ClassicsOnline Home » Guitar Recital: Dervoed, Artyom - BIKTASHEV / OREKHOV / RUDNEV / KOSHKIN (Russian Guitar Music)
Winner of several important international competitions, including the 2006 Michele Pittaluga Guitar Competition, Alessandria, Italy, Artyom Dervoed started playing guitar at the age of six. He has since enjoyed a career that has taken him to the United States and many European cities. This recital features works by contemporary composers from the Russian Federation, including Valery Biktashev’s masterpiece Orpheus, based on the Orpheus and Eurydice story, and Sergei Orekhov’s virtuoso The Troika Variations, closely influenced by Russian gypsy music.
Artyom Dervoed: Russian Guitar Music
Valery Biktashev • Sergei Orekhov • Sergei Rudnev • Nikita Koshkin
Valery Biktashev (b. 1963), received his early musical training in his native village in Kazakhstan. In spite of the fact that in the judgement of the Soviet educational system of the time he was considered devoid of any natural gifts for music, he felt a drive to learn and insisted in enrolling in the piano class at the local vocational music school, eventually earning a first prize in piano performance in regional competitions. After completing his schooling, Biktashev enrolled at the famous Gnesin’s Academy of Music in Moscow, studying the piano with V. Ia. Zhubinskaya. At the same time he enrolled in the composition class of the same institute. In 2007 Biktashev was a prize-winner in the Andrey Petrov All- Russian composition competition. Valery Biktashev considers himself mainly as a melodist composer, positing that sincerity in the expression of feelings is the obligation of an artist. Orpheus is a programmatic masterpiece based on the Orpheus and Eurydice story, requiring considerable technical facility. It was edited for performance by Dmitry Tatarkin.
Sergei Orekhov (1935-1998) was a composer and performer on the Russian seven-string guitar whose music is mainly in the form of improvisatory variations on popular melodies, Russian folk-songs and nineteencentury Russian romances. The song known as Troika, more fully known by the first line of the words, Vot mchitsia troika pochtovaia (Here the postal troika sweeps by), evokes the old Russian three-horse carriage and the symbolism inherent in images of the vast distances of the Russian landscape, far away and unrequited love, and the romantic melancholy of autumn. Fully in the tradition of the nineteenth-century so-called “composed” Russian romance, Troika has become entrenched in Russian culture as a folk-song. The Troika Variations, here transposed for the six-string guitar, are characteristic of Orekhov’s improvisatory style, so closely influenced by Russian gypsy music.
Sergei Rudnev’s (b. 1955) Lipa vekovaia (The Old Lime Tree) is an arrangement and not a literal transcription of an old Russian folk-song. It has been recorded and performed numerous times by several guitarists. Unfortunately Western performers do not seem to understand the cultural background of this music. There are several genres in Russian folklore. The Old Lime Tree belongs to the protiazhnaia (long drawn out) genre, and should be treated differently from other songs belonging, for example, to the khorovod (dance) genre. In protiazhnaia music, time signatures and bar lines are a convention imposed on this music by Western standards. They do not belong to the Russian folk tradition and can be safely ignored. Happily Artyom Dervoed’s performance of this inherently vocal work, is indicative of the artist’s deep feeling for the folk-music of his own heritage.
Nikita Koshkin (b. 1956) first appeared on the International concert scene in 1980 with the performance of The Prince’s Toys Suite by Vladimir Mikulka at the Cannington Festival in England, organized and directed by John W. Duarte. Without question it was Duarte’s indefatigable efforts in the promotion of this remarkable piece that brought it to the attention of guitarists. First published in the Soviet Union in 1981, it has been subsequently published anew in Japan, and more recently in France. The story line, obviously based on an old nursery rhyme, is clearly annunciated in the titles of the several segments. This is programmatic music at its best, drawing its inspiration, one suspects, from earlier Russian masterpieces such as Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and Swan Lakeballets and other Russian compositions dealing with children’s fantasies. The musical language itself, though, is unique and unprecedented in the guitar repertoire, particularly through the means of revolutionary technical devices invented by the composer.