Dzerzhinsky, Ivan (Ivanovich)

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Dzerzhinsky, Ivan (Ivanovich)

Dzerzhinsky, Ivan (Ivanovich), Russian composer; b. Tambov, April 9, 1909; d. Leningrad, Jan. 18, 1978. He went to Moscow and studied piano with Yavorsky at the First Music School (1925–29) and composition with Gnessin at the Gnessin Music School (1929–30). He then went to Leningrad to pursue training in composition with Popov and Riazanov at the Central Music School (1930–32) and with Asafiev at the Cons. (1932–34). While still a student, he composed his first opera, Tikhiy Don (Quiet Flows the Don). After its failure in an opera competition, he sought the assistance of Shostakovich, who helped him to revamp the score. It received its premiere in Leningrad on Oct. 22, 1935. After Stalin attended a performance of the work in Moscow on Jan. 17, 1936, the Soviet propaganda machine was set in motion to proclaim it a model for the development of the so-called “song opera” in the socialist realist manner. Dzerzhinsky’s limited compositional gifts frustrated him in repeating this signal success, although he continued to compose a large catalog of music. He held various administrative positions with the Union of Soviet Composers from 1936, serving on its central committee from 1948.


DRAMATIC Opera : Tikhiy Don (Quiet Flows the Don; 1932–34; Leningrad, Oct. 22, 1935; rev. version, Leningrad, Nov. 7, 1947); Podnyataya tselina (Virgin Soil Upturned; Moscow, Oct. 23, 1937; rev. version, Perm, May 30, 1964); Volochayevskiye dni (Volochayev Days; 1939); Groza (The Storm; 1940–55; concert perf., Moscow, April 17, 1956); Krov naroda (The Blood of the People; 1941; Orenburg, Jan. 21,1942); Nadezhda Svetlova (1942; Orenburg, Sept. 8, 1943); Metel (vzimnyuyu noch) (The Blizzard [on a Winter’s Night]), comic opera (Leningrad, Nov. 24,1946); Knyaz-ozero (The Prince Lake), folk opera (Leningrad, Oct. 26,1947); Daleko ot Moskv’i (Far from Moscow; Leningrad, July 19, 1954; rev. version, Leningrad, Nov. 8, 1954); Sudba cheloveka (The fate of a Man; 1959; Moscow and Leningrad, Oct. 17, 1961); Grigori Melekhov (Leningrad, Nov. 4, 1967). OTHER: Incidental music; film scores. ORCH.: 3 piano concertos (1932, 1934, 1945); Povest o partizane (Tale About a Partisan), symphonic poem (1934); Ermak, symphonic poem (1949). OTHER: Many vocal works; piano pieces.


O. Tompakova, Ocherk o zhizni i tvorchestve LI. D. (Study of the Life and Work of I.I. D.; Leningrad, 1964); S. Aksyuk, ed., I. D.: Stati, vospominaniya (I. D.: Articles, Reminiscences; Moscow, 1988).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire