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Артур Сергеевич Лурье

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Biography

Arthur-Vincent Lourié, born Naum Izrailevich Luria (Russian: Наум Израилевич Лурья), later changed his name to Artur Sergeyevich Luriye (Russian: Артур Сергеевич Лурье, 14 May 1892 in Saint Petersburg - 12 October 1966 in Princeton, New Jersey) was a significant composer. Lourié played an important role in the earliest stages of the organization of music after the 1917 Revolution but later went into exile. His music reflects his close connections with contemporary writers and artists, and also his close relationship with Igor Stravinsky.

Born into a prosperous Jewish family, he converted to Catholicism while still in Russia. An admirer of van Gogh, from whom he derived the name ‘Vincent’, Lourié was partly self-taught, but also studied piano with Barinova and composition with Glazunov at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, graduating in 1913. He became friendly with the Futurist poets and particularly Anna Akhmatova, whose poetry he was among the first to set. He was also acquainted with Vladimir Mayakovsky, Nikolai Kulbin, Fyodor Sologub and Alexander Blok; and was deeply influenced by contemporary art. His early piano pieces, from 1908 onward, take on from the late works of Scriabin but evolve new kinds of discourse, arriving in 1914 at an early form of dodecaphony (the Synthèses) and in 1915 at the Formes en l’air, dedicated to Picasso, a rather Cubist conception using an innovative form of notation in which different systems are placed spatially on the page in independent blocks, with blanks instead of bars’ rest. At this stage of his career he seems a parallel figure to Nikolai Roslavets, though Lourié’s aesthetic appears more ‘decadent’.

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