Myaskovsky was long recognized as an individualist even by the Soviet establishment. In the 1920s the critic Boris Asafyev commented that he was ‘not the kind of composer the Revolution would like; he reflects life not through the feelings and spirit of the masses, but through the prism of his personal feelings. He is a sincere and sensible artist, far from “life’s enemy”, as he has been portrayed occasionally. He speaks not only for himself, but for many others’. He never married and was shy, sensitive and retiring; Pierre Souvtchinsky believed that a ‘brutal youth (in military school and service in the war)’ left him ‘a fragile, secretive, introverted man, hiding some mystery within. It was as if his numerous symphonies provide a convenient if not necessary refuge in which he could hide and transpose his soul into sonorities’. Stung by the many accusations in the Soviet press of ‘individualism, decadence, pessimism, formalism and complexity’, Myaskovsky wrote to Asafiev in 1940 ‘Can it be that the psychological world is so foreign to these people?’ When somebody described Zhdanov’s decree against ‘formalism’ to him as ‘historic’, he is reported to have retorted ‘Not historic - hysterical’. Shostakovich, who visited Myaskovsky on his deathbed, described him afterwards to the musicologist Marina Sabinina as ‘the most noble, the most modest of men’. Mstislav Rostropovich, for whom Myaskovsky wrote his Second Cello Sonata late in life, described him as ‘a humorous man, a sort of real Russian intellectual, who in some ways resembled Turgenev’.
As professor of composition at Moscow Conservatory from 1921 until his death, Myaskovsky exercised an important influence on his many pupils. The young Shostakovich considered leaving Leningrad to study with him, and those who did become his students were eventually to include such composers as Aram Khachaturian, Dmitri Kabalevsky, Vissarion Shebalin, Rodion Shchedrin, German Galynin, Andrei Eshpai, Alexander Lokshin, Boris Tchaikovsky, and Evgeny Golubev, a teacher and prolific composer whose students included Alfred Schnittke. The degree and nature of his influence on his students is difficult to measure. What is lacking is an account of his teaching methods, what and how he taught, or more than brief accounts of his teaching; Shchedrin makes a mention in an interview he did for the American music magazine Fanfare, and that section in Testimony, if authentic, is another. It has been said that the earlier music of Khachaturian, Kabalevsky and other of his students has a Myaskovsky flavor, with this quality decreasing as the composer’s own voice emerges (since Myaskovsky’s own output is internally diverse such a statement needs further clarification.) — while some composers, for instance the little-heard Evgeny Golubev, kept something of his teacher’s characteristics well into their later music. The latter’s sixth piano sonata is dedicated to Myaskovsky’s memory and the early ‘Symphony No. 0’ of Golubev’s pupil Alfred Schnittke, released on CD in 2007, has striking reminiscences of Myaskovsky’s symphonic style and procedures.
Edited by blackless on 28 Feb 2011, 23:19
Sources (view history)
Registered users can edit this page. Sign up now, it’s free and you will discover so much great music :)
Generated from facts marked up in the wiki.
No facts about this artist
You can also view a list of all recent wiki changes.