press :: articles

Eduard Artemiev

Moscow. Russia

Eduard Artemiev is a composer whose name for many people is associated with electronic music. With unusual sounding's, easily discernible in the present-day sound environment by their abundance of nuances and unaccountable acoustic comfort. 
With peculiar world of imagery, sense of space so striking for the mind. A wide variety of views of Artemiev's music is pronounced, dealing with it's different aspects such as technical- "it's impossible to understand the way it's done", aesthetically - "It's infinitely beautiful", and spiritual sides - "an encounter with the truth". 
Artemiev accomplished his academic musical education at the Moscow Conservatory in Yuri Shaporin's class of composition. His meeting with engineer Eugene Murzin -one of the first in the world to invent a synthesizer - sealed his fate: "Incredible prospects for creativity were opened up by electronic music. 
That was a real terra incognita. Composers had never set foot on it, in their practical activities". It happened in 1960. And in 1968 the Italian press reported after the presentation if his unique ANS-synthesizer and Artemiev's compositions performed on it, which Murzin made at the International Electronic Music Congress in Florence: "Moscow is the venue of one of the leading centers of electronic avant-garde" ("La Stampa", June 14th 1968).
Nowadays Artemiev is a acknowledged leader of Russian electronic music. 
Many of his experiments and discoveries have been realized in the sphere of electronic synthesis, where he is a researcher authority and a highly poetical master. 
The cultural trends of his time have been originally interpreted in the composer's creative evolution, with different facet's of his individuality revealed in an alteration of stylistic orientations. His compositions written in the 60s-the early 70s belong to the aesthetic of avant-garde. Thank to electronics, which enabled to enter a qualitatively different acoustical world, sound color and timbre became the field where a search for new musical laws and relationship could be undertaken. "Sound is a palette with most subtle and lavish nuances of color. 
Electronics lends some new qualities to it: peculiar acoustical sounding, unlimited duration, abundance of timbres". It is in electronics that Artemiev finds what most appeals to his gift. For him the synthesizer is a possibility to "compose" sound, timbre, to sculpt it, to lend from, "color", energy, duration. A most fascinating task for the musician with a creator's imagination, a colorist's talent and an inventor's intuition.
His findings in the sphere of colouring have expanded the limits of timbre perception.In the composition "Mosaic" (1967) "sonors" - timbres become independent means to express the motion of sounds in space. "Mosaic" won recognition at the festivals in Florence, Venice, Cologne and Bourges."The possibility of penetrating into the microcosm of timbre, of searching in the field of controlled - spaces creation" has been realized by Artemiev in his composition "Twelve Glimpses on the World of Sound" (1969). Here the unique technical conception - the creation of a series of acoustic "variations on one timbre" - symbolizes the idea of the unity of micro- and macrocosm. 
Artemiev compares "the space of timbre" with perspective: "Such variations can be continued for as much time as one would like, for the given amount of overtones (as the one present in the timbre of temirkomuz - M. K.) can be combined indefinitely". "Mosaic" and "Twelve Glimpses" were included into the phonograph record "Musical Offerings" (1990).
Kindred to the aesthetics of avant-garde is his incidental music for films of Andrei Tarkovsky. The unordinary task set by the director required similar creative efforts on the part of the composers. Writing the music to "Solaris", "The Mirror", "Stalker" resulted in serious experiments in electronics and the specific sphere of audio-video contact. From the mid-70s Artemiev's style underwent a change in the direction of "new simplicity". 
The dialogue between the academic tradition and rock-aesthetic tended to meet other, "more global tasks: to assimilate the styles, genres and trends in the earlier and existing music, as well as to master the entire sound, audible space as an acoustical physical phenomenon". Resonant with those tasks was also his desire to try his hand at an openly emotional, intuitive self-expression. "Polychromaticism of timbre" still preserved its significance for the composer, however, the traditional elements of writing were more actively introduced, accompanied with a new sense of melody, rhythm and harmony.
Those creative aspirations of his were embodied, thought differently, in a number of compositions. Declaratively: in his cantata "Ode to Herald of Good" to the text of Pierre de Coubertin, written for the Olympic Games in Moscow (1980). "I decided to take the road not of a synthesis, but of a "symbiosis" of all expressive means at my disposal, and to write each movement of the cantata in a special technique and in different genres, with electronics' expressive possibilities as a unifying pivot" (the author's annotation to the phonograph record of "Ode" ("Ritual").
In a variety of proportions and combinations the synthesis of "music's" was realized in his quasi-symphonies "The Seven Gates in to the World of Satori" and "Peregrini", in the poems to Lithuanian text's "White Dove", "Summer", "Vision", in the music for the films "Sibiriada", "Fox Hunting", "The End of Eternity", "Moon Rainbow", in the cantata "The Warmth of the Earth", in opera "Crime and Punishment" based on Dostoyevsky's novel. 
There is a new quality perceptible in the works written in the late 80's, a blending of the democratic aspirations inherited from aesthetics of the 70's with the ideas of avant-garde, of the rational with the intuitive. Here first mention should be made of his nostalgic cycle based on the music for Tarkovsky's films "Solaris", "The Mirror" and "Stalker (1989). 
An international response has been gained by another work of the composers "Three Glimpses on the Revolution" written for the Bicentennial of the French Revolution and commissioned from the organizers of the Electronic Music Festival in Bourges (1989).The review in the Portuguese newspaper "Diario de Lisbon" ran "... the work "Three Glimpses on the Revolution" by Soviet Composer Eduard Artemiev has become a real discovery: his powerful music built with great skill is remarkable for outstanding accomplishment. 
This is a work of a typically Russian brought up in the traditions of Musorgsky, Stravinsky, Shostakovich... This is a music of a great epical might and undoubted expression" (from Jorge Peixinho's article "Synthesis" and the "The French Revolution", October 27th 1989). A good deal of interesting music has been created by Artemiev for the cinema. 
He is one of the most acknowledged masters of film music. Film directors are hopeful of success if Artemiev is involved in the film. The composer's name on the poster or advertising announcement is a lure attracting cinema-goers. It is not a surprise that recording's containing his film music, in particular, the disc "Mood-Pictures" with fragments from several of his film scores, enjoy such popularity. 
Ready for release are the records "Mood-Pictures", "Music to Films of Nikita Mikhalkov", "The Inner Circle" and "Burnt by the Sun".Abroad there is a growing interest in Artemiev's film music. In France a record has been issued with his music to Andrei Konchalovsky's serial "Sibiriada". A compact disc has been released in the Netherlands containing his voluminous electronic cycle based on his music to Andrei Tarkovsky's films and also including the composition "Ocean" written in memory of the late film director (1989).
Over 120 "scores of sound" created by him for the cinema impress with a diversity of themes, plots, genres and heterogeneity of artistic tasks, no matter whether are solved by means of electronics or symphony orchestra. If necessary, the composer makes use of samplers, or acoustical instruments, or orchestra.

Text based on the writings of Margarita Katunyan

articles

All rights reserved. Design and maintenance ML Productions 1998-2014.