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Thread: Letter of Witness

  1. #1
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    Default Letter of Witness

    For many years, I was and am a regular listener and fan of one of the
    great orchestras of our country - the State Academic Symphony
    Orchestra of Russia. Outstanding conductors, soloists, unforgettable
    concerts ...

    I personally knew many of the musicians of the orchestra, and in the
    eighties the fate gave me the opportunity for a personal contact with
    the great Evgeny Fyodorovich Svetlanov who will always remain my idol!
    His name is linked to a special, as many say, "golden period” of the
    State Orchestra.The history of the orchestra, as you know, begins in
    1936. Most recently, I happened to read a brief, updated history of
    the Orchestra that made me extremely puzzled. It listed the names of
    the artistic directors of the orchestra: Alexander Hauk (1936-1941),
    Nathan Rachlin (1941-1946), Konstantin Ivanov (1946-1965), Evgeny
    Svetlanov (1965-2000), Vasily Sinaisky (2000-2002). Further said that
    since 2011 the orchestra led by Vladimir Jurowski.

    I wonder what happened in the nine years from 2002 to 2011? We all
    remember that this time preceded by a difficult period in the history
    of our country, which affected many famous creative teams, including
    the State Orchestra. After a long war with the Orchestra and with the
    scandal, in 2000 the Orchestra left the great E.Svetlanov. Eighteen
    months later, after the dismissal of Vasily Sinaisky in 2002, the
    orchestra was led by Mark Gorenstein.

    Permanent meticulous rehearsals, creative communication with
    outstanding performers, participation in major music festivals - all
    of this in a short period of time allowed the Orchestra to get to the
    highest level of orchestral music making. Outstanding names as:
    Mstislav Rostropovich, R. Shchedrin, A.Eshpay, Nikolay Petrov, V.
    Tretyakov, D.Matsuev, M.Vengerov, Natalia Gutman, I.Marin, E.Klaas, S.
    Sondeckis and others. All of them playing with the Orchestra, with
    enthusiasm evaluated his conducting skills. The subscription concerts
    of the Moscow Philharmonic, tours around Russia, performances in many
    European countries, performances in the USA and Japan were always with
    the same success and received high praise in the press. Particularly
    significant event in the history of the Orchestra was the honor in
    naming the Orchestra after great Evgeny Svetlanov in 2006.And today,
    thinking about all this, it is impossible not to note the enormous
    merit of Mark Gorenstein, who led the orchestra from 2002 to 2011.

    What happened in 2011, when, as now it has become quite clear, by the
    instructions of the Ministry of Culture, in the “best” Soviet
    traditions, they decided to remove the unwanted person. The
    persecution of M. Gorenstein was organized, which ended in
    the"rebellion" of the Orchestra, on the "request" of which he was
    fired. In any case - all this is now history.

    There are objective facts in this history, and I am far from being
    able to give the facts their own subjective assessment. But you cannot
    just cross out nine (9) years from the biography of the Orchestra, as
    it is impossible to delete anything from the biography of the country.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member papsrus's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
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    I'm admittedly not well versed in the rich history of Russian orchestras, but I appreciate your comments and find them interesting indeed.

    At one point I attempted to untangle the somewhat confusing histories of some of the main Russian orchestras. But with all the shifting politics, the renaming of orchestras over the years, the similar names they sometimes seemed to adopt and (forgive the expression) the game of musical chairs where musicians seemed to desert one orchestra for another based on which was in favor at the moment -- it left me kind of confused. Perhaps some things get lost in translation as well.

    Add to this the unfortunate tendency of some second-tier Russian orchestras who tour in the United States to adopt names for marketing purposes that might be described as deceitful. There's an orchestra from St. Petersburg coming to perform in our local hall that the promotional material leads one to believe it's the famous St. Petersburg Philharmonic, when it is in fact not. (This was what led me to try to decipher some of the history of orchestras in Russia in the first place.)

    Anyways, I sympathize with your frustration.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Grizzled Ghost's Avatar
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    Jun 2015
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    Why did they want to get rid of Gorenstein? There must have been rumors as well as an official explanation.

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