Vladislav Solotaryov (1942 - 1975)
(it seems like yesterday, Part 4)
The poet has no career,
the poet has a destiny ...
entered the world of the art of the Bayan, unafraid and courageously resolute;
his name immediately became a symbol for everything new, original and modern.
Already after the first works of the young composer the audiences were
literally overwhelmed by the imagery and originality of the musical language,
by the “bold” innovations in the composition and in the artistry. They had
that it was not the traditional Bayan that they were hearing but a
instrument. After the appropriate remark by the writer, W. Solouchin,
and extraordinary works aroused indignation in one part of the
astonishment, and finally enthusiasm, in the other.
It was the same
with other works by Solotaryov. A battle flared up over his music between
enchanted admirers and declared opponents, who moreover are hardly such any
more now. In any event, Solotaryov's music leaves no-one indifferent, which
speaks for the creative courage and novelty in art, for, generally speaking, people
do not quarrel over what is ordinary.
In order to
explain the “Solotaryov phenomenon”, the state of Bayan culture up to his
appearance on the musical scene needs to be set down more precisely.
Until the middle
of the 1960's the Bayan with exclusively standard bass manual was predominant.
Only a few individual performers had a Bayan with melody basses, which in
practice were hardly used in concerts.
traditional Bayan there was already quite a big repertoire with works by major
Soviet composers: F. Rubzov, A. Kholminov, N. Tchaikin, J. Shishakov, K.
Myaskov, A. Repnikov, among others. Arrangements of works by classical
composers occupied an important place in the repertoire of Bayan players.
The works of
Solotaryov became popular in the late 1960's. At this time it was felt that
there was a massive need for the instrument in its complete design. The
performance culture, which in the preceding decades had built up a rich
experience, was inconsistent with the limitations of the Bayan with standard basses.
the best Soviet Bayan players in international competitions became a tradition.
These important competitions brought forth many young talented soloists, who,
along with the older generation, successfully began a lively concert activity
at home and abroad.
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At this time a
paradoxical situation arose: the Bayan finally developed as an instrument of
many voices with melody basses and became widespread in Conservatories and
music colleges; there was considerable expansion of the circle of Bayan players
giving concerts, but there was no original literature for this instrument.
There was an urgent need for composers to become more active in writing for
this new instrument. We waited impatiently for our composers like a Liszt, Chopin
or Rachmaninov to rise up. It is no secret that the possibilities of this or
that instrument are best exposed by composers, performers, or at least good
emerged just at the right time in the art of Bayan playing. He was not only a
Bayan player himself and wrote for the multi-voice melody bass Bayan with 15
tone colours, but his music, which immediately filled a whole host of Bayan
players with enthusiasm, was lively, rich in content, and profound. Leading
artists actively took up works by this young composer into their programmes,
and his music got a great response from the public.
Let us try to
explain the reasons for his rapid and wide recognition. For the art it is very
important whether or not it is modern. Modernity, however, is a highly
complicated concept. It all depends, to what extent one work of art or other
harmonises with the spiritual world of a progressively thinking person,
therefore whether it corresponds to the so-called Zeitgeist (spirit of the
times). A number of masterpieces of the musical classics are modern for all
times and ages, but sometimes it so happens that music which has just been put
down on paper by the composer is already clearly old. In this connection one
can say with certainty that the works of J S Bach will always be modern.
The works of
Solotaryov achieved widespread popularity immediately, primarily because his
music was to a great extent realistic, and its pictorial construction was in
harmony with the inner world of modern man. It was just such modernity,
combined with masterly application of the artistic possibilities of the
multi-voice melody bass Bayan, that secured popularity and affection among
musicians in such a short time. Solotaryov wrote for the Bayan tersely and
passionately; he made full use of modern composition techniques; his works
advanced the art of the Bayan considerably.
Modern music is
constructed in a rather complicated way. Many traditionally trained Bayan
players proved to be unprepared for understanding and, even more for
performing, new works. In the final analysis works such as the Partita or
Sonata No 3 were “interpreted” in such a way that they were simply rejected.
Where the work was interpreted appropriately, Solotaryov's music achieved
instant widespread recognition, both at home and abroad, where it was
constantly performed at inter~ national competitions and concerts.
In order to
clarify the peculiarities of style of the composer's works, let us follow his
Andreyevich Solotaryov was born on 13 September 1942 in the De-Kastri
settlement in the Primorsk region to the family of an officer of the Soviet
army. The first musical impressions of this talented youngster are associated
with music performed at home, which was often organised by his parents.
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about literature, poetry and painting ever since his childhood. From the age of
15 he began systematically to get involved in music in the town of Magadan.
Solotaryov entered the Music School at Magadan (N.A. Lesnoy's class), which he
finished in 1968 after three years' service in the ranks of the Soviet army.
The first works
by the young composer came in 1961. In these years V. Solotaryov wrote his
first literary works, which would occupy him throughout his whole life: a
lyrical self-confession – “25 Unsent Letters”, a volume of aphorisms, song
lyrics and romances, diaries covering the period from 1961 to his death. His
“Autobiography” is really unusual, which probably arose from the influence of
works by F. Kafka and H. Hesse (especially his “Glass Bead Game”). He
published articles on the art of the Bayan in the newspapers “Musical Life” and
“Soviet Music”. He also produced a large number of poems, which give one a deep
insight into the author's personal frame of mind:
shimmers the ashes at midnight, in the moonlight ...
shimmers the flam as though from outside,
rustle of the leaves ... secret and sad.
hear? The dreams are fading.
And here an
example of his literary fantasy from his diaries:
already 5 January ... 4.00 in the morning ... I opened the top-hung window, and
a fresh draught came towards me, like Your only, and it seems, distant, distant
kiss ... With my eyes I look for my distant star ... the Preludes by Churljonis
can be heard ... but I weep ...
me, God! Where is my planet? Where is my real home? Why do You punish me so
cruelly and send me to this desolate end? Why does Beatrice humiliate me in
front of everybody? Why do You not lead me far over the sea of time, to sail to
a native shore?
and the music flows in an endless stream... and you are bathing in raindrops,
spraying in rubies ... blending with the sun, and I, like Icarus, melt in the
rays of your cruel sun ...
heart dissolves like a tender rose and touches Your eyes, lips and hair, but
You do not smell the fragrance of this invisible rose and blend ... blend ...
the music! It sparkles under the rays of Your lovely smile. It lifted the boat
up to the stars and embraces Venus, Cicero ... it melted Mars’ shield and sword
... whispers to the late Phaeton ... hurries on and on ... sings Mercury a
dances with jingling ear-rings ... Saturn, blushing, tightens his belt and
smiles happily in the approaching current of air ...
You blend endlessly and, with outstretched hands, fly ... You fly towards my
planet ... my land ... the unique and majestic ... Look! You are encircled by
an angel host - these are the harbingers of my home!
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and nearer You fly into higher regions to the rose of Paradise ... And the
music becomes happier and more resonant! It embraces You and leads You into the
palace of my brothers and sisters.
here is my tender, brightly shining planet, Sun. The music glistens with
colours never before seen there and spreads unparalleled fragrance ...
Mary is enthroned on a snow-white cloud, and on her knee, in the second row,
sits Eve. Below Eve on her left hand sits Rachel and invites You to take a seat
at Eve’s right hand ... and below Eve sit women from the Old Testament, among
them Sarah ...
Mary sits John the Baptist, quietly smiling ... Below him men from the Old
choir of guardian angels intone the music: “Ave Maria, gratia plena!” (Hail,
Mary, full of grace!)
left of Mary sits Adam as first in the semi-circle from the Old Testament, and
to the right sits the apostle Peter as first from the New Testament. Beside
Adam sits Moses, and opposite him the blessed Lucia.
“Divine Poem” by Scriabin is heard, and all their faces turn into the flower of
life ... How many blooms are scattered in the universe! How many sons warm this
mesh of the flowers!
human life is unique, unrepeatable with its agonies!” Mortal and transitory!
Only the spirit is eternal! Eternal and immortal! Only love is eternal! Earthly
and full of anguish! Music is eternal! And my love for You is everlasting!
taught himself composition. He tried to write for different instruments: piano,
violin, and even choral works. He applied himself to the Bayan with particular
devotion. Already in his first works for this instrument 1) Solotaryov's
creative principles were shown, from which he did not deviate for the rest of his
life: his relationship towards the Bayan as a serious academic instrument, his
striving for depth in artistic realisation, for transposition and dramatisation
of pictorial content as well as discovery of new means of expression on the
Bayan. The composer emphasised many times his preference for his favourite
instrument: “Bayan! What luck that I started learning this instrument... I feel
in me an immense strength, but I
have to make a
lot of effort …” 2)
Suite”, published in the “Album for Youth”, “Concerto Fantasia” for
and piano, 13 studies on a theme by Paganini (manuscripts)
Solotaryov, Diaries (manuscript)
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Solotaryov was a good soloist; he had a real mastery of the multi-voice melody
bass. During his studies at the Music College in Magadan he was awarded a
degree for the first place in the regional competition for Bayan players, but
he subsequently devoted himself entirely to composing.
in Magadan until 1970. His best-known works for Bayan in this period included:
Chamber Suite, Concerto No 1 for Bayan and symphony orchestra, (score and
piano), Children's Suite No 1, Partita, and also Sonata No 1, which he
repeatedly performed in composers' concerts in Magadan. However, this Sonata
was never written down, because the composer was hoping to return to this work
again later. 1) At the same time he wrote a series of works in other genres. In
1970 the Moscow phase of Solotaryov's work began.
In 1971 on the
recommendation of R Shedrin he was admitted into the Moscow Conservatory (T. N.
Khrennikov's class). Unfortunately, after one year of study Solotaryov left the
Conservatory for personal reasons.
In Moscow the
composer's talent developed fully. He associated with composers and soloists,
especially E Mitshenko, who brought a number of his works to a premiere.
always distinguished himself by his extraordinary creativity as well as high
demands on himself ... one has to write a lot, but more often than not, one has
to tear up yet another sheet of music, ... it is vital to write deep and humane
music. To do this, it is necessary to engage one's brain and feelings with the
whole preceding music culture, for which one must work awfully hard. 2) He was
examining in detail both classical and contemporary works. He did a course in
modern composition techniques.
In the Moscow
period Solotaryov wrote a number of important works: “Memorial to the
Revolution” for speaker, soloists, four choirs and symphony orchestra, “Evening
Cantata”, “Diptych and Triptych” for orchestra, “Dramatic Poem” for alto and
“Martin Eden” according to Jack London, three string quartets, a Sonata for
cello, six Romances according to poems by Japanese poets, and a large number of
other works of very different genres.
played several times for me at home fragments of the “First Sonata”.
On my request to write them down, he said: “It is not
yet ripe. I will write it
down later.” So we remained without the “First
Sonata”. The language of this
music was quite lively, similar to the “Chamber
Suite” and the “Partita”. The
Sonata No 1”A”, published in Vladivostok, is only
allegedly the First Sonata; it
is, in fact, the “Capriccio” for Bayan Solo; he
wanted one day to make it the
first movement of the Sonata, and there is even a
manuscript with this name,
but it is the Capriccio ... But in the “First Sonata”
there is different music.
2) from a
letter to A. Nagayev
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In the following
years a very strong influence of the Viennese School showed up in Solotaryov's
work. There emerged works of the twelve-note music system: Five Compositions,
Sonata No 3, the oratorio “Memorial to the Revolution”, etc. In this the
technique with 12 non-repeating notes was no dogma for him. He himself was
involved with new ideas in this area. In one of his diaries there is the
following entry relating to this: “We can compose like Schönberg and his
supporters, but because of our own naturally inherent aptitudes, we are not
allowed to compose like that. Bearing in mind the results of the Viennese, we
must find our own way.”
A number of
important works for the Bayan were written, including two concertos for Bayan
and orchestra 1), two Sonatas, Five Compositions, “Ispaniada”, a cycle of
Children's Suites, funeral music, A la Mussorgsky, Rondo Capriccioso for three
Bayans, etc. In 1974 the polyphonic volume “24 Meditations for Bayan” was
concluded, which obviously originated under the influence of the “Art of the
Fugue” by J S Bach, but using the 12-note technique. In the Foreword to this
work the composer writes: “Contemporary works offer material, which can be set
to music not only for the Bayan, but also for the organ, guitar, piano,
accordion or even vocal and instrumental ensembles in elementary arrangements,
without distorting the composer's score.”
In these works by
V. Solotaryov the tendency towards deep philosophical contemplation of the
nature of our existence, the world and the universe makes itself clearly felt.
In the composer's creative fantasy all the new and extremely interesting ideas
emerged as large works for Bayan, choir, orchestra... But to my greatest
regret, the life of this talented composer came suddenly to an end at the
height of his creativity.
That happened on
13 May 1975.
... At the
beginning of the art of the violin there stood the great personality of
Paganini. The pianists' art was essentially advanced by Beethoven, Chopin,
Liszt and Rachmaninov. For the art of the modern Bayan Vladislav Solotaryov is
one of the most prominent figures. He can quite rightly be called the creator
of the original repertoire for the multi-voice melody bass Bayan.
The work of
Solotaryov is largely autobiographical. He was an artist with a very subjective
mentality. Objective aspects of life went through the prism of his perception
and feeling 2). Everything he wrote was experienced by him and created under
Concerto Symphony No 1 represents a new edition of the First Concerto.
2) “I do
not want to find just any means of expression (...), I express myself in
(from V Solotaryov's diary)
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In his work one
sees the difficult destiny of an artist. Sadly, the composer failed to
interesting projects, not yet in existence, into deed: to write a cycle
suites and partitas, concertos for Bayan. He once remarked to me with
“Children's suites somehow come before other genres!” Nor was the plan for
a cycle of
lyrical-philosophical operas about old Russia realised: “Andrei Rublyov”,
“Dionisy”, “Nil Sorsky”, “Sergei Radoneshsky”, “Joseph Volotsky”, Avvakum”.
... After reading
a book to the end, Leo Tolstoy is known to have been able to say when it was
written: by day or by night. In his opinion, Jack London only worked at night,
and Charles Dickens by day. V. Solotaryov composed mainly at night (and when by
day, he closed the curtain and worked with the light on). Usually the plan took
a long time in advance to come to fruition, and then he put it all down on
music paper within a fairly short time, virtually without touching the
instrument. In this way he was often working on a few works at the same time.
He always distinguished himself by an unusual creativity. Sometimes, totally
absorbed in a work, he would not rest day or night, and withdrew from the
bustle of city life to somewhere quiet. “My natural condition is
solitude”, he wrote in his diary.
He had a great
love for nature, from which he derived strength for his inspiration and work.
In his diaries there are descriptions of nature, testimonies of love and
admiration. Clearly, thanks to this cautiously timid relationship with nature,
there is a sense of special scent of carefulness and originality in many of
Solotaryov's works (Chamber Suite, Concerto Symphony No 1). His romantic view
of the world is present in nearly every one of his works. The influence of the
Romantics in the 19th century is felt both in the pictorial themes and the
harmonies. in his music images of the mysterious and fantastic appear, which
had not existed in this form before (third movement of the Partita, “Bagatelle”
from Children's Suite No 4, “Mysterious Visions” from the Chamber Suite, second
movement of Sonata No 3).
In the works by
V. Solotaryov there are many annotations by the composer. Nuances are often
exaggerated: ffff, etc. The composer tries to produce a powerful sound from the
Bayan 1) just like in orchestral music 2). However, Bayan players need to be
constantly reminded that, even in the most emotional and dynamically loudest
passages, they must maintain an aesthetically beautiful sound on the Bayan.
1) In the
history of piano-playing there are many examples of musicians with
great compositional style being unable to realise
their ideas within the limited
possibilities of the piano. Let us remember
Beethoven's sonatas, the orchestral sound of the piano in the works of
Schumann, Liszt and Mussorgsky.
2) Any of
my works for Bayan could become orchestral works, but there are
already so many wonderful works for orchestra; there
is no need to add any
more (from the diary). Obviously an orchestral score
of the Partita for Bayan
is of interest, instrumentation of Sonata No 2 could
also be envisaged.
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with which V. Solotaryov became great as a composer, are based
above all on
classical music, Russian culture, the latest triumphs of contemporary
composers at home
and abroad. His creativity is very much of Russian origin.
from some individual cases, he draws essentially quotations from
tunes (in the Finale of Sonata No 2) of folklore.
Above all, they
appear in the broad performance 1) of the thematic basis, where his melodies
are as beautiful and expressive as folk songs (e.g. the theme of the first
movement of Sonata No 2, the second theme in the Finale of Sonata No 3, the
Monastery of Ferapont, etc.).
treatment of musical material also indicates the connection with folk music.
Themes of the “Children's Suites” were evoked through images from Russian
fairy-tales. One can imagine humour and sadness as well as joy and magic.
Third and fourth
(interval) movements also underline the Russian origin of the themes. One can
quote a large number of examples from his works, where the influence of the
Russian soul can be felt.
music is basically programme music, often characterised by a certain
theatricality (a series of pieces from the “Children's Suites”) and pictorial
in nature (“Ispaniada”) 2) as well as its humour (Sonata No 2, “Children's
If we look at all
the composer's work for Bayan, it is not difficult to notice that the actual
images from earlier pieces are replaced by rather generally held content in the
late works. If the actual pictorial content spreads before us in the Chamber
Suite and in the first two Children's Suites, expressed by title and in the
music itself, in the subsequent works (Partita, two Sonatas) the programme is
rather more abstract, and in the Five Compositions and the Concerto Symphony No
2, we see so-called “pure” (non-programme) music, although the mood is clearly
recognisable here too.
The structure of
Solotaryov's Bayan works is pleasingly written instrumentally. His works sound
acoustically natural, unlike some original works where the composers have a
poor knowledge of the specific nature of the Bayan. Finally, the works of these
composers are more like piano works than works for Bayan, and sound like
1) “The performance” is also
the essential element, on which Russian singing is based, and also the Russian
voice control and, if one listens carefully, all that
is Russian in Russian music.“ Quoted from the book by
S. Yevseyev, The Russian Folk Polyphony, Moscow, 1960, page 26.
completed in 1974. This work represents pictorial stylisations
in the spirit of Spanish music. According to the
composer’s words, he wanted
to create an image of Spain as seen and imagined by a
Russian. According to
its form “Ispaniada” is a rhapsody. Here there are
Spanish dances and several
large-scale middle parts as ostinato with fifth
movements in the bass, which
draw a picture of a sea voyage, and also a lot of
cadenzas. “Ispaniada” is
framed by one and the same cluster, which should
represent the sound of surf.
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In this respect,
it is peculiar that many Bayan players have reproached Solotaryov for
the structure of
his works. Composers who know the instrument well usually bring their ideas in
a pleasant score to paper. Let us take as an example the closing passage in
“Capriccio” by A. Repnikov. He wrote minor thirds in the chromatic scale
effortlessly and simply, everything else depends on the performer's virtuosity.
In the event of a composer's unfamiliarity with the peculiarities of the Bayan
then he could write this passage, let's say, with major thirds in the semitone
shift. Nothing is gained from the artistic point of view, but the technical
task of the Bayan player is made somewhat harder.
feeling for cosiness in Bayan works is attributable to historically based
Essentially Bayan players had to play arrangements and so had to tackle a
large number of
difficulties and drawbacks. Liszt, Mussorgsky and Rachmaninov wrote for the
piano and in no way thought whether their music would then fit easily on the
Bayan. Their compositions were suitable only on the piano.
resolutely for writing music for the Bayan. His compositions were characterised
by innovations. It often consisted of multiple lines: some pictorial elements
were heard to some extent simultaneously. One finds passages over the whole
gamut of sound in both hands, but also very diverse clusters 1) as well as
glissando with clusters. The use of standard basses in the second movement of
the Chamber Suite is interesting. One senses however that the composer felt
constrained by the narrow framework of this static keyboard and should
therefore write all subsequent works for the melody bass Bayan.
largely uses the technique of playing on the melody bass, but also the blending
of the stradella with the melody bass.
In 12-tone works
(Five Compositions, Sonata No 3) the music is not formally constructed; here
the sound pattern comes to the fore, rich in real content.
Solotaryov is a
wonderful melody-maker. One can take any of his themes, to be certain of
this. His melodies are easy to notice and always expressive. They breathe a
peculiar freshness and unaffectedness; and even his 12-tone series are tuneful.
melodies are stamped with the old Russian spirit. A theme develops,
endlessly, especially the theme of Sonata No 2, the second theme in the Finale
of Sonata No 3 and the main theme of the “Capriccio”. The broad melodic breath
and the rhythm combine in a flexible phrase. One can take examples of melodies
from legends and epics, which emphasise the Russian nature of the composer's
music (Monastery of Ferapont). He also liked melodies like
(third and fourth movements of the Partita). Many of Solotaryov's tunes are
descending, giving them a sad timbre. His melody-making, based on the principle
of repetition of
the thematic structure, is felt neither obtrusively nor suggestively.
pictorial start of the main motif is easily established.
1) Cluster - compound sound in
second steps, which should result in a compact sonority.
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A melody by
Solotaryov usually develops in the bass accompaniment without full
abandoning musical material with full harmony and imitations, rich in content,
the composer starts from the natural properties of the instrument, because the
relief-like emphasis of individual motifs is just as difficult on the Bayan as,
let's say, on the piano. Another thing is the fugue-like episodes, where the
voice control/ tuning? is expanded by changing register and deep dynamics.
