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Shchedrin Carmen Suite at the Musikverein

Shchedrin Carmen Suite at the Musikverein

Wiener Symphoniker please crowd with percussion-filled Shchedrin Carmen Suite

The night got off to a very clas­si­cal, Vien­nese start when Vladimir Fedoseyev took the stage of the gold­en hall on Sat­ur­day night at the Musikvere­in. No stranger to this stage him­self (the octo­ge­nar­i­an was head con­duc­tor of the Sym­phoniker between 1997 and 2004), Fedose­jev led the Sym­phoniker through a pro­gram that opened with Johann Chris­t­ian Bach’s over­ture to Lucio Sil­la and Mahler’s Rück­ert Lieder. Things got con­sid­er­ably more col­or­ful after the inter­val, with Rodi­on Shchedrin’s Car­men Suite.
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Rodion Shchedrin

Rodi­on Shchedrin was born in 1932 in Moscow into a musi­cal fam­i­ly: his father was a com­pos­er and a teacher of music the­o­ry. He stud­ied at the Moscow Choral School and in 1955 he grad­u­at­ed from the Moscow Con­ser­va­to­ry where he stud­ied com­po­si­tion and piano. His first major works were writ­ten in his ear­ly twen­ties.

Nev­er a mem­ber of the Com­mu­nist Par­ty, at the col­lapse of the Sovi­et regime Shchedrin was able to par­tic­i­pate more ful­ly in musi­cal life world-wide. He now divides his time between Munich and Moscow.

A vir­tu­oso pianist, Shchedrin has often per­formed his own works, which include five con­cer­tos for piano and orches­tra, sonatas and 24 pre­ludes and fugues for piano. For over a decade he spent lot of his time and ener­gies on head­ing the Union of Com­posers of the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion — hav­ing suc­ceed­ed its founder, Dmitri Shostakovich at the request of Shostakovich.

In his opera “Dead Souls” (after Gogol) and the bal­let “Anna Karen­i­na” (after Tol­stoy), he intro­duced clas­sics of Russ­ian lit­er­a­ture to musi­cal the­atre. All were per­formed at the Bol­shoi The­atre, mak­ing Shchedrin the first com­pos­er to have had sev­en works staged there in its 200-year his­to­ry. Shchedrin‘s choral works, set to texts of Russ­ian poets, are wide­ly per­formed, as are his two sym­phonies and five con­cer­tos for orches­tra.

In 1992 Pres­i­dent Boris Yeltsin award­ed Shchedrin the Russ­ian State Prize for his work “The Sealed Angel”. Shchedrin has suc­ceed­ed in syn­the­sis­ing tra­di­tion­al and new forms by using every con­tem­po­rary tech­nique of com­po­si­tion includ­ing aleatoric and ser­i­al. His attrac­tion to Russ­ian folk­lore and folk music, Russ­ian poet­ry and lit­er­a­ture, is strong­ly evi­dent in his oeu­vre, mak­ing him a pre-emi­nent­ly Russ­ian com­pos­er with a voice that nev­er­the­less speaks to all humankind.

Since 1989 Shchedrin is mem­ber of the Berlin Acad­e­my of Arts.