Arapov, Boris (Alexandrovich)

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Arapov, Boris (Alexandrovich)

Arapov, Boris (Alexandrovich), eminent Russian composer and pedagogue; b. St. Petersburg, Sept. 12, 1905; d. there, Jan. 27, 1992. He was a scion of an intellectual family; his grandfather was a lawyer; his father was a naturalist. He spent his childhood in Poltava, where he received his early musical training. In 1921 the family returned to St. Petersburg (later renamed Petrograd) and he studied composition with Shcherbachev at the Cons, there, graduating in 1930. He was appointed to its faculty as an instructor (1930) and later prof. (1940). Among his pupils were many Soviet composers of stature, including Dmitri Tolstoy, Falik, Uspensky, Banshchikov, Knaifel, and Sergei Slonimsky. The years 1941–44 Arapov spent in Tashkent, in Uzbekistan, where the entire faculty of the Leningrad Cons, was evacuated during the siege of Leningrad. There he studied indigenous folklore, and wrote an Uzbeki opera, Khodja Nasreddin. After the siege was lifted, Arapov returned to Leningrad, resumed his pedagogical duties, and continued to compose. In 1955–56 he was in China, where he wrote several works on Chinese themes. In 1959 he visited Korea, and composed a sym. using the pentatonic Korean modes. Arapov’s compositions represent to perfection the evolutionary character of Soviet music, taking their source in the Russian traditions of the previous centuries, making ample use of ethnic materials of the constituent regions of the immense territory of the U.S.S.R., and integrating the native homophonic melorhythms in an increasingly complex tapestry of colorful fabrics, richly ornamented with occasional application of such modern devices as dodecaphonic melodic structures. However, Arapov was also able to produce a virtuoso display of instrumental techniques for piano and other instruments.


DRAMATIC: Opera: Khodja Nasreddin (Tashkent, April 1944); Frigate Victory, after Pushkin (radio premiere, Leningrad, Oct. 12, 1959); Rain, after Somerset Maugham (concert perf., Leningrad, April 25, 1968). ballet:The Picture of Dorian Gray (1971; concert perf., Leningrad, April 20, 1973). OTHER: Film scores. ORCH.: Fugato (Leningrad, Feb. 2, 1928); Tadzhihistán Suite (1938; Leningrad, Feb. 13, 1939); 6 syms.: No. 1 (1947), No. 2 (1959; Leningrad, Oct. 2, 1960), No. 3 (1962; Leningrad, March 20, 1963), No. 4 for Narrator, 2 Soloists, 2 Mixed Choruses, and Orch. (1975; Leningrad, June 29, 1977), No. 5 (1981; Leningrad, Nov. 1, 1982), and No. 6 for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1983; Leningrad, Sept. 14, 1985); Russian Suite (Leningrad, March 11, 1950); Violin Concerto (1964; Leningrad, April 18, 1965); Concerto for Orchestra (Leningrad, April 1969); Concerto for Violin, Piano, Percussion, and Chamber Orch., in memory of Stravinsky (1973; Copenhagen, Feb. 21, 1974); 4 Preludes and Fugues by J.S. Bach for Chamber Orch. (1986); symphonic poem (1987). CHAMBER: Sonata for Solo Violin (1930); 3 Pieces on Mongolian Themes for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano (1943); Violin Sonata (1978); Quintet for Oboe, Horn, Harp, Viola, and Cello (1979); Horn Sonata (1981); Cello Sonata (1985); Decimet for 10 Instruments (1986). Piano: Variations (1929); Humoresque (1938); 6 Pieces on Chinese themes (1955); Étude–Scherzo (1969); 4 sonatas (1970, 1976, 1988, 1990); 3 Pieces (1976). VOCAL: Vocal symphonic cycle for Tenor, Baritone, and Orch. (1937; Leningrad, Dec. 27, 1940); Dzhelal Eddin, oratorio (Tashkent, Dec. 26, 1944); Songs of Protest, suite for Bass and Jazz Orch. (radio premiere, Feb. 12, 1940); 4 Songs to texts by Alexander Blok (1948); Monologue for Baritone, Trumpet, Percussion, and Piano (1969); Sonnets of Petrarca, song cycle for Mezzo–soprano and Piano (1975); 4 Seasons of a Year for Soprano, Tenor, and Instruments (1977); 2 Monologues for Voice and Piano, to texts by Boris Pasternak (1979); Vocal Cycle for Mezzo–soprano and Instruments, after Russian poets (1988).


A. Kenigsberg, B. A. A. (Moscow and Leningrad, 1965); L. Danke, B. A. (Leningrad, 1980).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire