Hymn, 1986
  • A Symphony of Elegies, 1977
  • A Garland of Recitations, 1975–1981
  • Tristia I, 1983
  • Pietà, 1992, 1996
  • Tristia II, 1997, 1998, rev. 2011
  • Latin Hymns:
Miserere mei, 2003
Ave,Maria, 1989
Salve Regina, 2003
Ave Maris Stella, 2003
  • Star Wind, 1981
  • Hymns of Sudden Wafts, 1983
  • Incantations, 1981
  • Moonlight Dreams, 1982
  • Maltese Hymn Ave, Crux Alba, 1994, 2012

Discography[edit]

  • CDBMR011129 - Vyacheslav Artyomov: Requiem Moscow Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra - Boheme
  • CDBMR002124 - Vyacheslav Artyomov: - Ave - Boheme
  • CDBMR010127 - Vyacheslav Artyomov: Awakening, Concert of the 13, Morning Songs & A Garland of Recitations - Boheme
  • OCD514 - Vyacheslav Artyomov: Invocations Lydia Davydova/Mark Pekarsky/Percussion Ensemble - Olympia
  • OCD516 - Vyacheslav Artyomov: Way Various - Olympia
  • OCD 515 – Vyacheslav Artyomov: Elegies - Olympia
  • MFCD 903 – Vyacheslav Artyomov: Gurian Hymn, Incantation, Way to Olympus - Mobile Fidelity
  • MFCD 918 – Vyacheslav Artyomov: Songs, Hymns and Dreams – Mobile Fidelity
  • 74321 56261 2 – Vyacheslav Artyomov: Lamentations, Gurian Hymn, Tristia I, Way to Olympus – BMG
  • SLR0027 - Astreya (Artyomov, Gubaidulina, Suslin)- Solyd Records
  • dda 25143 — Vyacheslav Artyomov: Gentle Emanation, Tristia II — T.Currentzis, V.Ponkin, Ph.Kopachevsky, RNO — Divine Art
  • dda 25144 — Vyacheslav Artyomov: On the Threshold of a Bright World, Ave atque vale, Ave, crux alba — V.Ashkenazy, R. Sharayevsky, NFOR — Divine Art
  • dda 25164 – Vyacheslav Artyomov: Sola Fide, Scenes from the ballet – D.Kitayenko, Moscow Philharmonic – Divine Art
  • dda 25171– Vyacheslav Artyomov: Way to Olympus, Gurian Hymn, Preludes to Sonnets, Concert of the 13 – T.Minbayev, D.Kitayenko, G.Rozhdestvensky, Anton Batagov, USSR State Symphony, Moscow Philharmonic, Soloists of the USSR State Symphony -- Divine Art
  • dda 25172 - Vyacheslav Artyomov: A Symphony of Elegies, Awakening,Incantations - T.Grindenko, O.Krysa, L.Davydova, M.Pekarsky percussion ensemble, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, S.Sondeckis -- Divine Art
  • dda 25173 - Vyacheslav Artyomov: Requiem - Soloists, Sveshnikov Boys’ Chorus, Victor Popov | Kaunas State Chorus, Piatris Bingialis | Moscow Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Dmitri Kitaenko

Last Recordings[edit]

  • Vyacheslav Artyomov: Gentle Emanation, Tristia II RNO,T.Currentzis,V.Pon'kin,Ph.Kopachevsky - by FSC (2010)
  • Vyacheslav Artyomov: On the Threshold of a Bright World, Ave Atque Vale, Ave,Crux Alba NFOR,V.Ashkenazy,R.Sharayevsky - by FSC (2013)
  • Vyacheslav Artyomov: In Spe, Latin Hymns – I.Pochekin, A.Buzlov, N.Pavlova, Yurlov Coral Capella, RNO, V.Uriupin - by FSC (2018)

Quotations from the last Reviews[edit]

Surprise! This is a fully developed voice in new music, someone who has carried over the mysterious cosmos of late Scriabin and Messiaen and made something new out of the unrealized potentials that lurked behind those composers' most prescient creations. Artyomov speaks to me, in elegant and vivid eloquence. The Russian National Orchestra under conductors Teodor Currentzis and Vladimir Ponkin bring this complex and very personal music into vivid relief against the seeming silence of the universe. Artyomov travels in the wake of those before and manages to say something new and different. That is a remarkable achievement and he most certainly deserves a hearing. All you modernists and seekers of the new look no further, at least today. Give a listen to Vyacheslav Artyomov on this very moving sample of his work. It gives us another way to thread the futurist needle. And bravo to that!

        Grego Applegate Edwards (“Gapplegate Classical Modern Music”, February 16, 2017)

“This on a macro [scale] , it making the listener think of the vastness of space. Both [symphonies] are monumental in ambition, and in sound, making any review a little trite. Both CDs certainly make an impression. The sleeve notes explain some of what's going on but Vyacheslav Artyomov demands (in all senses of the word) the listener to make an effort. It's compulsive listening. They're both out on Divine Art, which lives up to its mission statement (“Innovative, Eclectic, Fascinating, Inspirational”) with these CDs.

