СИЛЬВЕСТРОВ, Валентин Васильевич (1937, Киев) - украинский композитор.
Учился в Киевской консерватории у Б.Лятошинского (1958-64). Около 1961 одним из первых в СССР освоил серийную технику, позднее и другие приемы авангардного письма, в том числе пуантилизм, сонористику и алеаторику. К середине 1960-х стал одной из самых заметных фигур советского авангарда; имя Сильвестрова получило известность за рубежом. За монументальную 3-ю симфонию (Эсхатофония) он был удостоен американской премии им. Н.Kусевицкого (1967). Независимая позиция Сильвестрова вызывала раздражение у официальных кругов, и он был на некоторое время исключен из Союза композиторов Украины.
С начала 1970-х в музыке Сильвестрова появляются элементы полистилистики (Драма для фортепиано, скрипки и виолончели, 1971, Медитация для виолончели и камерного оркестра, 1972). С середины 1970-х Сильвестров культивирует неоромантический стиль, который он сам именует "слабым". В его музыке на первый план выходят простые тональные гармонии, проникновенные тихие звучания. От пуантилистического прошлого сохраняется такая черта стиля Сильвестрова, как чрезвычайно высокая степень детализации всех параметров музыкальной ткани (фактуры, артикуляции, ритма). Среди самых значительных произведений 1970-90-х - 1-й струнный квартет (1974), Тихие песни (24 песни для голоса и фортепиано на слова классических поэтов, 1974-77), 4-я симфония (1976), Кантата на стихи Т.Шевченко для хора a cappella (1977), Лесная музыка для сопрано, валторны и фортепиано, слова Г.Айги (1978), 5-я симфония (1982), Exegi monumentum - симфония для баритона и оркестра, слова Пушкина (1987), Widmung (Посвящение) - симфония для скрипки и оркестра (1991, написана для Г.Кремера), Метамузыка для фортепиано и оркестра (1992), Диптих для хора (на слова молитвы Отче наш и текст Завещания Шевченко, 1995), Вестник для струнных и фортепиано (1997), Реквием (2000).
Birth: Sep 30, 1937 in Kiev, Ukraine
Genre: Orchestral, Symphony, Keyboard, Concerto, Chamber Music, Vocal Music, Choral
"Music is still song, even if one cannot literally sing it: it is not a philosophy, not a world-view. It is, above all, a chant, a song the world sings about itself, it is the musical testimony to life." - Valentin Silvestrov
It's not at all hard to hear the image of a "world singing itself its own song" in Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov's works. His string quartets, his songs, and his masterful symphonies all radiate with the slow steady force of a rotating planet, spinning lonesomely in the void. The notion that these vast, lethargic bodies sing to themselves as they turn, and we hear their music as a symphony or song cycle, admittedly carries an aspect of Romantic fancy to it. But the image also voices a serious metaphor for Silvestrov - the concept of "meta-music," a music which hovers around, above, and especially after all other musics, like an atmosphere encircling a post-apocalyptic globe. Silvestrov has written much about the idea of "coda" and "epilogue" in his music, that place in which there is "a gathering of resonances, a form which is open." This coda-state is for Silvestrov "not the end of music as an art, but the end of music, an end in which it can linger for a very long time. It is very much in the area of the coda that immense life is possible." Hence Silvestrov's "metaphorical style" from the 1970s onwards: a body of slow, lovely, and astoundingly detailed "postludes," emanating the air of a Mahler adagio through vast waves of time and subtle decay.
Valentin Vasil'yevich Silvestrov was born in Kiev, Ukraine, on September 30, 1937, arguably the darkest year in the Russian history. He came rather late to music, beginning study at 15, first privately and then at an evening music school. By 1955, he graduated with a gold medal and enrolled at the Kiev Institute of Construction Engineering; but three years later Silvestrov began serious pursuit of music at the Kiev Conservatory, studying with Lyatoshyns'ky and Revutsky. Even with earliest works like the Piano Quintet (1961), Silvestrov was already drawn to the dramatic potential in contrasting strong tonality with strong atonality; in his massive Third Symphony "Eskhatofoniya" (1966), this preoccupation with polarities took the form of "cultural" (strictly notated) sounds and "mysterious" (improvised) ones. The place of magic and invocation - those elements that always defy material, that arise only in the process and afterwards - began to rest more firmly in Silvestrov's works.
1971's gigantic Drama for piano trio - "virtually a clinical study of an artistic crisis," Silvestrov's biographer writes - was a breakthrough work. And it was beginning in 1973 that Silvestrov embarked on his "metaphorical" or "allegorical" style, strongly reminiscent of late-Romantic cliche, to which he still adheres today - "metaphorical" because Silvestrov knows these sounds to be irrefutably "past" and has no interest in merely "resurrecting" them; and "allegorical," because Silvestrov wishes to use this music obliquely, as an estranged means rather than a predictable end.
Silvestrov's Symphony No. 5 of 1982 is perhaps an ideal symbol of this style: in its three-quarter-hour cycle of nine slow movements, it "recycles" a whole world of banal, almost kitschy melodies on its scarred, cloudy surface. But underneath this floating music lies a tremendous complexity, both technically and emotionally; the accumulative expressive effect is undeniable and unexpected. Malcolm MacDonald perhaps put it best when he wrote that the "Russian sense of lamentation...reaches in Silvestrov a new expressive stage: he seems to compose, not the lament itself, but the lingering memory of it, the mood of sadness that it leaves behind."
- Seth Brodsky (All Music Guide)
Valentin Silvestrov was born in 1937. He studied piano at the Kiev Evening Music School (1955-58), and composition, harmony and counterpoint at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Kiev from 1958 to 1964. Silvestrov was alert from the outset to new compositional approaches, and an individual lyricism and melodic feeling have been hallmarks of his work through all periods of his artistic development, irrespective of musical styles or systems employed. Together with Leonid Grabovsky, he counts as the leading figure of the "Kiev Avant-garde", which by 1960 was experimenting with 12-tone and aleatoric music and music theatre, in contradistinction to the generally conservative mood of Ukrainian composition.
His early work was briefly heard outside the Soviet Union in the late 1960s: Bruno Maderna conducted Silvestrov's Third Symphony in Darmstadt in 1968, and Boulez presented his work in one of the Domaine Musical concerts. By this point, however, Silvestrov was already distancing himself from dominant trends in modern music.
In 1969 Silvestrov re-evaluated the meaning of his music, as he examined the relationship between historical culture on the one hand and the magical, primitive and perpetual dimension of inspiration on the other. "This is where Silvestrov's music takes a highly interesting and distinctive turn. It becomes impregnated with a slow expressive confidence and exhibits greatly prolonged melodic lines in a post romantic climate that is often reminiscent of Gustav Mahler" (Frans C. Lemaire).
Silvestrov was one of the first composers from the former Soviet Union to cast aside what might be called the "conventional" gestures of the avant-garde, as well as any sense of formulaic "experimentalism". As he has perceptively noted, "the most important lesson of the avant-garde was to be free of all preconceived ideas - particularly those of the avant-garde." This perspective led to the development of an idiom which Silvestrov would eventually come to call "metaphorical style" or "meta-music".