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Yuri Bashmet. “The violist is a violinist with a dark past”
Yuri Bashmet is a world-famous artist, an outstanding violist, conductor and teacher. "Kultura.RF" asked him about music lessons, motivation, favorite songs and the intricacies of the profession of a musician.…

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Yuri Saulsky’s unique composer style is recognizable from the first chords, and his songs helped to light more than one pop star of the Soviet period. The special path of the composer-songwriter is the orchestral pop-jazz music. This style tandem turned out to be a real discovery by Saulsky. Films, ballets, musicals, performances and many other areas were under the force of his musical talent.

Young wannabe
Legend of the national jazz, innovator and progressive composer. All this is Yuri Saulsky. He was born in a family of Moscow intellectuals on October 23, 1928. My mother sang in the academic choir named after Alexander Sveshnikov, and my father was a lawyer and played the piano perfectly. The father introduced his son to the classics, but the boy raved jazz music. He was drawn to this style, which appeared in the Soviet Union from across the ocean and quickly became not only an object of criticism, but also underground art.

Yuri often ran to the nearest cinema to the house, where the music of the ensemble of the famous Alexander Tsfasman and the big band melody was played by the composer Yuri Saulsky Alexander Varlamov. Having absorbed the compositions of the outstanding jazzmen of the Land of Soviets, the young Saulsky resorted home and immediately tried to repeat what he heard on his piano.

Even before the war, he passed the competition in the Gnesins school and began to study the piano and cello. With the beginning of the first bombing of the music had to leave, the whole family was evacuated to Siberia. There Yuri entered the military music school. He even participated in the Victory Parade in Moscow in June 1945, playing the horn in a military orchestra.

In those years, the Union was flooded with a mass of captured wonders, previously unknown to Soviet teenagers exhausted by the war. Saulsky got a radio, where you could find the wave of “Voice of America” and secretly listen to the programs about your favorite jazz.

Jazz cocktail Yuri Saulsky
The Jazz Mecca of Moscow at that time was the Cocktail Hall, where diplomats, journalists, composers, poets, students, and those who were called “stylers” gathered to hear the music of dreams and see real jazzmen. After the war, one of these musicians in this unique institution was Yuri Saulsky. But already in 1948 in the Soviet Union there was a ban on most musical instruments that were necessary for the performance of jazz. Later this decade will be called the era of the extension of saxophones.

Saulsky did not give up, did not change his hobby and at the same time began to study at the conservatory. There he met the violinist, the composer Yuri Saulsky married her and in 1952 became the first father. In the afternoon, Yuri comprehended the wisdom of classical music, and in the evenings he earned his family for the maintenance of jazz.

The teachers predicted the future of a serious musicologist for Saul, he graduated with honors from the conservatory and showed great promise in music science, but life put everything in its place. Yuri found himself in the stage, and later again plunged into his favorite genre. Fate brought him to the great jazzman, the “second trumpet of the world” – Eddie Rosner. He survived the war, camps and bans of jazz. Working with this creator was for Saulsky the best professional school. Together they wrote the music for Eldar Ryazanov’s film Carnival Night. In the film, the director even filmed an episode with Rosner’s orchestra.

Illusion of freedom
The World Youth Festival, which took place in Moscow in the summer of 1957, was a grandiose event for the Soviet Union. Students could communicate with their peers from 130 countries of the world, who brought a sip of freedom to the USSR. And the jazz competition held as part of the festival was something incredible. The second place of the music competition went to the orchestra of the Central House of Artists under the direction of Yuri Saulsky.

For all the time of the Soviet era, there has never been such a youthful uplift and inspiration. At that time, prisoners from Stalin’s camps returned to composer Yuri Saulsky from many parts of the country, the country was revived after a bloody war, and this festival was the first wind of freedom. However, his whiff was stopped very quickly, and the orchestra of Yuri Saulsky was attacked by the propaganda press. He was accused of imitating foreign music, style of dress and cheeky behavior on stage.

Every day the situation only worsened and led to the fact that for several years Yuri Saulsky was deprived of the opportunity to officially work. He earned a living by creating custom arrangements.

In 1960, the wave of persecution subsided a bit, and Yuri headed the Moscow Music Hall, a couple of years later he was even accepted into the USSR Union of Composers, and then allowed to create the VIO-66 orchestra, in which the composer gathered the best jazzmen of the country.

Love at first sound
In the fall of 1966, a student of the Gnesins Institute, Valentina Tolkunova, came to audition for the Saulsky orchestra. It is rumored that the voice of the young singer broke the heart of the team leader at once. Two months later they had a wedding, although Valentine was preparing to marry another.

Igor Butman: “Jazz can be compared only with jazz”
Igor Butman told the Kultura.RF portal about what kind of music he was listening to, what “Russian jazz” is and what foreign musicians can learn from us. - Igor Mikhailovich,…


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