                        Jeremy Condliffe (The Chronicle) – joint review with dda 25143)

“Vyacheslav Artyomov is a distinctive and important voice in Russian music. These impressive symphonies are like momentous journeys, full of incident and emotion and the most wonderful ideas. The performances are all that you could wish for making these two discs valuable releases.” - Bruce Reader (The Classical Reviewer)

Two of those symphonies make welcome appearances here in characterful performances, vividly recorded. There is an unmistakable sense of a journey travelled and of emotional states transfigured into spirit. All the performances here are terrific and Robert Matthew-Walker's booklet-notes argue at passionate length for Artyomov's uniqueness and importance.” - David Fanning (Gramophone) – joint review with dda 25144

“[The Symphony] is an engaging work that makes a considerable impact. Predominantly underpinned by low, resonant sound from the basses and organ, one senses the work is depicting the aspects of the universe. Ave atque vale is a gratifying work that can engage the listener with reasonable concentration. Ave Crux Alba is weighty and highly dramatic. Under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia has full measure of the work conveying a sense of mystery and an impressive overall grasp. This album of works by Vyacheslav Artyomov, one of Russia's unsung composers, make a substantial impression with his unique soundworld.” - Michael Cookson (MusicWeb)

“World premiere recordings of two major works by Russian composer Vyacheslav Artyomov, completed by the short transcription of the Maltese Hymn in excellent performances conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy. The expressive music is good for an interesting discovery." (award 4/5 stars) – Norbert Tischer (Pizzicato, Luxembourg)

“These two symphonies (parts of a tetralogy) are unlike The Planets , unless you think of them as uber-Holst: they cause a visceral reaction and suggest a metaphysical cri de coeur … they embody mystery and the unknown. They are both accessible…” - Vanessa Wells (The Whole Note) – joint review with dda 25144

“The Symphony On the Threshold of a Bright World is in 18 continuous episodes, separately tracked. A surreal and even psychedelic ambience is the order of the day. It is like a Dali dreamscape in constant and meltingly waxy motion. There is some glorious writing. The short Ave, Crux Alba - The Order of Malta Hymn - is sensationally grand and strides - never struts. It makes a huge sound accentuated by a lively acoustic. The sound is good and carries the whispers and grand climactics with satisfying fidelity. There is certainly plenty to intrigue and enthral.” – Rob Barnett (MusicWeb)

“Gentle Emanation is in 28 continuous episodes and three sections. The music flickers and pounds like a huge metal stamping machine. There's more than a touch of Messiaen's wildness about this and those shivering Scriabinisms, already commented on in the symphony On the Threshold of a Bright World , are also present. Tristia II was written to mark the sixtieth birthday of Vladimir Ashkenazy. It's highly unconventional and the first and last tracks incorporate Nikolai Gogol's supplicatory prayer to some angel-custodian, here voiced at quarters close and warm by Mikhail Philippov. Very knowledgeable notes.” – Rob Barnett (MusicWeb)

“ With Currentzis the [Symphony] is interpreted by a conductor who sees Artyomov as the 21 st century's Bruckner. Correspondingly he develops the piece with intensity and effectiveness for its whole duration. The emphasis of this composition {Tristia II] however, is on the piano part, which blends naturally in the orchestral movement. The Russian national orchestra is an established, successful body which devotes itself expertly to Artyomov's work. With Ponkin and even more so with Currentzis they found conductors, who are able to shape the large forms and create tension which persists. Pianist Kopachevsky mastered the piano part with excellence.” (awarded 5 stars) - Uwe Krusch (Pizzicato)

“Impressively annotated, impeccably produced, neatly packaged.. The music in both these CD's and the composer deserve wider exposure outside Russia. Artyomov's music is mystical, Russian at the core. He is a master of orchestral writing and of unusual instrumentation. Many of his melodies have their roots in old Slavonic chant. A most unusual talent whose day has yet to come insofar as the American concert-going audience is concerned.” - Rafael de Acha (Rafael Music Notes)

“ This large-scale work—with its huge dynamic range, its bouts of gnarled Bergian harmonies, its vehement percussion outbursts, its anguished strivings, its Messiaenic bird-chattering in the woodwinds, its Schoenbergian flutter-tonguing—is far closer to neo-Expressionism than it is to anything by the so-called New Spiritualists. Tristia II... is shorter, gentler, and more hypnotic, a piece that's apt to whisper as often as Gentle Emanations is to scream. Both works get what sound like committed performances—and the sound is no obstacle.” – Peter J. Rabinowitz (Fanfare )

This symphony (Gentle Emanation) is unmistakably serious and spiritual, and its many colorful or even exotic details (for example, the almost Middle Eastern wind writing in Episode 5, and elsewhere, and a variety of bird calls—including a cuckoo— in Episode 13) prevent the music from seeming grim, even though there are no smiles here.

The remaining four episodes ( On the Threshold) seem to serve as a conciliatory postlude, and here, Artyomov's writing becomes increasingly beautiful. The closing minutes of the symphony are very moving.

Ave, Crux Alba is the most immediately impressive work on these two CDs. Artyomov has created a strong and noble melody for the chorus, and dressed it in splendid orchestral garb. "Wrong" notes and harmonies intensify the emotional impact. In concert, this would get a standing ovation. ovation. It wouldn't be bad at the end of the Hollywood movie, either. The chorus is solid as a rock. — Raymond Tuttle (Fanfare)

Way to Olympus is a complex, thoughtful and ultimately satisfying symphony. If it had a chance, I believe it could be one of the ‘great’ examples of this genre for our time.

Gurian Hymn is a gorgeous work that is both inspiring and thoughtful. The concept of the four disparate layers working out their own destiny is memorable and moving.

Vyacheslav Artyomov’s music parallels the beauty of the sonnets, with its emphasis on the everlasting cycle of life and death. Preludes to Sonnets remind me of late Scriabin; truly stunning.

                                                      John France (MusicWeb International, 2018)

A Symphony of Elegies - this profound and essentially unique work can equally be seen as a musical equivalent of Eastern meditation, in its mostly un-rhythmic flow in which time and movement seem to lose meaning, the two solo violins in their highest register creating a vision of observation from above. It is an astounding creation, occupying a unique place for its composer and for Russian music from the last quarter of the 20th century. Artyomov is undoubtedly a successor to Scriabin: inhabiting a mystical world, certainly, but one founded upon natural, basic principles, which at its most compelling illuminates aspects of human existence in a way not approached by any other composer.

                                  Robert Mathew-Walker (notes for A Symphony of Elegies CD, 2018)

"Symphony: The Way to Olympus." It is a beautifully paced, sprawling and highly evocative sound poem for orchestra, here recorded some time ago but sounding gloriously well…I hear a penetrating inwardness and a contrastingly outward skyrocketing elation to the music. The work is very dramatic, moving, original… Artyomov on the basis of this volume and the others comes before us as a tragically underappreciated Modern master, a Russian Ives in terms of creating beautifully advanced music in spite of social neglect and isolation. His time has come.

                              Grego Applegate Edwards (Classical Modern Music. 18.07.2018)

Music that is by turns riotously colourful, knowingly confrontational and profoundly moving. This fascinating disc provides a decent starting point for listeners keen to investigate the strangely diffuse but parallel worlds of a Russian composer whose oeuvre seems consistently unpredictable. While the riotous Symphony gets the top billing, I would actually dare to suggest that the deeply impressive Gurian Hymn is well worth the disc’s asking price on its own.

                                            Richard Hanlon (MusicWeb International, July, 2018)

This recording of the two suites, in particular, served as an excellent introduction to the work of Artyomov and encouraged me to seek out of his Requiem and his symphony On the Threshold of a Bright World. Having heard these I shall certainly be on the lookout for further recordings of works by this composer who “is the only composer now creating serious monumental compositions of tremendous strength and beauty. He is Bruckner of the 21st century.” (Teodor Currentzis, conductor).

                                            editor@iclassical.co.uk (iClassical, July 31,2018)

It is always interesting to encounter works by composers with whom one is unfamiliar and on this occasion it was truly stimulating and has set me on the road to exploring further treasures by Artyomov. There seems to be a genuine spirituality and sense of dignity underlying his works and if you are prepared to listen attentively you will find this music communicates with you in a most direct manner. A revelation!

                                            editor@iclassical.co.uk (iClassical, July 31,2018)

Vyacheslav Artyomov’s one-movement symphony (Way to Olympus) is the atmospheric centrepiece of this disc – the layering of sounds is hypnotic and the effect is powerful!

                                                  Freya Parr (BBC Music Magazine, September,2018)

Bibliography[edit]

Artëmov, Vjačeslav; V. Mud'jugina (2004): Vjačeslav Artëmov. Muzyka, Moskau. ISBN 5-7140-0177-X. [Booklet, Russian and English]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c McBurney (1992)

References[edit]

  • The New Grove dictionary of music and musicians.Vol.2.London.2001
  • The International Who's Who in Classical Music 2003. Europa Publications.London.2003
  • Andreas Kloth (2009): Der russische Komponist Vjačeslav Artëmov: Ein Beispiel für die politisch und gesellschaftlich bedingte Rezeption nonkonformistischer sowjetischer Komponisten. Die Blaue Eule, Essen. ISBN 3-89924-244-0
  • Gerard McBurney “Vyacheslav Artyomov” in Contemporary Composers (Chicago & London: St. James Press, 1992)
  • M. Lobanova. Vyacheslav Artyomov: Tempo costante. Konzert fǖr Orchester. In: Das Orchester, 12/1993.
  • Robert Matthew-Walker (1997): The music of Vyacheslav Artyomov: an introduction. St Austell. ISBN 1-898343-06-3
  • M. John. Auf dem Wege zu einer neuen Geistigkeit. Verlag Ernst Kuhn. Berlin.1996
  • M. Tarakanov. Vyacheslav Artyomov in search of artistic truth. In: Tsenova, Valeria. Underground Music from the USSR. Harwood Academic Publishers. Amsterdam. 1997

External links[edit]