Incantations. Ludwig van Beethoven, Alexandre Rabinovitch-Barakovsky
Beethoven’s Third Symphony and the first Russian performance of Alexander Rabinovich-Barakovsky’s Incantations.
“To constantly push the boundaries of the permissible, to test tradition for strength (sometimes to breaking)”—this is how the musicologist Larisa Kirillina formulates the artistic credo of Ludwig Van Beethoven. Finished in 1803, Beethoven’s Third Symphony hailed a new era in the history of music—breaking the accepted rules of composition of large symphonic forms, the Third stood out for its daring harmonic language and, most importantly, for its different approach to musical time and space. If for the Viennese classicists the usual duration of a symphonic cycle had not, as a rule, gone beyond twenty-five or thirty minutes, the chronometry of the Third Symphony exceeded this standard exactly twice. Beethoven’s “Heroic” Symphony is a manifesto of nineteenth-century avant-gardism that strives towards a radical renewal of language, forms, and genresat the same time as it assimilates the traditions of the past, which Beethoven “virtuosically turns on completely unexpected sides.”
Almost three centuries after Beethoven, Alexander Rabinovich-Barakovsky, would do much the same thing—one of the most important figures on the late Soviet musical scene, Rabinovich-Barakovsky was effectively forgotten by his native land after his emigration in 1974. His 1996 Incantations, a concert symphony for piano and orchestra, might be termed the quintessence of his style: the composer turns the commonplace idioms and cliches of the classical-romantic repertoire into repeating ornaments, developing the ideas of Steve Reich and Philip Glass. But if the practices of the American minimalists were inspired by Eastern philosophy, then the music of Rabinovich-Barakovsky is a phenomenon of the flesh and blood of Western art, the direct descendent of Liszt and Rachmaninoff, Rabinovich-Barakovsky continues a tradition of virtuosic composition by pianist-composers that has practically disappeared today.
Philipp Chizhevsky (b. 1988, Moscow) is a graduate of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where he studied choral conducting under Stanislav Kalinin and opera and symphony conducting under Valery Polyansky. Since 2011, Chizhevsky has taught at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, and held the post of conductor of the State Academic Symphony Capella of Russia (artistic director Valery Polyansky). Chizhevsky has been a guest conductor at the Bolshoi Theatre since 2014, where he premiered Sergei Nevsky’s Francis (2012) and Jacques Offenbach’s Pericola (2019). Besides the already mentioned productions with Questa Musica, other notable productions by Chizhevsky include Carmen by Georges Bizet at the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre (2021), Grigory Frid’s opera Anne Frank and Udo Zimmerman’s opera The White Rose (Bolshoi Theatre, 2021). Chizhevsky received a Golden Mask National Theatre Award in the “Best Work of a Conductor” category as well as a BraVo international musical prize in the “Opera of the Year” category for his production of The Triumph of Time and Insensibility.
Arseniy Tarasevich-Nikolaev (b. 1993, Moscow) studied at the Central Music School under Alexander Mndoyants and at the Moscow Conservatory under Sergei Dorensky. As a schoolboy, Tarasevich-Nikolaev won five international youth competitions, including New Names. At the age of 19, he won the A.N. Scriabin International Piano Competition in Moscow. He went on to win competitions in Cleveland (2013), Bergen (2014), and Sydney (2016). Following his successes in competition, Tarasevich-Nikolaev signed contracts with the Decca Classics and Universal Music record companies. In 2017, Tarasevich-Nikolaev was awarded the Silver Award of the Chigi Academy in Siena. In June 2022, he was awarded a Silver Medal at the First International S. V. Rachmaninov Competition for Pianists, Composers, and Conductors. Tarasevich-Nikolaev has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Severance Hall in Cleveland, and on other important stages across Europe, America, and Asia.
Questa Musica was founded in 2008 by Philip Chizhevsky. The orchestra’s repertoire runs from compositions of the Renaissance and Baroque periods to works by contemporary Russian and foreign composers. Questa Musica regularly performs in Russia and the rest of the world. The ensemble frequently participates in opera and drama productions, notably Sergei Nevsky’s Francis on the New Stage of the Bolshoi Theatre for the Opergruppa creative association (2012), Passion according to Nicodemus by Alexander Manotskov for the “Platform” project (2013), Sverlians (2015) and Galileo (2017) at the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre, and Handel’s The Triumph of Time and Insensibility, staged by Konstantin Bogomolov at the Moscow Art Theatre (2018).
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)
Symphony No. 3 “Heroic”
I. Allegro con brio
II. Marcia funebre. Adagio assai
III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace
IV. Finale. Allegro molto
Alexander Rabinovich-Barakovsky (b. 1945)
Concert Symphony for Piano and Orchestra
(First performance in Russia)
Questa Musica Orchestra