For May 2018, some of us contributing to #ClassicsaDay decided to mark May Day. Reason enough to post works by Soviet composers. I decided to go a little farther with my #SovietaDay posts and concentrate on Soviet prize winners.
Here are the posts I shared for week 2.
Arkady Filippenko (1912-1983 – String Quartet No. 2 in D major
Filippenko served in the Red Army during WWII. Afterward, he helped organize the Ukrainian Composers Union. His second string quartet, which represented the struggles of the Soviets during the war, won the Stalin Prize in 1948.
Otar Taktakishvili (1924-1989) – Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor
In the West Taktakishvili is best-known for his Sonata for Flute and Piano. In the East, it’s his Anthem of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. His Piano Concerto No. 1 won the Stalin Prize in 1950.
Andriy Shtoharenko (1902-1992) – In Memory of Lesya Ukrainka, symphonic suite
Though barely known or performed in the West, Shtoharenko was an important teacher and composer in the USSR. Lesya Ukrainka was one of the leading writers of the Soviet Union. Like Shtoharenko, she was from Ukraine. “In Memory of Lesya Ukrainka” won the Stalin Prize in 1952.
Reinhold Glière (1875-1956) – The Bronze Horseman, Op. 89a (Ballet Suite)
“The Bronze Horseman” is a 1949 ballet based on a story by Pushkin. The story is set in St. Petersberg, and the final number, “Hymn to the Great City” was adopted as its anthem. The music won a Stalin Prize in 1949.
Vissarion Shebalin (1902-1963) – String Quartet No. 5 “Slavonic” Op. 33
Shebalin studied with Glière and Myaskovsky and was one of the founders of the Union of Soviet Composers. His fifth string quartet, as did much of his work, incorporate nationalist folk elements. It won the Stalin Prize in 1943.