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Slavic composers: looking for recommendation

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I love Slavic composers. Those guys have guts! Recently discovered a Ukrainian composer Dmytro Gordon, his "Waltzing With Life" was made for some great movie OST!  

Maybe you know someone like him?

Looking forward to your suggestions

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Posted (edited)

Kind of a weird request. Given that slavs are the largest European ethnic group, and therefore many, perhaps even most white people into central and west Europe will also have at least some slavic blood, you pretty much can't throw a rock without hitting one. Many of the famous composers were slavs.

All the way to modern ones

Edited by AngelCityOutlaw

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I can think of a couple of Polish film composers who wrote some beautiful film scores:

- Jan A. P. Kaczmarek (born 1953)
- Zbigniew Preisner (born 1955)

Other than contemporary film music, I can think of a number of rather unknown, but truly amazing romantic-era Slavic composers, mostly from Russia, Ukraine, and Poland. You might know some or most of the names I've listed:

- Viktor Kosenko (1893-1938) was a Russian-born Soviet-Ukrainian composer and pianist. He wrote for almost every genre of music, including concertos and piano music. He is probably best known for his Passacaglia in G minor for piano, a magnificent work of epic proportions. Even though he was around during the Soviet era, he mostly wrote in a late-romantic manner.

- Sergei Lyapunov (1859-1924) was a Russian composer and pianist. He mostly wrote for piano, but also wrote a few compositions for orchestra, such as his 2 symphonies and piano concertos, as well as other works with a similar orchestration.

- Mieczysław Karłowicz (1876-1909) was a Polish composer and conductor. He tragically died young in an avalanche, when he was only 33. Probably his best known works are his Violin Concerto in A major, the Symphony in E minor, and his 6 tone poems, including the Lithuanian Rhapsody. 

- Vasily Kalinnikov (1866-1901) was a Russian composer. His life was a tragic one, to say the least, having been impoverished most of his life, and dying at aged 34 from tuberculosis. Probably his best known works are his 2 symphonies, both of a fresh and magical quality, with touches of Russian nationalism incorporated in the music.

- Vasyl Barvinsky (1888-1963) was a Soviet-Ukrainian composer, pianist, and teacher. For a while, he was a respected musical figure in Soviet Ukraine, until he was arrested on false claims in 1948. He spent 10 years in a gulag, and had all of his music destroyed as part of his arrest. He spent his remaining years after his release trying to reconstruct his music for memory, but was only able to complete a small amount before his death. Fortunately, though, copies of works previously thought lost were found in various countries around the world, and a number of them have since been recorded.

- Władysław Zelenski (1837-1921) was a Polish composer, pianist and organist. If at all, he is probably best known for his chamber music, such as his Piano Quartet in C minor, an excellent work, that I would highly recommend to any chamber music-lover.

- Pavel Chesnokov (1877-1944) was a Russian composer, choral conductor, and teacher. He was one of the foremost composers of Russian liturgical choral music, and his music is still often played in Russia, but less so in the West. It's really beautiful music, and I would recommend the Cherubic Hymn from his Divine Liturgy, Op. 42.

- Alexander Gretchaninov (1864-1956) was a Russian composer. He is best known today for his liturgical choral music, including his Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, but he also wrote a substantial amount of chamber and orchestral music, including the Piano Trio no. 1 in C minor.

- Vladimir Drozdoff (1882-1960) was a Russian-American composer and pianist. He was also a co-founder of the Pushkin Society of America. He lived and worked in Russia until 1923, when he decided to settle in America. The Drozdoff Society was created in his memory, with musicians such as Vyacheslav Gryaznov actively promoting his works as members. Drozdoff's music has a generally reflective and sorrowful quality, making it especially worth preserving. I recommend his "Au Tombeau de Rachmaninoff", written on the day of Rachmaninoff's death and in his memory.

- Reinhold Gliere (1875-1956) was a Soviet composer. He can be considered to be among the last of the Russian nationalist composers, as his music often incorporates folk-inspired themes, and colorful orchestration often heard in Russian nationalist music, particularly that of Rimsky-Korsakov. He was also a respected teacher, having had many famous Soviet musicians counting as his pupils. Some of his works are well-known within the repertoires of certain instruments, for example his Harp Concerto in E-flat major and Horn Concerto in B-flat major, but he also wrote large-scale symphonies, including the monumental "Ilya Muromets" Symphony in B minor.

- Mykola Lysenko (1842-1912) was a Ukrainian composer, pianist, conductor, and ethnomusicologist. He is often considered to be the father of Ukrainian nationalist music, and began a whole generation of Ukrainian romantic nationalist composers. He mostly wrote vocal music, including songs and operas, but also wrote some instrumental music, including piano and chamber music.

- Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877-1952) was a Ukrainian composer and pianist. He was a respected virtuoso musician in pre-WW1 Europe and the Russian Empire, but suffered greatly during the 2 world wars, and needed physical and psychological medical attention as a result. After WW2, however, various friends provided financial support for him during his remaining years. His music is much like that of Rachmaninoff's, and is highly accomplished and musically complex.

- Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951) was a Russian composer and pianist. He was a good friend of Rachmaninoff's, and even dedicated 2 pieces to him. Probably his best known works are his Piano Concerto no. 3 in E minor, the Violin Sonata no. 3 in E minor, and his 15 piano sonatas, especially the Sonata no. 1 in F minor.

- Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915) was a Russian composer, pianist, teacher, and music theorist. He was one of the foremost music theorists in Russia, specializing in the study of counterpoint, particularly fugues. He was also a teacher of composers such as Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Medtner, and Gliere. Taneyev's music is quite academic, often incorporating fugues or some other contrapunctal elements, and I would recommend the String Quartet no. 3 in D minor or the cantata John of Damascus.

Hopefully you find this list helpful!

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Here is another Russian composer that I like and who hasn't been mentioned yet in this thread:

Igor Stravinsky

 

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