Composer of 'S'



Vissarion Shebalin (1902-1963)

A Russian (previously Soviet Union) composer and an educator. His formal name is Vissarion Yakovlevitch Shebalin. He was born in Omsk, Siberia region on 11th June 1902. In 1921, he entered Omsk Conservatory in 1921, and the next year, he turned into Moscov Conservatory to study under Nikolai Myaskovsky and graduated there in 1928. He started to have a lecture there while he was still a student, and enrolled there as a teacher after his graduation. Also, he was appointed as a professor in 1935, and became a chair of composition department in 1941. In 1942, he finally became the director of Moscov Conservatory and have brought up numerous pupils such as Denisov, Gubaidulina, and Khachaturian. In 1948, he was accused by Moscow Conference of Music to retire the position because his compositional was 'formalistic'. Also, in 1953, his right hand was parlyzed because of the circulatory disease. But he continued to compose until his death in Moscow on 28th of May, 1963. Although he is still remained fairly unknown in western world, Shebalin is one of the most famous and prestigous composer. Shostakovich once praised him as 'the most talented' educator of Stalinist regime (2003© K.S.)


Main Works (Needless to say the original title is in Russian)

Stage Works Opera 'sun over the steppe' (1939-1959)
Comedy 'Zhenikh iz Posostva' (1942)
The skylark (1943)
Opera 'the taming of the shrew; after Shakespeare' (1946-1956)
Ballet 'festival: ballet in three acts with a prologue' (1958)
Orchestral Symphony No. 1 in F minor (1925)
Symphony No. 2 in C sharp minor (1929)
Dramatic symphony 'Lenin' (1931 rev. 1959) <narr, 4vo, choir, orch>
Symphony No. 3 in C major (1934-1935)
Suite for orchestra No. 1 (1934-1935)
Suite for orchestra No. 2 (1935 rev. 1961)
Symphony No. 4 in B major (1935 rev. 1961)
Russian overture in E minor (1941)
Symphonietta on themes of Russian folksongs (1949-1951)
Symphony No. 5 in C major (1962)
Suite for orchestra No. 3 (1963)
Concerto Concertino No. 1 (1931-1932) <vln, strings>
Concertino No. 2 (1929-1930 rev. 1958) <hrn, small-orch>
Suite (1933) <vln, orch?>
Violin concerto in G major (1936-1940 rev. 1959) <vln, orch>
Chamber String quartet No. 1 (1923) <2vln, vla, vc>
String trio (1924 rev. 1934) <vln, vla, vc>
String quartet No. 2 (1934) <2vln, vla, vc>
String quartet No. 3 (1938) <2vln, vla, vc>
String quartet No. 4 (1940) <2vln, vla, vc>
String quartet No. 5 'The Slavonian' (1942) <2vln, vla, vc>
String quartet No. 6 (1943) <2vln, vla, vc>
Sonata in E minor (1940-1944) <vln, vla>
Piano trio in A major (1946-1947) <vln, vc, p>
String quartet No. 7 (1947-1948) <2vln, vla, vc>
Prelude in E minor (1951) <g>
Two preludes in E minor and C major (1954) <g>
Sonata for violin and piano No. 1 (1957-1958) <vln, p>
Sonata for viola and piano No. 2 (1954) <vla, p>
Sonata for cello and piano No. 3 (1960) <vc, p>
String quartet No. 8 (1960) <2vln, vla, vc>
String quartet No. 9 (1963) <2vln, vla, vc>
Sonatina (1963) <g>
Piano Sonata-ballade for piano (1921)
Rondo for piano (1926)
Piano sonata in E flat minor No. 1 (1926-1927 rev. 1963)
Three piano sonatinas (1929)
Songs
Choral
Two songs after Dehmel (1922)
Songs: five fragments after Sappho (1924)
Three songs after Achmatova (1924)
Two songs after Blok (1925)
Songs after Jesenin (1926)
Songs opus 10 (1928)
Cantata 'blue May, Free Country' (1930) <choir, orch>
Songs opus 15 (1931)
Overture with choir ad libitum (1933-1934) <choir>
Songs opus 23 (1935)
Songs opus 26 (1937)
Songs opus 32 (1941)
Songs opus 36 (1943)
Cantata 'Moscow' (1946) <4vo, choir, org, orch>
Songs opus 40 (1947)
Choruses opus 42 (1949)
Choruses opus 44 (195- )
Choruses opus 45 (195- )
Choruses opus 47 (1956?)
Songs opus 48 (1956)
Choruses opus 49 (1957?)
Choruses opus 50 (1957)
Choruses opus 52 (1960)
Songs opus 54 (1961)
'To my grandchildren' (1963) <choir>
Choruses opus 59 (1963)
Other Overture 'on marie themes' in D major opus 25 (1936)
Variations on a Russian Folksong (1939-1940)


