Belarusian Composers and Classical Music
Belarus was always on the cross-roads of different armies. The turmoil of wars disrupted many time normal development of Belarusian culture. It is as hard to trace a single timeline of Belarusian history as it is to write the history of Belarusian culture. Nevertheless we will attempt to collect here the history of Belarusian classical music and its main figures. This is a living page you are welcome to send your comments and additions.
Y. Golland, E. Van-zhura, M. Radzivil, R. Vardotsky (opera "Apollo the Legislator, or Reformed Parnassus").
XIX- Early XX century:
From the beginning of the 19th century in large cities (Vitebsk, Grodno, Minsk, Mogilev) city orchestras acted, plays were staged ("Recruitment" and "Peasant Woman" by S. Moniuszko to libretto of V. Dunin-Martsinkevich). Composers A. Abramovich, M. Yelsky, F. Miladovsky, N. Orda, etc. were creating at that time.
Some historical accounts from heavily biased toward Soviet propaganda official Belarusian sources:
"V. Zolotaryov, pupil of N. Rimski-Korsakov, who headed the composers' education at the conservatoire. Among his students were outstanding composers: A. Bogatyryov, P. Podkovyrov, L. Abeliovich, D. Lukas, V. Olovnikov.
The pre-war years witnessed active creative activity of N. Aladov, Y. Tikotsky, N. Churkin, G. Pukst. Operas "Mikhas Podgorny" by Y. Tikotsky, "In Polesye Virgin Forest" by A. Bogatyryov, ballet "Nightingale" by M. Kroshner became bright events of cultural life.
During the Great Patriotic War the Belarusian people went through heaviest ordeals possible. Fight against the fascist occupation became the main subject of musical art. Creation of cantata "To Belarusian Partisans" (text by Y. Kupala) by A. Bogatyryov, opera "Alesya" about national avengers by Y. Tikotsky (libretto by P. Brovka) became prominent.
In the post-war period the pedagogical activity of A. Bogatyryov as a tutor of the majority of Belarusian composers of subsequent generations became extremely relevant. They are Y. Glebov who is intensively working in all musical genres, but has gained special recognition in the genre of ballet: "Alpine Ballad", "The Elect", "Tyhl Uhlenspiegel", "Little Prince"; A. Mdivani who addresses in his works to historical subjects [ballet "Passions" ("Rogneda")]; V. Soltan who created a remarkable opera "Wild Hunting of King Stakh". Its staging received a broad public resonance.
In the genre of songs V. Olovnikov, Y. Semenyako, I. Kuznetsov, I. Luchenok, Y. Glebov, V. Budnik, E. Zaritsky and many others are working successfully. In 1980s-1990s works of spiritual music appeared (L. Shleg, V. Kopytsko, A. Bondarenko).
A significant cultural event of the latest years was awarding in Paris of the Benois de la Dance Prize to V. Yelizariev, Art Director of the National Academic Theatre of Ballet for the best choreography in the world-wide ballet art of 1996. The Prize was awarded for staging of the "Passions" ballet of the Belarusian composer A. Mdivani dedicated to the topic of national history. This ballet was also marked by the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus. Distinctive events of ballet and opera art were premieres of ballets "Spring Sacred" and "Firebird" by I. Stravinsky, "Circular Motion" by O. Zaletnev, operas "Visit of a Lady" by S. Kortes, "Prince Igor" by A. Borodin, etc. Increase of creative activity, strengthening of material-technical base, level of performers was promoted by transformation of the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Opera and Ballet into the Creative Association "The National Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Opera and Ballet of the Republic of Belarus".
Premieres of works of various genres created by Belarusian composers took place: concerto for piano and symphonic orchestra, "Divertissement" for chamber orchestra by D. Smolsky, Symphony No. 4. by G. Vagner, concerto for trombone and symphonic orchestra by G. Gorelova, the first symphony by O. Khodosko, etc. State Prizes were awarded to programs of the "Khoroshki" Belarusian State Choreographic Ensemble and the State Orchestra of Symphonic and Variety Music."
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