I would like to
refer to a special feature of Solotaryov’s melody-making: It is basically
diatonic, except for some works in the last period, where it is arranged
horizontally in chromatic intervals (“Twilight” from the Children's Suite No 6,
episodes from Sonata No 3 and the Concerto Symphony No 2).
With regard to
the scale-harmonic features of Solotaryov's works, attention must be drawn to
the transformation of his harmonic language in the course of his creative work.
In the Chamber Suite, the Children's Suites and in Sonata No 2 the harmonies
are simple; the predominant intervals are third, sixth and octave. Horizontally
very melodic, vertically harmonious, they are very pleasing to the ear.
In the Partita,
partly in Sonata No 3, the harmonies are more complicated. The functional
relationship is considerably extended, and at the same time the feeling for
tonality decreases. Structures, which are not constructed on thirds, and
unisono come to the fore. There are seconds and sevenths instead of
conventional intervals. The tune is distorted and sharp; vertically the
functional trend gets lost. In his later works the composer uses the 12-note
system (Five Compositions, first and second movements of Sonata No 3, Concerto
Symphony No 2). In this connection it is interesting to note that one finds
simple harmonic solutions in his 12-note structures.
language of V. Solotaryov is based on the major seventh chord, and that is no
coincidence. This chord corresponds like no other to the composer's musical
taste. The major seventh sounds tense in ff and sad in pp. In this interval a
question is always included, for which the composer has no definitive answer.
In addition, in the major seventh chord the bright major chord (presumably
C-E-G) and the rather melancholy minor chord (E-G-B) can be heard at the same
time. The simultaneous sound of major and minor chords produces a feeling of
instability and tension, through which the emergence of a “conflict situation”
can be anticipated.
One can quite
rightly say that V. Solotaryov's music in some respect develops from the major
seventh chord 1).
Among the very
characteristic scale-harmonic features one must also mention the composer's
preference for the chromatic scale. N A Rimsky-Korsakov was already using this
very actively in his work, as did contemporary composer O. Messiaen. Examples
of the frequent application of this scale by Solotaryov can be found in the
Partita (first, third and fourth movements), in the piece “I call Moments of
Deepest Sorrow” from the Chamber Suite, and in the Concerto Symphony No 1.
1) “… my
favourite major seventh chord”, writes V. Solotaryov (from his diary)
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One also finds
shifts of parallel intervals, chords in the chromatic scale (e.g. in the second
movement of Sonata No 2). In some pieces polytonal structures are used: in the
“Christmas Carol” from the Children's Suite No 5 (theme in D flat major,
accompaniment in B flat minor). Many works which are complicated from the point
of view of musical language end up purely harmonic. Thus the basic idea of the
composer's whole work manifests itself: from chaos to enlightenment.
work the connection between contemporary musical language and classical music
is characteristic. In this the composer of the Partita does not imitate modern composers
and is not constrained by the scope of “modern” systems. If he finds it
necessary, he boldly goes beyond his boundaries. So in the first movement of
Sonata No 3 he goes beyond the scope of the 12-note system.
For modern music
the weakening of the harmonic (functional) trend at the same time as
strengthening of the counterpoint in the horizontal is characteristic 1). It is
fitting here to note that many works by Solotaryov are deeply polyphonic, some
pieces being written directly in the form of a Fugato: second movement of the
Partita, third movement of Sonata No 3, Fugato from the first movement of the
Concerto Symphony No 1.
In the works of
Solotaryov we do not find spectacular passages without content.
organisation in Solotaryov's works also has its peculiarities. Their rhythmics
often do not fit in exactly defined bars with unchanging beats. Changes of time
with different measures help us, for example, in some respect to understand the
pictorial construction of the Partita (the time measure is unsteady to the
point of complete omission of the bar line in one longer passage).
It is sometimes
hard on hearing, to establish the beat, because the metric basic beat is
prepared from the start by part of the preceding beat, which leads to an
increase in tension. Examples of this can be found in the Five Compositions, in
the Concerto Symphony No 2, in the Fugato from Sonata No 3. In many works by
Solotaryov a rhythmic figuration in Ostinato pulsates as accompaniment (one and
the same rhythmic pattern), which contributes to the tunes flowing in
can also be found in works by the Viennese classical composers,
e.g. the theme of
Sonata No 21 “The Waldstein” by Beethoven.
