Yaroslav Timofeev | Fine MolOt Fellows Looking For New Music

Published Date

Having definitions of an “archaic instrument of labor” and “a recent political symbol”, the “hammer' (Russian translation of “hammer” word is “molot”) has become an orchestral music instrument starting from Vagner times; when the sparkling, irradiating  thunder roll of 22 anvils in “Gold of Rhein” has become famous from the most inspiring pictures of tetralogy about nibelunges. The same inspiring effect is aimed to be reached by  the Youth Branch of Russian Composers Union — the new MolOt of 21st Century .

As it was fairly notified by one of MolOt coordinators, Alexander Maklygin, the prorector of Kazan State Conservatorium, all the young composers associations existing in Soviet Union were established “from the top down” - due to the necessity of realization of youth policy. The same situation is observed in Russia nowadays: under the authority of senior and mostly aged public officials, the youth representative branches are organized, such as «young guards» of the political parties, the platforms for promising young electorate. MolOt (YBCU) is one of rare exclusions there. The young Moscow composer, Yaroslav Sudzilovsky, decided to incorporate the beninning creators under the auspices of Russian Composers Union, brought this idea to the responsible executives and got the  permission. A number of his young colleagues have accepted his idea with a great enthusiasm and started distributing the information about MolOt further and further. This is how the first official commonwealth of young composers in Russia has been established by their own good will and efforts.

Once more, the phenomenon of MolOt has cleared up the myth about self-sufficiency of individual authors and their objection against “collectivization”. According to the law of contradiction, the young generation used to avoid the society when the young people were forced to join the commonwealth, such as, for example, thirty years ago. Now the situation has changed completely: hot striving of the young artists to unite their efforts for union has made obvious the shortage of professional composers of communication in today's Russia. The contacts between the composers residing in different cities have been ceased, and the different universities are not having contacts with each other as well, sometimes even the students of different compositional classes in the same institution do not meet each other.The meanwhile, the current social circle of a modern composer is already close to the consistency of "empty space": the author now is having very little public following him, and the mass media is not writing too much about the composer, so the professional community remains the only natural environment for him. That’s why one of the goals of MolOt is – to fill “airless environment” with live air, to activate the contacts of professionals, to make it so that a young composer could feel engaged in that context.

In Moscow department of MolOt, these purposes are fulfilled by arranging the regular sessions of listening to the newly-composed music, which are held on monthly basis starting from the current season. All the meetings are held in the headquarters of the head of Russian Composers Union, which provides a special status to such events. The audience of such meetings comprehends, first of all, “assorted”young people who come to show their music; also, there are representatives of MolOt Arts Council including the acknowledged authorities from the elder and middle-age composers and musicologist generations, such as Victor Ekimovsky and  Yury Kasparov, Rauf Farhadov and Alexey Sioumak. The procedure of discussion of each separate composition contains four steps: introduction by the author, listening to the music piece, analysis of the music piece prepared by young musicologist after detailed study of the composition, and – comments on the music piece by Arts Council. The last stage is found the most exciting for the authors, hence the rules of MolOt prescribe not a simple way of comments: here the specialists say everything what they think, without any fear to hurt the ingenuous mind of a person or spoil his/her relationship with the colleagues. And this is the reason why MolOt is beloved by  the young composers who were successful to overcome their fear of critics and such an integral part of each creator’s character like “pathological vanity”. Nowadays, MolOt sessions are considered to be the only place in Moscow where young people can hear the honest progessional opinion about their music.

Although, certainly, music listening sessions are not everything: by results of the analyzed hot music pieces, the Arts Council of MolOt makes its decisions, such as – whose compositions will be included in the concert programs, whose compositions shall be recommended for publishing, who of the composers will be characterized in musicological articles.

