Donald Macleod examines the music and lives of two Russian composers, both of whom fell foul of Stalin's regime, Nikolai Myaskovsky and Nikolai Roslavets.
Neither Myaskovsky nor Roslavets started out as musicians. Donald Macleod finds out what they were doing in their early careers and how they managed to move into the world of music.
Myaskovsky and Roslavets were progressive composers, they both helped set up an Association of Contemporary Music in Moscow, while Roslavets devised a completely new system of tonality. Join Donald Macleod as he attempts to get to grips with 'the synthetic chord'.
The years of civil war in Russia from 1917 to 1920 were appalling, many composers including Prokofiev left while they could. However, Myaskovsky and Roslavets stayed.
Despite opposition from those who felt that music's goal in the new regime was to be both understood and performed by the masses, the pair enjoyed, for a few years, the freedom to compose as they pleased. With Donald Macleod.
Myaskovsky: Grillen Nos 1 and 6
Sergei Prokofiev (piano)
Myaskovsky: Symphony 6 in E flat minor (4th mvt)
Slovak National Opera Choir
Czech Slovak Symphony Orchestra
Robert Stankovsky (conductor)
Roslavets: Piano Sonata No 5
Marc Andre Hamelin (piano)
Myaskovsky: Symphony No 13 in Bb minor, Op 36
Russian Federation Academic Symphony Orchestra
Evgeny Svetlanov (conductor).
As Stalin took over the reins of power in the Soviet Union, arguments between musicians as to what post-revolutionary music should be were over, as refusal to go by State-dictated guidelines for composition could be fatal.