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Vladimir Yurovsky: “Actual music is the one that is written today”

Especially for Kultura.RF, the initiator of the festival, artistic director of the Svetlanov State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia Vladimir Yurovsky told Viktoria Ivanova about the differences between current and contemporary music, the future of composer art and a difficult choice of listener.

About current and contemporary music
Actual music – the one that is written today. In our multimedia time, music is composed in an incredible amount, and not only by professionals. Since personal computers, and especially tablets, have appeared, people have been able to create music right at home, and not even being musicians. There is a whole direction, called laptop music. I spoke with some such people. It happens that on the way you talk with a fellow traveler, he sees the score: “Oh, are you a musician? I also write music. ” – “Can you read the notes?” – “No”.

Since music has become publicly available – not only in terms of its consumption, but also in terms of its creation, the concept of topical music has been very vague. Since there is no unifying school. Once there were similar schools, but then disappeared everywhere.

The last active and directed development of new music was observed soon after the end of the Second World War. Then in the West, especially in Germany, the music of the radical avant-garde was propagandized, supported and funded. Without financial support, in particular from the occupying American troops, such a large number of electronic studios and new music festivals would never have appeared in Germany. This was done consciously for the re-education of the German nation. And here, in the USSR, since 1948, we have so systematically fought with all sorts of manifestations of modernism and have also rehabilitated the nation in their own way. These were the last serious policy interventions in the new music on both sides of the barricades.

Later, there was a huge amount of parallel movements of new music. Rock music appeared, special forms of jazz began to develop. Today we are in a post-modern space, which is very atomized, fragmented. We are all separated on different sides of the world map and do not really understand where to go.

On the principles of tolerance and “multiparty system”
The peculiarity of this festival is that it does not set itself the task of presenting any one, subjectively correct, direction of new music. The festival “Other Space” is like a monument to the principles of tolerance and “multi-party” in music. During the five days that are given to us, we try to present as widely as possible the landscape of contemporary compositional creativity. Music sounds very different. And not only today’s, but also the one that we consider to be the classics of the 20th century. True, this is not about the famous compositions, say, of Prokofiev, Shostakovich or Stravinsky, but about those, which, perhaps, are not so well known, but radically influenced the development of modern music. So, in 2012 at the festival works of Messiaen, Xenakis were performed. In 2014, we played Orff, Schnittke and Denisov. This year there will be a composition of the Stockhausen “Group”, written in 1957, but never before performed in Russia. There will also be music by Bulez, Ustvolskaya. All this works, without which the new music would be completely different.

About what to do to the listener
If you have enough curiosity, patience and time for individual preparation, you need to go to all the concerts. I remember how in the late 1980s, days of FRG music were held in Moscow. It was music, which until then did not sound at all. Then we, as students, ran to all the concerts. Unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to prepare in advance: there was no access to the records, there were no books. Today there is internet. The simplest thing a listener can do is to visit the Wikipedia website or another similar one and read information about the composition and the composer in order to have an idea of ​​what kind of music it is. If you have the opportunity to listen – even better. Because it is well known: the harder the music, the more hearing training is needed. Usually the first time you do not understand almost nothing. From the second you understand a little more. From the third – you start to hear that this is music, and not just a set of sounds. From the fourth she might like it.

My advice is to prepare for concerts, not to come to them as a light entertainment. But do not be afraid. We after all go to cinema, theaters, including on difficult films, statements. But language helps us there, and it is easier to perceive with the eye than by ear. But this is a very interesting journey into another space, in the “looking-glass”. After all, music, especially modern, knows no barriers. There are things that for various reasons can not be shown. But there are no things that cannot be imagined to the ear of attention. Modern music does not know taboos. Particularly interesting for an unprepared listener may be that what he was most afraid of, produces the strongest.

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