Showcase Sep-Nov 2014 - page 68

Just as a sculpto
who frees the elusive figures from the
block of marble by cutting away all that is unnecessary,
I find myself carving out the musical notes from the
inspiration that visits me and calls me to compose. Perhaps
for the composer, the writing of music is an act much like
a meditative experience that seems to open the gates to a
lost paradise and brings out the nostalgia for the infinite.
This is what I felt when I was writing the symphonic poem
Winter Bells
“In 2009, after finishing my first year at Yale, I was
preparing to write my first symphonic work, but I did not
yet have an idea for it. To find it I went back to Russia
and visited an old village in my homeland, the Volga
region, where I was able to connect with my roots and
rekindle my imagination by visiting a series of sacred
places in the wilderness. These included three mountain
peaks that, when viewed from above, appeared to form
a giant goblet. I was all alone in a vastness of space and
rocks stretching in all directions. And then it came to me:
I could discern, faintly, a choral motif, a religious motif. I
sat down on a fallen tree and wrote it into my notebook.
“Once I returned and started working on my piece, I was
at first caught in a dilemma about whether to have a tour
de force opening or to save it for the culmination. I finally
found the right key, and then the music seemed to write
itself. I barely had time to move my hand scribbling it all
down. I worked non-stop for several days before I rested
my pen.
“When I started composing the piece,
I found myself
reaching for that special place within, where everything
surrenders to the whispers of nature and divine harmony.
Winter Bells
has considerable personal significance for me
and is one of my most cherished compositions. Creating it
has been both a challenge and an enchanting delight.
“The symphony begins with a fleeting image. A Russian
winter filled with void, bleakness and an eerie feeling.
A traveler on a long journey and a brink of madness
and desperation, fighting his way through a deadly
blizzard. A vision from the past, joyous and wondrous,
materializes and disappears, as a mirage in a middle of a
snowy dessert. Will the traveler survive? For whom shall
the bells toll, when their ringing resonates at a distance?
Will he be spared or will he perish before completing his
3 flutes (1 doubling piccolo), 2 oboes,
English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons,
contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones,
tuba, timpani, glockenspiel, chimes, vibraphone,
suspended cymbal, Chinese cymbal, triangle,
bass drum, snare drum, harp and strings
Polina Nazaykinskaya
January 20, 1987, Togliatti, Russia;
now living in New York City
Winter Bells
olina Nazaykinskaya and her symphonic poem
Winter Bells
first came to the attention of Twin
Cities audiences in 2010—in a “Future Classics”
concert conducted by Osmo Vänskä, featuring works
by each participant in that year’s Minnesota Orchestra
Composer Institute.
Winter Bells
was inspired by a sojourn
to an ancient village near the Volga River, and its lush
colors and evocative nature made it one of the concert’s
favorite offerings. It was recorded that same year by Sony
Music Russia, and in 2012 it was performed again locally,
this time by the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra,
whose music director is Minnesota Orchestra bass player
William Schrickel.
Nazaykinskaya is a native of the area she had traveled
to for inspiration. Born in Togliatti, an industrial city
on the Volga in Russia’s south, she studied piano, violin
and flute as a child, and as a teenager at the Moscow
Conservatory she concentrated on violin and composition.
She came to the U.S. to attend Yale University, where
she completed a master’s degree in composition and
artist diploma, working with Christopher Theofanidis
and Ezra Laderman. She is now is pursuing a doctorate
at the Graduate Center, City University of New York,
studying with Tania León. She has won numerous awards
and has garnered performances by ensembles including
the Russian National Orchestra, the Yale Philharmonia
Orchestra, the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Russia, the
Omsk Philharmonic Orchestra, the St. Olaf Philharmonia
and the Boston Metro Opera, where her chamber opera,
The Magic Mirror
, drew considerable attention for its
elegance and rich, intricate score.
Polina Nazaykinskaya has prepared her own program
note to re-introduce
Winter Bells
to Minnesota Orchestra
audiences. She writes:
“Each piece of music that I write comes from the depth
of my heart, from the inner ocean of emotions and
possibilities that are carried by the waves of memories.
Program Notes
13, 14, 15
1...,58,59,60,61,62,63,64,65,66,67 69,70,71,72,73,74,75,76,77,78,...92
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