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Dimitri Borisovich Kabalevsky
1904 - 1987
Russia
Picture
D.B. Kabalevsky
Dimitri Borisovich Kabalevsky (30/12/1904 - 18/02/1987), a Russian composer, from St. Petersburg. He is considered not only as a great composer, but also, he was a noted pianist and writer.
Symphony No 3, Requiem for Lenin
Period:Expressionism
Composed in:1933
Musical form:free
Text/libretto:N. Assayev
In memory of:Lenin
This requiem is for chorus and orchestra and dedicated to Lenin. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin's real name was Vladimir Illych Ulyanov (1870-1924).
Symphony No. 3 "Requiem" in B flat minor, opus 22, on text of N. Assayev for chorus and orchestra (1933).
Picture
Lenin
(dedicatee)
Requiem op. 72
Period:Modernism
Composed in:1962
Text/libretto:Robert Rozhdestvensky
In memory of:those who died fighting fascism
Label(s):Olympia 290
This requiem is Kabalevsky's opus 72, for soli, choir and orchestra. In Kabalevsky's later life, his music had become more entwined in choral music; the Requiem(1962), dedicated to those who died fighting fascism, is a great example. Lyrics: a poem by Robert Rozhdestvensky (1932-1994), a Russian poet.
Kabalevsky's Requiem, Op. 72, completed in 1963, like Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, which received its world premiere a year earlier, is a memorial to those who lost their lives during World War II. Also like Britten's work, it is not a religious work, but a secular one. The lyrics are based on a poem written for the piece by Robert Rozhdestvensky. Kabalevsky worked on his requiem for more than two years and wrote, "I have never spent more time or effort on any composition."
This may well be Kabalevsky's finest work. It is certainly his biggest concert score. The piece is highly dramatic and somewhat operatic, reminding me of the Verdi Requiem, my favorite piece in that form. The Olympia CD (OCD 290 A+B) has acceptable sound from an analog original recorded in 1964. The composer himself conducts the Moscow Symphony Orchestra with Vladislav Sokolov directing the Choir of the Artistic Education Institute. Valentina Levko is the mezzo-soprano; Vladimir Valaitis, the baritone soloist.
The current Schwann Opus catalog of CDs in print doesn't list another recording of the Kabalevsky Requiem. In fact, it doesn't list the Olympia CD either. But as I had no trouble obtaining a copy, I would ignore Opus, if I were you, and just try ordering this two-CD set from a store or mail-order house yourself. That is, if you share my passion for dramatic requiems.
When you listen to this work, I think you'll agree that, coward or not, Comrade Kabalevsky deserves another hearing -- this time a fair trial in an unbiased, apolitical, court of musical public opinion.
Author:Fred Flaxman
Picture
R. Rozhdestvensky
(text)