Shchedrin, Rodion (Konstantinovich)

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Shchedrin, Rodion (Konstantinovich)

Shchedrin, Rodion (Konstantinovich), brilliant Russian composer; b. Moscow, Dec. 16, 1932. His father was a music theorist and writer. After piano lessons in childhood, he attended the music and then choral schools (1948–51) attached to the Moscow Cons. He subsequently took courses in piano with Yakov Flier and composition with Yuri Shaporin at the Cons. (1951–55), where he subsequently taught (1965–69). Following graduation, he achieved great recognition within the accepted Soviet establishment. He also wrote about current trends in Soviet music in official publications, and held several significant posts within the Composer’s Union, including chairman of the Russian Federation section (from 1974). Shchedrin received many awards, and was made a People’s Artist of the U.S.S.R. (1981). In 1989 he was elected to membership in the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. His music has wide appeal, artfully employing numerous pseudomodernistic devices; particularly interesting among his compositions are the aleatoric second Sym., the prepared encore for the first Piano Concerto, and his ballets Anna Karenina and Carmen Suite, which incorporate music by earlier composers (Tchaikovsky and Bizet, respectively). He was married to the ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, for whom he wrote several ballets.

Works

(all first perf. in Moscow unless otherwise given): DRAMATIC: Opera : Not for Love Alone (Dec. 25, 1961; also for Chamber Orch., 1971); Dead Souls, after Gogol (1976; June 7, 1977); Lolita (1994). B a 1 1 e t : The Little Humpback Horse (1955; March 4, 1960); Carmen Suite (April 20, 1967); Anna Karenina (1971; June 10, 1972); The Seagull (1979; rev. 1980). OTHER: Incidental music to plays; film scores. ORCH.: 5 piano concertos: No. 1 (Nov. 7, 1954; rev. version, May 5, 1974), No. 2 (1966; Jan. 5, 1967), No. 3, Theme and Variations (1973; May 5, 1974), No. 4, Sharp Keys (1991; Washington, D.C., June 11, 1992), and No. 5 (Los Angeles, Oct. 21, 1999); 2 suites from The Little Humpback Horse (1955, 1965); 2 syms.: No. 1 (Dec. 6, 1958) and No. 2, 25 Preludes (April 11, 1965); 5 concertos: No. 1, Naughty Limericks (Nov. 17, 1963), No. 2, The Chimes (1968; Leningrad, Dec. 24, 1973), No. 3, Old Russian Circus Music (1988; Chicago, Oct. 25, 1990), No. 4, Khorovody (Round Dances; Tokyo, Nov. 2, 1989), and No. 5, Four Russian Songs (1998); Suite from Not for Love Alone (1964); Symphonic Fanfares, festive overture (Nov. 6, 1967); Anna Karenina, Romantic music (Oct. 24, 1972); The Nursery, transcription of Mussorgsky’s song cycle (Stockholm, March 5, 1972); Solemn Overture (Dec. 1982); Self-Portrait (1984); Music for the Town of Kothen for Chamber Orch. (1985); Music for Strings, Oboes, Horns, and Celesta (1986); Geometry of Sound for 18 Soloists (Cologne, April 28, 1987); Sotte voce, cello concerto (London, Nov. 8, 1994); Kristallene Gusli (Nov. 21, 1994); Concerto cantabile for Violin and Strings (1998). CHAMBER : 2 string quartets (1951, 1954); Suite for Clarinet and Piano (1951); Piano Quintet (1952); Chamber Suite for 20 Violins, Harp, Accordion, and 2 Double Basses (1961); The Frescoes of Dionysus for Nonet (1981); Musical Offering for Organ, 3 Flutes, 3 Bassoons, and 3 Trombones (Oct. 21, 1983); Musical Offering for Organ and Wind Instruments (1985); Echo Sonata for Solo Violin (Cologne, April 28, 1987); Russian Tunes for Cello (1990); Menuhin Sonata for Violin and Piano (1999). P i a n o : 2 Études (1949); Festivity on a Collective Farm (1951); 9 Pieces (1952–61); Variations on a Theme of Glinka (1957); Toccatina (1958); Sonata (1962); 24 Preludes and Fugues (1970); Polyphonic Book (1972); Notebook for Youth (1982); Hommage à Chopin for 4 Pianos (1983); numerous other solo pieces. VOCAL: Ukrainian Night Is Quiet (1950); 13 Russian Folk Songs (1950); 12 Choruses (1950–70); Song and Ditties of Varvara (1961); Bureaucratiade, cantata based upon rules of a boarding house (1963; Feb. 24, 1965); 3 Solfège Exercises (1965); 2 Laments (1965); Poetica= Poetoria, concerto for Narrator, Woman Soloist, Chorus, and Orch. (Feb. 24, 1968); Lenin Lives in the People’s Heart (1969; Feb. 6, 1970); The Song of Pugachev (1981); 6 Stanzas from Eugene Onegin (1981); Concertino for Chorus (1982); Prayer for Chorus and Orch. (March 7, 1991); Long Life for Chorus, Piano, and 3 Percussionists (1991).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire