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Popular Singers in this Opera Recording

Video Recording from: YouTube     FULL VIDEO          Qries

Information on the Performance
Information about the Recording
  • Date Published: 1995  
  • Format: Broadcast
  • Quality Video: 3 Audio:3
  • Subtitles: nosubs  
  • Video Recording from: YouTube     FULL VIDEO

Georgy Vasilyevich Sviridov (Russian: Гео́ргий Васи́льевич Свири́дов; 16 December 1915 – 6 January 1998) was a Soviet and Russian neoromantic composer. He is most widely known for his choral music, strongly influenced by the traditional chant of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as his orchestral works which often celebrate elements of Russian culture.

Sviridov employed, especially in his choral music, rich and dense harmonic textures, embracing a romantic-era tonality; his works would come to incorporate not only sacred elements of Russian church music, including vocal work for the basso profundo, but also the influence of Eastern European folk music, 19th-century European romantic composers (especially Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky), and neoromantic contemporaries outside of Russia. He wrote musical settings of Russian Romantic poetry by poets such as Mikhail Lermontov, Fyodor Tyutchev, and Alexander Blok. Sviridov enjoyed critical acclaim for much of his career in the Soviet Union and Russia.

Early life and youth
Sviridov was born in 1915 in the town of Fatezh in the Kursk Governorate of the Russian Empire (present-day Kursk Oblast) in a family of Russian ethnicity. His father, Vasily Sviridov, a Bolshevik sympathizer during the Russian Civil War, was killed when Georgy was four. The family moved to Kursk, where Sviridov, still in elementary school, learned to play his first instrument, the balalaika. Learning to play by ear, he demonstrated such talent and ability that he was accepted into the local orchestra of Russian folk instruments. He enrolled in a music school in 1929, and following the advice of his teacher, M. Krutinsky, went to Leningrad in 1932, where he studied piano at the Leningrad Central Music College, graduating in 1936. From 1936 to 1941, Sviridov studied at the Leningrad Conservatory under Pyotr Ryazanov, then Dmitri Shostakovich. Mobilized into the Red Army in 1941, just days after his graduation from the conservatory, Sviridov was sent to a military academy in Ufa, but was discharged by the end of the year due to poor health.

Musical legacy
In 1935, Sviridov composed a cycle of lyrical romances based on the poetry of Alexander Pushkin which brought him first critical acclaim. During his studies in Leningrad Conservatory, 1936–1941, Sviridov experimented with different genres and different types of musical composition, such as his Piano Concerto No. 1 (1936–1939), Symphony No. 1 (1936–1937), and the Chamber Symphony for Strings (1940). Later Sviridov would turn to Russian musical heritage, including folk songs, for inspiration.

Among Sviridov’s most popular orchestral pieces are the “Romance,” “Waltz,” and “Winter Road” from his suite The Blizzard, musical illustrations after Pushkin (1975), that were extracted from his score for the eponymous 1964 film based on the short story from Pushkin’s The Tales of the Late Ivan Petrovich Belkin. A short segment from his score for the 1965 film Time, Forward! (Время, вперёд!) was selected as the opening theme for the main evening TV news program Vremya (Время, ‘time’) and became a staple of Soviet life for several generations.[citation needed]

Poetry always occupied an important place in Sviridov’s music. He composed songs and romances to the lyrics of Mikhail Lermontov (1938, 1957), Alexander Blok (1941), William Shakespeare (1944–1960), Robert Burns (in Russian translation, 1955). Despite the popularity of Sviridov’s instrumental works, both the composer himself and the music critics regarded vocal and choral music to be his main strengths. Oratorio Pathétique (1959) after Vladimir Mayakovsky has been called[by whom?] a masterful musical rendering of one of the most popular Russian revolution poets. Sviridov’s prolific vocal chamber and vocal symphonic output includes the oratorio To the memory of Sergei Yesenin (1956), Little Cantata Wooden Russia (1964) after Yesenin, Cantata Songs of Kursk (1964), Spring Cantata (1972) after Nikolay Nekrasov, songs, romances, and cantatas after Fyodor Tyutchev, Sergei Yesenin, Alexander Blok, Boris Pasternak, Alexander Prokofyev, Robert Rozhdestvensky. He also wrote one opera, Twinkling Lights (1951).

While Sviridov’s music remains little known in the West, his works received high praise in his homeland for their melodies, national flavor, and expression of Russia and the Russian soul. His piece Winter Road was allegedly plagiarized by Tappi Iwase and used as the theme for the popular video game series Metal Gear Solid.

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