Shebalin Disc Review


"Russian Overture / Symphony No.2 / Symphony No.4" (Olympia : OCD 597)
Sergei Skripka (cond) Russian Cinematographic Symphony Orchestra


The compositional diction of Shebalin reflects his birth date. Comparing with the other (much more famous) Russian composer, his sound is much more modern. While his dignified melodies and form construction are largely effected by Rimsky-Korsakov or Borodin, his harmonic expression goes further than them. If you equally loves Debussian and Franckists, you should try this. Although it is fairly difficult to describe his sound, I can examplify Eastern-European composers like Vit.Novak, as the composers sound alike, or let me describe his sound like 'Vaughan-Williams's harmonization with Smetana's famous orchestral work 'Mordau''. It is truly regretable to see the situation that his works can be purchased only via Olympia label - a company which is good at Eastern-European and Soviet music. He should be re-evaluated. As for the performance of the disc, it is still an good performance even though the brass section of the orchestra is a bit instable and the strings is a bit rough.

"Symphony No.1 / Symphony No.3" (Olympia : OCD577)
Mark Ermler, Valery Gergiev (cond) USSR Radio Symphony Orchestra
Except the concertos that became difficult to be found already, these two CDs of symphonic works from Olympia label provide a precious oppotunity to appreciate Shebalin's whole symphonies. This disc includes Symphony No.1 and No.3. Why No.3 rather than No.2? Once you purchased one of them, you will immediately find the non-chromatic order have a certain reason. A touch of French impressionistic harmonization effects indirectly toward that of the other two symphonies (No.2 coupling with No.4). It may be imported via east-european modernists such as Novák. On the contrary, No.1 and No.3 included in this volume sound definetive post-war Soviet nationalistic music. 仰々しいまでの form-ism and strict melody-lines with full of chromatic pessimistic phrases demonstrate these symphonies are a sort of Shostakovich-generation Russian orcheatral music. The reson of the contrast between them can be found the sub-titles of the symphonies included in this CD. No.1 entitled 'in Myaskovsky way' - the name of the composer's master, whereas No.3 dedicated to the memory of Shostakovich. Then, it seems natural that the publisher side decided to divide the four with the criterion of the compositional manner, rather than the chromatic order. Although French atmosphere is difficult to be found in these, if you feel sympathy in Honegger or Gorecki, you will find many attractions in these symphonies. This disc contains another surprise. The name of the world famous conductor Gergiev can be found on the performers' list of this CD. In fact the performance is better than the other one unfortunately the compositions sound less French.

"String Quartets No.1-3" (Olympia : OCD 663)
Krasni Quartet : Anton Shelepov, Alexandra Zubova (vln) Boris Vainer (vla) Aleksei Shestiperov (vc)
This is volume one of the three disc series of Shebalin's string quartets. The string quartet is formed by the applicants of musical grants by St.Petersburg Conservatory in Russia. However, the ability in performance is close to a bad level. Above all, the sensory in pitch control of the violins (especially the second violin) are truly horrorable. Oh crap!! However, the compositions enclosed in this disc are well written (as those in the orchestral works) too. Shebalin is effected by French impressionism initially. Therefore, for the french music fans, it is wiser to purchase his works written in his youthful days at first. As for the string quartet is no exception. The first string quartet is largely french rooted. While the melodies are more romantic and modest, the modal harmonization with the application of rich flatted harmonies clearly indicates his favor. beautiful! So it is again truly misfortune that they are recorded by the terrible string quartet... As far as I can find, there is no more available alternates. Comparing with this, even Naxos label should easily record a better alternate. I beg every company to give us another alternates!!

"String Quartets No.6, No.7, No. 8" (Olympia : OCD 665)
Krasni Quartet : Anton Shelepov, Alexandra Zubova (vln) Boris Vainer (vla) Aleksei Shestiperov (vc)
This is volume 3 of the three disc series of Shebalin's string quartets. The string quartet is formed by the applicants of musical grants by St.Petersburg Conservatory in Russia. However, the ability in performance is close to a bad level. Above all, the sensory in pitch control of the violins (especially the second violin) are truly horrorable. Oh crap!! However, the compositions enclosed in this disc are well written (as those in the orchestral works) too. Shebalin is effected by French impressionism initially. But later on, his diction goes gradually out from impressionism. As for the melodies of these latter 3 of the string quartets, melodies get more clear and romantic. and the forms become more distinct. But again they are all much more sweet and modern (comparing with other Russian composers) and are all well ellaborated. So it is again truly misfortune that they are recorded by the terrible string quartet... As far as I can find, there is no more available alternates. Comparing with this, even Naxos label should easily record a better alternate. I beg every company to give us another alternates!!


(2003. 10. 08 english trans. page uploaded)