Немцам нужен… Балакирев!
В 2012 году в Германии медиа-холдинг «NDR 1 Niedersachsen» и «Charisma Musikproduktion» выпустили компакт-диск с произведениями знаменитого уроженца Нижнего Новгорода Милия Алексеевича Балакирева. Инициатором этого издания стала пианистка Ирина Айхе (Irina Eicher), со студенческих времён вплотную изучающая жизнь и творчество музыканта. По мнению издателей, компакт-диск с одиннадцатью произведениями Милия Балакирева в профессиональном и проникновенном исполнении Айхе – вклад, помогающий этому великому русскому композитору заслужить признательность во всём мире.
В ходе работы над изданием Ирина Айхе обратилась в Нижегородский региональный общественный фонд деятелей культуры «Дать Понять» с просьбой оказать информационную поддержку проекту и рассказать о том, как память о Балакиреве и его творчестве включена в контекст современной культурной жизни Нижнего Новгорода. В итоге, в коллекции фонда появился этот диск и сопровождающая его полиграфия, куда вошли предоставленные фондом фотографии и текст Ирины Айхе на немецком и английском языках. В рамках проекта «Места памяти Нижегородской области» ниже публикуется английская версия:
Mily Balakirev was born on December 21st 1836 as the son of a civil servant’s family in Nizhni Novgorod. His childhood was influenced both by the simple way of life led at the time and by the local countryside with its broad meadows, rustling forests and the dominant omnipresence of the river Volga.
His mother discovered his musical talent very soon and made sure he had music lessons at an early age. His enthusiasm for Beethoven, Chopin and Glinka grew quickly. The search for a good music teacher led the young Balakirev to Alexander Dubuck in Moscow, who took him on as his pupil. For financial reasons he was not able to have lessons for very long, however, so he had only a few lessons. Nevertheless, Dubuck had a great influence on Balakirev’s musical development.
Soon the prosperous Alexander Ulybyschev recognized and encouraged the young man’s talent. After a grammar school education Balakirev enrolled at the University of Kazan in 1853 to study mathematics and physics.
Two years later Balakirev went to St. Petersburg on the advice of his patron and there made the acquaintance of Glinka, who he admired very much. After a short time Balakirev began to play an important part in the musical scene in his new place of abode.However, it is also possible to trace the first signs of his later mental illness back to this time.
Together with the distinguished music critic V. Stasov the composer founded a circle of musicians which later went down in music history as «The Five» or «The Mighty Handful». These composers – C. Cui, M. Mussorgsky, N. Rimsky-Korsakov and A. Borodin, together with Balakirev – had a considerable influence on the musical life of St. Petersburg. At the same time Balakirev founded a free music school which he financed from donations and the income from concerts.
The years between 1862 and 1866 are characterized by a collection of songs and dances which Balakirev, after intensive editing, published under the title «Collection of Russian Folk Songs».
His cheerfulness, his talent, his enormous musical knowledge and his ability to realize his imaginative ideas soon made him into an undisputed authority who inspired enthusiasm in all who met him. Without doubt he was also influenced at this time by his friendship with P. Tchaikovsky.
From 1871 onwards less was heard of Balakirev and he withdrew from musical life, afflicted from time to time by bouts of depression. Private strokes of fate and harassment by people in high places finally drove him into a mental illness which increased in severity and which never left him for the rest of his life. One result was his setting himself apart from his friends almost completely and taking up a post on the Warsaw Railway. Even when Nikolai Rubinstein offered him a professorship at the Moscow Conservatoire in 1874, he refused it.
Though Balakirev returned to music again in 1876, his joy in life was destroyed. He had transformed into a person with strictly orthodox religious opinions, full of self-doubt and contradictions, who never married and never had any children.
Whereas in his earlier years Balakirev was continually prepared to fight for his ideals and his ideas, illness and repeated defeats changed him so much that he did not even react when his friend Rimsky-Korsakov was unjustly dismissed from the St. Petersburg Conservatoire.
In spite of the seclusion in which he spent the last years of his life, however, they were marked by an enormous creative impulse resulting in the completion of the majority of his numerous compositions.
Bakariev’s piano works are frequently very technically demanding. However, since he himself was a passionate pianist, he was careful to make sure that his works were still playable.
On May 29th 1910 Balakirev died in St. Petersburg at the age of 74 and left a great treasure of wonderful compositions to posterity.
The works on this CD:
The Girl at the Spinning Wheel
1st movement: The first movement displays a very unusual form. The normal sonata allegro is missing. A polyphonic texture with a folksong theme runs through the whole piece. In the middle a cadence in the style of salon music comes as a surprise.
2nd movement: The second movement presents a mazurka which Balakirev had already composed around 1900 as a piece in its own right (Mazurka No. 5).
3rd movement: This is an intermezzo serving as a slow middle movement which sets one contemplating. Arpeggio chords create a typically romantic accompaniment.
4th movement: The fourth movement Finale represents the climax of the sonata. The fundament of this movement is the brilliant Russian dance called the Trepak.
Irina Eicher was born in 1983 in Russia of parents whose whole lives are devoted to music. She was only 5 years old when she began playing the piano, and her parents – both teachers at music schools – made sure that even as a child she had the necessary professional attitude.
After winning many competitions and after making many appearances including on radio and television, she was accepted into the famous music school of the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire in Moscow.
After successfully completing her studies there she came to Germany in 2005 to continue her studies, first at the music academy in Munster, then later in Cologne, where she passed her examination as a pianist in 2010.
While she was still a student she occupied herself intensively with the Russian pianist and composer of programme music Mily Balakirev and made herself familiar with this significant composer by studying his works closely.
The present CD is intended not only as a sign of Irina Eicher’s personal admiration for Balakirev, but also as a contribution to helping this great Russian composer to gain the appreciation he deserves.
Галина Филимонова, Ирина Айхе (Irina Eicher)
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