Two years of concert experience have proven that, even quite completely without financial support, being powered only by a pure enthusiasm, it was possible for MolOt members to achieve a positive result – to “crush an ice” of public’s reaction to contemporary music. For example, soundtracks to silent movie by Dzigi Vertov “A Man with A Camera”written by MolOt composers in a team-work and performed covering the movie, included in the concert program of “Live Soundtracks” in Moscow Philarmony Chamber Hall has been acclaimed with a very warm welcome by public. Music performance night in Yurginson hall held on 24th of March, 2010, has become a reason for recording the MolOt compact-disk, which has been released and already “popularly”distributed, including uploads in World Wide Web. In December, 2010, MolOt has presented its own symphonic program to the public, as there are hundreds of orchestral scores in the personal assets of the young authors, but very few of them had live concert performance records (in many cities even some ones had not been performed at all).

The super-objective of MolOt is – to discover the new music language of XXI century, which is still not found, besides, ten years of the century have already passed. As an important condition for reaching this goal, MolOt has accepted one rule: there are no stylistic restrictions in MolOt, the only requirement to the MolOt sessions participants is their professionalism. The compositions which are brought to the MolOt sessions by the young authors, differ from each other so much, that sometimes it seems they were composed with a time difference of 100-200 years. Starting from the first months of functioning of MolOt, it had been divided into two “wings” having hot live and online disputes with each other (the hottest disputes are posted in Internet, in fact) – composers of one of the two groups are experimentators, the other ones write tonal music. The Avantgarde branch (containing such composers as George Dorohov, Alexander Hubeyev, Stanislav Makovsky and others) draw the pterodactyl on the pan-flute, play virtuously with the glasses by the grand piano strings, rubs the plastic lines with fiddlesticks deliriously or put at the grand piano a “psycho”which is removed out of the instrument by the two white-uninformed keepers in the  end of the composition. «Tonal music young composers» (represented by Alexander Shishov, Tihon Hrennikov-junior, Nikolay Poluboyarov, Sergey Chechetko and others) appeal to classical structures, searching for the musical beauty which had been looked for by the former European composers tradition; they are working with folklore primary sources, “emancipating the consonance”. The relations of these two opposite directions have a vivid misbalance: the traditionalists behave quite aggressive, protecting the arts from the “dirty hands”of experimentators; the avantgardists are intended in a more pacifistic way, trying not to interfere in any debates. Without any doubt, here we face the reverse movement of the pendulum which had been first launched in 1960-1970ies: at that time the followers of a new arts  direction were fighting for their way through the ingrained sockdolager of tradition; now the tradition tries to win its own rights with the same passion.

The other constituent part of MolOt – the musicologists division, — has the same concerns with composers, but even much stronger. It’s amazing, how weak is the communication between the young Russian musicologists—  and it is having place while the Internet is available for everyone! In the provincial conservatories, Moscow and St. Petersburg, even Moscow State Conservatory and Gnesin Academy – everywhere the strong “iron curtains” are standing. Preparing the investigation, a young Moscow musicologist tries not to search for information in the works of his/her St. Petersburg colleagues, and his/her St. Petersburg colleague ignores the achievements of the scientists from Moscow. This situation put upon Russian musicology school, which used to have real chances to gain the world’s leading position before, actually takes out the “school” status from national musicology, and if the expression can be applicable in this context, the quality is tending to be replaced by quantity nowadays. Hence more and more scientists working in various cities with musicology researches are burying the results of their investigations in the local libraries.

Musicologist section of MolOt has already unified its representatives living in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan’, Nizhny Novgorod, Bashkortostan, Tuva and Yakutia. The two conferences held were full of the same hot debates and junior daemon as the composers’ ones; such an attitude can be rarely observed in the society of boring musicologists “burning the midnight oil” of their science. MolOt gives a hint to musicologists how to analyze the contemporary music — because the conservatory education style tributes only several lectures for 5 years’ period for this purpose, in the best case.

The music history shows, that all the young musical unions had been existing no longer than for 10-15 years — this relates to “The Mighty Handful”, and to “French Six”, and to many other magnificent unions. The reason in all the cases was the same: the creators having the similar ideas at the start, had their “wings grown up” later on, and the wider the wings became, the stronger they affected each other. Trend of cooperation used to fail, and the unions used to crush. MolOt has one big advantage, which enables the organization to further approach — it is a principal absence of restrictions in division of the music to “right” and “wrong” examples. So, whenever the MolOt fellows have their wings grown up, even then they will not affect each other, because the spaces of their flight will always be different, but general direction – the same.