With regard to
the stylistic features of Solotaryov's Bayan work, one must mention one
essential detail, namely the composer's thinking in respect of registers.
contemporary music the harmony which gradually loses its tonal
connection must be an especially valuable binding
force for the contrapuntal
forms”. S.Taneyev, The Flexible Counterpoint of
Accurate Writing Style,
Moscow, 1959, page 10
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Bayan players registered original works for the Bayan themselves. Solotaryov is
a composer who realises the image with certain artistic sound resources, by
imagining both the idea and established tone colours of the instrument. The
composer carefully wrote down the whole registration, whereby the necessary
registers are based organically from the start on the pictorial side of the
corresponding episode of the work. For philosophical thought material he used
rather muffled registers.
not restrict himself to three or four of the commonest registers. In his works
he used every possible combination of tone colours of the four-part Bayan.
As a result of
the above analysis we shall try to emphasise what new features Solotaryov
brought to Bayan literature.
The first thing
which I would like to underline in this connection is the new
pictorial-emotional sphere in his works. Previously there were hardly any
fantastic and magical images in the original literature for Bayan. A lot of new
nuances and romantically moving images take on a mournful mood.
In the composer's
ideology there is a prevailing tendency towards dramatic facets of existence.
Solotaryov was not afraid of condensing colours, when opposing forces like good
and evil are fighting each other (Partita, Sonata No 3).
The composer puts
characteristic methods of bellows playing in a completely new light. Russian
harmonica players were always known for their virtuoso mastery of the bellows.
However, until recently composers applied this expressive timbre very little
and only as harmonic accompaniment to the tune (bellows tremolo in the Concert
Piece by S. Konyayev) or in lovely folk tunes ("Saratov Ornamentalia"
by V. Kusnezov, "Volga Melodies" by A. Shalayev).
In the case of
Solotaryov this effect has been fundamentally transformed. The tremolo is
associated with a number of specific artistic moods. Here there is both
restlessness and trembling and a brewing storm ... Solotaryov's works are also
distinguished by a multitude of playing techniques, such as clusters of all
kinds, glissando with cluster, bellows tremolo with cluster, cluster-glissando
on a row, vibrato in the right or left hand and a simultaneous vibrato with
For the first
time in Bayan literature the composer used the method of collage 1).
(“Slavsya!”, an old Russian hymn by M.I. Glinka in the first movement of
Children's Suite No 1, “Verklärte Nacht” (“Radiant Night”) by A. Schönberg in
the Finale of Sonata No 3 among others), and in the Rondo-Capriccioso for three
Bayans he quoted fragments from his own works.
It is thanks to
V. Solotaryov that he used artistic means of expression in a new way on the
Bayan and so pointed out new directions to composers in their creative search.
(French) - quotation from another work
- 13 -
In order to
appreciate the positive qualities of V. Solotaryov's music, it is certainly not
enough to observe that it is perfect in every respect. From time to time one
gets the feeling that the composer with his rich fantasy did not always succeed
in managing the wealth of material, which led to a looseness in form, and that
he did not always manage technically to transfer his thoughts fully. One can,
of course, also find other shortcomings in the works of V. Solotaryov, as one
can with any other composer. However, in consideration of his crucial role in
the fundamental change in relations between the musical élite and the art of
the Bayan, one must be extremely grateful for the coming of VLADISLAV.to the
world of the Bayan.
Before you, dear
readers, lies the slightly amended fragment of my monographical article “The
Work of Vladislav Solotaryov”, which was published in 1984 in volume No 6
“Bayan and Bayan Players” by the “Soviet Composer” publishing house. The story
of its publication is extremely interesting.
lifetime I endeavoured to write down various thoughts about his work, arising
from our contact. In the four and a half years of our friendship I developed an
anxiety syndrome about his whereabouts on this sinful earth, however pompous
that sounds. He was all too easily vulnerable, a human being without skin, with
blank-lying nerves. It seemed to me that he was some extraterrestrial creature
from the cosmos, who had come to us for a certain mission and, after fulfilling
it, would leave us. I constantly had the feeling, and I was afraid to admit it
to myself, that I could lose him. The article was finished soon after
Solotaryov's death (around 1975/76) and was handed over to J Akimov, the author
of the collection “Bayan and Bayan Players”. It remained in his file until his
suicide in 1979, without anything being done in this matter. For this reason my
relationship with him was not the best; accordingly, my relations with the
editor of the publishing house, the composer P. Londonov, who was very close to
Akimov, were also strained. Somehow, it happened spontaneously that my
relations with Londonov became entirely normal after Akimov's death, and even
so familiar, that one night the telephone rang:
take the collection “Bayan and Bayan Players” into your hands.
