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  COMPOSERS
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  compositeur  
     
 
Nikolaï KARETNIKOV
1930-1994


Karetnikov studied at the Central Musical School (1942-1948) and the Moscow Conservatory (1948-1953) under Vissarion Shebalin (composition), Ekaterina Nikolaeva (piano), Igor Sposobin and Viktor Tsukkerman (theory). He also studied privately with Philip Herschkowitz, a pupil of Berg and Webern. He was influenced by music of the New Viennese school and was a firm supporter of twelve-tone technique. His ballets Vanina Vannini and The Geologists were performed at the Bolshoi Theatre with choreography by Natalia Kasatkina and Vladimir Vasiliev.

However, the authorities found the music unacceptable. It was criticized, and then banned from the performances in the Soviet Union for decades.
His Symphony No. 4 (1963) received its first performance in 1968 in Prague, just before the Soviet army invasion to suppress the Prague Spring. His third ballet Little Zaches Called Zinnober was performed at the Hanover Opera House (1971) in the composer's absence, because he was not given permission to travel abroad. His main activity at that time was writing incidental music for theatre, film and television.

He continued to compose and publish his serious works in secrecy. He wrote two large-scale operas Till Eulenspiegel (1965-1985) and The Mystery of Apostle Paul, (1970-1986). Without any possibility of performing these works in public, he persuaded the Moscow Cinema Orchestra to make the recording for him privately, section by section, over the years. When the tape was ready, the vocal parts were added. This is perhaps the only example of a samizdat (underground) opera. Finally the first of these operas was performed in Bielefeld, Germany, in 1993, and the second premiered on August 4, 1995, in Hanover, after the composer’s death.

Karetnikov was also the author of a collection of  Themes with Variations, a collection of autobiographical stories published in Russia in 1990. (A French translation was published in the same year by Editions Horay).

 


Works available in the catalogue :

Scores :
  Huit chœurs religieux (REF:VO4342)

Orchestral Material :
  Suite sur Shalom Alicheim
  Symphonie n°4, op.17
  Till Eulenspiegel
 
 
     
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