Friday, July 14, 2017

RUSSIAN COLLUSION





Okay, I've decided to crawl out of the closet and admit this before someone rats on me and destroys my sterling facade of a reputation.
Well, it's actually a tarnished facade of a reputation.

I have secretly been......let me take a few deep breaths here....in collusion with the Russkies ever since I was fourteen.

That's when I first read Robert Massie's  Nicholas and Alexandra. I was immediately completely smitten by the color, grandeur, and allure of Imperial Russia and - all these years later - it is still in my (Hungarian) blood.

Ever since that long-ago indoctrination, I have been immersing myself in the study of Russian history. Collecting Russian antiques. Acquiring original photos of Nicholas II and the Imperial family. 

As if this revelation isn't shocking enough, I also studied Russian music in college. I participated in many concerts of Russian music.....and even performed a Russian piano concerto (Anton Rubinstein's D minor) at Cal State Fullerton.

Hell, I even dated a few Russians in my time.
Well, I'm not sure if picking up that drunk Russian speed skater at the Tiki Hut in Garden Grove was exactly a "date", but that's beside the point.....

Anyway, I'm here to purge my demons by inflicting you with Russian music - -  all performed by ME.
By the way,
Vladimir Putin had nothing to do with it.




This is July from The Months (op. 37) by Tchaikovsky. I thought this was appropriate because......it's JULY!
Sometimes my brilliant mode of thinking amazes me.


Five piano preludes by Alexander Scriabin. Don't let this alarm you. They're all short and the last one is the best. I recorded these in Los Angeles when I was eighteen years old.
Scriabin is one of my ultimate favorite Russian composers. I used to perform a lot of his music.
Audio quality is mediocre.

Note: the third prelude (op. 9 no.1) is written entirely for LEFT HAND. Scriabin had injured his right hand while practicing some music by Franz Liszt - so he wrote several piano compositions for left hand only. 

And last but not least, a prelude by Anatoly Liadov.
BTW
I've heard from a reliable source that Soundcloud is going broke and will be closing up shop in less than 50 days.
I hope this isn't true. What will happen to the music I have on Soundcloud??
 


22 comments:

  1. I think Russian culture too you is how I am with South America. Russian history is fascinating and their culture, like architecture, music, ballet is incredible. I just haven't taken near enough time to study it more....except the men of course. I date a Russian for a few months. With his domineering sexy accent, I could have done anything to me and did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every once in awhile we need to have some vodka instead of gin.....(*smile*)

      Delete
  2. Well, by your definition, I suppose I've colluded with Russians, too. I've spoken to a LOT of them via amateur radio, and for a while, I was smitten with a bunch of Russian novels.

    Have a super weekend, dude.

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    Replies
    1. It seems like many of us have some Russkie secrets in our closets.

      (I always spelled it "Ruskie" but Spellcheck disagreed)

      Delete
  3. I've not studied to the extent (you have), but there's an infatuation, yes. ... and for what it's worth, I think Vladimir is damned attractive. (whew!)

    'Coming back a little later to listen to July and the Five Preludes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Putin attractive? Don't ever say that in front of a liberal.

      Putin does admittedly have some sex appeal - - but next to Trump he looks like a hand puppet.

      Delete
  4. Jon you need to come down outta them mountains and use your talent again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been told that several times...and I agree. Maybe some day I'll venture forth from the mountain....
      (thanks, Paula)

      Delete
  5. Okay, finally heard your sublime music: My headphones were not properly plugged in before :-) How's Scruffy doing today? Better and better (I hope) :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can sympathize with your plight. The speakers on my desktop computer weren't hooked up properly for months.

      Scruffy is doing much better - - many thanks for your concern!

      Delete
  6. Exquisite, beautiful. Jon, when my daughter was studying for her profession in stage presentation and costume design, we sent her off to Vsevolod Meyerhold's Apartment in Moscow. Back then, the government was not so clouded by our own and maybe things were safer --I don't know, but I do still believe, as I did 15 years ago, that the Russian people are nobody's enemy. What she learned there and in St. Petersburg have served her to great advantage in the U.S. Russia has been through many tumultuous episodes, but has always been an exemplary center of the performing arts.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Your daughter was very fortunate to have been able to absorb the Russian artistic culture firsthand. I have no doubt that it greatly enhanced (or inspired) her creativity. I've always admired Russia specifically because of their passion for the performing arts. It flourished most vigorously in the Imperial Russian era and (happily) survived the ravages of the revolution.

      My cousin Nancy's son studied in Russia for a year, but I'm not certain exactly what he studied. It was something scientific (which renders me clueless).

      Delete
  7. My husbands ancestory includes some Russian blood. and at one point i had an impressive collection of vintage matryoshka dolls until my grandchildren broke them. i think your fascination with russian culture is a good thing.

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    1. I'm not sure exactly why I'm so fascinated with Russia - - probably because they had a lot more artistic people than the Hungarians did.

      I'm sorry to hear about the fate of your matryoshka dolls. I don't have any grandkids - but my cats have broken several of my cherished things.

      Delete
  8. The composer Liadov was not familiar to me but the Prelude was. I think it has been orchestrated and used in films. I guess You would know.
    Beautiful.

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    1. Liadov wrote some impressive compositions, but (unfortunately) that prelude seems to be the only work of his that has endured the ravages of time.
      Some of his other compositions can be found on YouTube.

      Delete
  9. John,

    I don't have many Russia connections, except Sonja, whom I date In my late teens and was madly in love with. She did have a habit of thinking all things Russia superior, but I didn't want to admit I had a liking of Russian classical music. I didn't do so well with Russian Literature because I always bogged down trying to pronouce the names. The pictures accompaning your playing were wonderful. I especially liked those with the Tchaikovsky piece. Sometimes an artist can capture the life of ordinary people better than words.

    Larry

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you liked the pictures in the videos, Larry. I made both of those videos VERY quickly and didn't put too much thought into them. All the photos in the Scriabin video are of Russia.
      (I remember reading about Sonia on your blog).

      By the way - I've never fully appreciated Russian literature solely because I have to read it in English translations, and translations always diminish the potency.

      Delete
  10. Oh no! You need to find another place to store your music if Soundcloud is going to disappear! I knew you would gladly be colluding with Russians--LOL! ;) Lovely pieces.

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    1. I hope that somehow Soundcloud will be able to survive - because it's the easiest way for me to put my music on this blog. Making videos for YouTube is always too tedious and time-consuming.

      I also hope Annie is getting more used to her new environment!

      Delete
    2. Thanks. Annie is getting more comfortable, yes. I think she is beginning to like it here. ;)

      Delete
  11. Jon,
    No doubt about it, many Russians are very talented. Unfortunately today Russia is ruled by a criminal enterprise.
    Ron

    ReplyDelete

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