Voices from Russia

Friday, 11 August 2017

11 August 2017. Some of My Favourite Things… Vltava from Ma Vlast… From Moscow With Love

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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Two Donetsk Musicians to Appear at Carnegie Hall

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Two musicians of the Donetsk State Academic Philharmonic won an international competition in Kazan and received invitations to perform in New York in the USA. The Philharmonic’s media office reported:

Artists of the Donetsk State Academic Philharmonic Viktoriya Goncharova (piano) and Vladimir Vaskovsky (trumpet) received invitations to perform at one of the most legendary concert halls in the world… Carnegie Hall in New York (USA).

The invitation came because they were winners in the international competition “Living Spring”, held in Kazan (Republic of Tatarstan in the Russian Federation). Vaskovsky won First Prize in “Instrumental Ensemble” and Goncharova took Second Prize prize in “The Piano”. VIVA MUSIC, the organising committee of the international contest, extended the invitations to New York. The event is going to take place in June 2018. Goncharova told us that the trip to the USA was one of the prizes in the contest in Kazan and that their performance in the USA wouldn’t be under the auspices of VIVA MUSIC. The Ninth International Competition of Folk Art “Living Spring” took place in Kazan from 19 to 20 March. Soloists, ensembles, and accompanists competed at the festival… the categories included piano, string instruments, folk instruments, wind instruments, and classical vocals.

27 March 2017

DAN Donetsk News agency

https://dan-news.info/world/artistov-doneckoj-filarmonii-priglasili-vystupit-v-nyu-jorkskom-karnegi-xolle.html

Editors:

Perspirin’ minds wanna know… will these talented musicians play in the USA, or will the Uniate/schismo nationalists blubber away until the Americans forbid them entry? What I’ve seen of the loudmouth Galician nationalist diaspora in the USA and Canada doesn’t give me much hope…

BMD 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Paul Robeson’s Role in Spain Remembered

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The life of Paul Robeson was extraordinary; Nancy Wallach ( the daughter of a Veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade) recalled his journey of struggle and steadfast commitment to democracy and the working class in a riveting talk on the connection between Robeson and the Lincoln Brigade, given 17 December at New York University’s Tamiment Library entitled “The Artist Must Elect to Fight for Freedom or Slavery”. The words were those of Robeson himself. An organisation of descendants of some of those who had volunteered to fight in Spain, the Friends and Family of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (FFALB) sponsored the event. The talk highlighted Robeson’s support for the Spanish Republic and the International Brigades… the volunteers who came from around the world to fight for democracy and to resist fascism in Spain. The Lincoln Battalion was part of this International Brigade, a US contingent. The Communist International organised the International Brigade to help the democratically elected Popular Front government of the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930’s. 60,000 volunteers came from many nations and from many walks of life, but they had one thing in common… the resolve to fight fascism.

Paul Robeson left the USA for Europe in the early 1930’s, at a time when the USA was in the Jim Crow era, so, opportunities for a Black artist were limited. He gave concerts in England and Scotland. Robeson was immensely popular in Europe and his concerts always sold out within hours. During this period, he grew to love the international working class so when the civil war broke out in Spain he already had a deep understanding of how the struggle for democracy was inextricably part of the class struggle. The fascist governments of Nazi Germany and Italy gave General Franco, the military leader of the Spanish fascist rebellion, massive support… including logistics and armaments… while most of the nations in Western Europe and the Americas, including the USA, took a position of “neutrality”, a policy that, in essence, supported the fascist forces.

Witnessing these developments, Robeson strove to enlighten the people of the Western nations about the situation in Spain and worked tirelessly to raise money for the cause of Spanish democracy. During his time in Spain, he visited the troops in the fields and hospitals and gave concerts at every opportunity to help lift the spirits of these courageous fighters and to arouse support for their cause. Robeson eventually travelled to Spain itself and said:

I went to Spain in 1938, and that was a major turning point in my life. There I saw that it was the working men and women of Spain who were heroically giving their last full measure of devotion to the course of democracy.

Later, in 1943, speaking of his visit to the front lines in Spain, Robeson told the Herald Tribune:

My heart was filled with admiration and love for these white Americans, and there was a sense of great pride in my own people when I saw that there were Negroes, too, in the ranks of the Lincoln men in Spain.

Ms Wallach noted that such observations stood in stark contrast to the then-segregated US Army. Comments from the audience were very moving, describing the love shown to Robeson when he visited the working men and women and sang for them in their homelands. Vinie Burrows, actor and storyteller, reminded the audience of “the tallest tree in the forest”, Paul Robeson. She said:

Paul Robeson’s life and vision for a world of peace remain an inspiration for all, but particularly I hope for young people. His unswerving stance against the violence of war and of poverty must motivate all actions to support the global peace movement and for nuclear abolition.

In 1940, the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade made Paul Robeson an honorary member, a rare honour. Founding member of VALB, Milt Wolf, said:

When I stood beside him to pin the star on his lapel, I had this feeling that Paul Robeson wasn’t so much becoming a member of the Lincoln Brigade, as that we were becoming a part of Paul Robeson.

The last word on Paul Robeson came from long-time International Brigade supporter, the musician/actor and activist, Harry Belafonte:

It’s interesting to me that I should have been blessed in those early years of decision-making by having been embraced by a man who had a profound effect on my life… Paul Robeson… and it was from Paul that I learned that the purpose of art is not just to show life as it is, but to show life as it should be.

Finally, Ms Wallach concluded the event with the words, Robeson’s own, which served as the title of the event and engraved on Robeson’s tombstone:

The artist must elect to fight for freedom or slavery. I have made my choice, I had no alternative.

4 January 2017

Gabe Falsetta

Peoples World

http://www.peoplesworld.org/article/paul-robesons-role-in-spain-remembered/

Saturday, 10 September 2016

10 September 2016. Some of My Favourite Things… P G Lisitian Sings “Ya Vas Lyublyu” from “Pikovaya Dama”

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An aria from La Traviata… Joe Green in Russian!

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Here’s a patriotic song in a more popular vein… Moya rodina (My Motherland)

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P G Lisitian (Peoples Artist of the USSR) came from a humble working-class family… in the money-grubbing West, he would’ve got nowhere. In the USSR, he found an outlet for his talent. That’s something that the righties never talk about… how the Sovs sincerely sought out talent of all sorts (artistic, scientific, and athletic) amongst all classes and how they gave people a chance to develop their skills. Lisitian was a leading soloist at the Bolshoi (officially, the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Russia (GABT Rossii)) from 1940 to 1966; he taught at conservatoire for many years afterward (he died in 2004, in his 93rd year). Ya vas lyublyu from Tchaikovsky’s Pikovaya Dama (The Queen of Spades) has to the be the most famous aria in Russian opera… need I mention that Pavel Gerasimovich was a mentor of D A Khvorostovsky? Many believe his interpretation to be the best yet… I agree.

BMD

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