I suggest that you become the editor.”
- “No, thank you, Pyotr
Petrovich, it is not for me. I would rather handle repertoire volumes. For
scientific-methodical volumes B. M. Yegorov would be a better candidate.”
he could not do it on his own. Do it between the two of you.”
I managed to
avoid further pressure from Londonov by proposing S.M. Kolobkov to strengthen
the editorial committee. Londonov was enthusiastic, but immediately voiced some
- “But he will not agree
immediately, because he is already very busy as Rector."
- 14 -
Yegorov and Kolobkov straight away, apologised for the late call (it was
already 12.30 at night), but the opportunity had to be seized quickly for the
benefit of a real authority as editor), explained the nature of the urgent
problem and, as I expected, received both support and understanding. Then I
informed Londonov by another telephone call in the night.
Of course, I was
soon interested in the fate of my article on Solotaryov. Londonov revealed to
me the editorial “secret”: “If an editor does not want to publish an article,
he sends it for an anonymous review (behind closed doors), which as a rule is
critical. Akimov did not want to publish your article and forwarded it to
Tchaikin for review. That is why he has kept it so long. Ring him and ask him
The situation was
finally cleared up. The fact that Akimov didn't want me was obvious, and I had
known this for a long time, but he couldn't stand Solotaryov because of his
outstanding, but for him incomprehensible, music. I remember that he did not
congratulate us after the première of the third Sonata, but the next day we
happened to meet in the corridor of the Institute, where he reluctantly shook
my hand: "Now, I congratulate you on yesterday, but I didn't like the
music at all!" "Perhaps you didn't understand it, hearing it for the
first time?", I said, trying to mitigate his obviously ignorant judgment.
"No, it is precisely because I have understood it that I don't like it at
all." So ended the Deputy Head of Faculty our brief dialogue as only he
could. Akimov gave my article to Tchaikin for review and, knowing well the
jealousy of the acknowledged master of Bayan music towards Solotaryov, he thus
achieved his goal and washed his hands of it.
I had to ring
Tchaikin several times until he finally submitted the review to the publisher.
The review was typed on 16 pages. The review was scathing, beginning with an
epigraph, which I must take from this publication: "The poet has no
career, the poet has a destiny!" I find that these words by the poet A.
Blok get closest to Vladislav's nature. "Why?", asked Tchaikin
indignantly. "Solotaryov is a Soviet poet! That means a Soviet poet
has no career! That means a Soviet poet has a destiny! (The word “Soviet”
was written in red letters each time), etc. in this spirit of high ideology and
party. I do not think that these critical remarks were directed at me
personally. I am convinced that Tchaikin was fully aware of what talent
Vladislav Solotaryov had in the field of the Bayan. Through my article, where I
naturally gave free rein to my enthusiasm for a friend, the master, who at that
time was an undisputed authority, felt hurt. But it cannot be helped: the turn
of the century produces the problem of generational conflict. The approach to
it can only be philosophical. The review ended with the following conclusion:
“In its present form the article cannot be recommended for printing. With
fundamental revision of the material and after another review subsequently, in
the event of a positive expert's opinion, the article can be published.”
I showed Tchaikin's work to Londonov. But the situation has already changed:
Londonov was now on my side - it was one of those rare moments in life, when the
wind is not blowing in one's face, but onto one's back. Artfully, he turned
over the pages of the review (he had long anticipated what was in it!), after
the last page he covered with his hand almost the whole of the last paragraph
and left only the last five words visible: “There, read: 'the article can be
- 15 -
Correct what you
think necessary, and we shall publish it in the sixth volume “Bayan and Bayan
However, with all
the good will on my part, Tchaikin’s pointed arrows also contributed to B.
Yegorov becoming the new author and A. Sudarikov the new editor of the volume.
One must be fair
to Tchaikin. His exact analysis objected to a number of inaccuracies and
mistakes, over which a kind reviewer would have passed lightly or not even have
noticed. Therein lies the fascination and benefit of a rigorous review.
translation of this article came from Dr Herbert Scheibenreif and is authorised
by Friedrich Lips. The English translation by Barbarta Harrison comes from Dr.
Scheibenreif’s German version with the author’s permission.