Mikhail Chekalin Post Symphonic Music Версия для печати


Mikhail Chekalin  Post Symphonic Music
 Mahavox Symphony 1 (CD)
 Mahavox Symphony 2 (CD)
 Kidnapping Europe (CD)
 NeoAmbient Post Meditative
 Are We Here, Are We Long Gone? (CD)
 MonoOpera - What is Po? (CD)
 Requiem for Unofficial Artist / Post Symphony #12 (CD)
 Symphony #13 (CD)
 PostAmbient Symphony (CD)
 Saturn (CD)






Mikhail Chekalin Post Symphonic Music (2014)

In 2005, MIR Records began releasing the music of Russian composer Mikhail Chekalin in the USA. This month the release of four new Chekalin albums brings his catalog to 43 CDs and 4 DVDs, which highlight the incredible range of one of Russia’s most adventurous modern musician/ composers in the post symphonic and electronic music idioms. In little under a decade, Chekalin and his music have gone from virtual obscurity to being available now worldwide via Amazon.com.
Over the past several years, the full range of Chekalin’s talent has also gained some measure of acclaim in his homeland as well as outside of Russia. In 2008, he had a showing of his paintings at the prestigious Vincent Art Gallery in Moscow. In 2009, his modernist opera What is Po? premiered in Moscow. Most recently, on October 25, 2014, the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra featuring American wunderkind Scott Voyles conducting performed Chekalin’s Last Seasons symphony in Germany.
The first of the four new albums, Requiem pays homage to his Russian artist friends who have recently passed away and his wife Natalya Vlassova, who died on May 27, 2104, Chekalin’s 55th birthday. The title track Requiem for Unofficial Artist is dedicated to the late Moscow painter Alexander Kurkin whose painting serves as cover illustration for the CD. The composition is a powerful 26+ minute extended piece of impressionistic symphonic electronica the likes of which are seldom heard in today’s push-button sampled synthetic scene. The arrangements are a shape-shifting mix of ambient soundscapes, industrial, rock and symphonic passages. Alternatively, the music is warmly symphonic and overloaded with synthetic power surges propelled by high-energy rhythms.
The track culminates with a collage of field recordings featuring the famous Soviet dissident writer and sociologist Alexander Zinoviev. He fled the country during the Soviet era, but returned in the early 1990s to become an outspoken critic of not only the Soviet regime, but also Western democratic imperial pursuits and modern politics as practiced by the current government in Russia as well.
The other major work on the album Post Symphony #12 is a 3-part, 40+ minute piece dedicated to his wife, who was a renowned Russian actress. Descriptions of the music are impossible. Suffice to say it is one of the most sophisticated, adventurous and emotionally loaded electronic music works I have ever heard. The interplay between effects, melodies and thematic ideas developed are dizzying, at times breathtaking. The final musical segment Part 3 is dedicated to Chekalin’s former creative collaborator Moscow art designer Sergey Dorokhin.
All the music on Requiem composed, performed, recorded and mixed by Chekalin himself simply must be heard to be believed.
The centerpiece of Chekalin’s second new album entitled MonoOpera - What is Po? is a performance piece entitled Frother – The Dew of Death, a modernist reinterpretation of an avant-garde work by Alexander Ivanovich Vvedensky. All of the albums recitations are based on the avant-garde poetry of three Russian-Soviet poets from the 1920s-30s Vvedensky, Daniil Kharms & Igor Bakhterev who were part of the short-lived underground avant-garde group OBERIU (an acronym for the union for real art) which existed for a short time during the Soviet era.
Alexander Vvedensky was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1904 and grew up in the midst of war and revolution, reaching artistic maturity at the time Stalin consolidated control over Russia. He became a major figure in the OBERIU and had formidable influence in Unofficial and avant-garde art circles during the time of the Soviet Union.
In 1931, arrested for alleged counterrevolutionary literary activities, he was interrogated and sentenced to three years of internal exile. He was detained again in 1941 and on February 2 of that year died on a prison train. Much of his work has been lost, what remains has established him as one of the most influential Russian poets of the twentieth century.
For the recording and performance of the MonoOpera Chekalin worked with his wife Natalya to create a multimedia experience that made full use of her dynamic talents. The prestigious premiere held in 2009 at the Moscow Theater Na Passionate was a powerful audio/visual experience. Her stunning visage and powerful delivery serving as a vivid focal point set against a tapestry of post symphonic electronic music and kaleidoscopic visuals. On this album, the combination of her dramatic interpretations and Chekalin’s striking musical accompaniments result in an epic modern operatic tone poem. There are many who attempt such experiments, but few are able to pull it off successfully. The marriage of Chekalin’s music with Natalya’s flesh and blood incantations embodies the creative essence of true avant-gardism.
Natalya will be remembered fondly by many people in Russia for her other performances on stage as well as the many voiceovers she did for American actors in Russian versions of US major motion pictures like Dead Man Walking, The Thorn Birds and The Last Emperor. Children knew her as well for doing the voices of many cartoons, Disney characters in like Scrooge from Duck Tales, plus Casper (The Friendly Ghost) and others. Her memory however will live on now in an entirely unique way for the stunning performance she gives on the album The MonoOpera - What is Po? that reincarnates a masterful work of literature from the Russian past.
The remaining two releases Symphony #13 & PostAmbient Symphony offer perhaps Chekalin’s ultimate distillation of the dynamic synthesis between symphonic music and contemporary electronic music done to date.
Few artists have such an extensive catalog exploring the full stylistic spectrum of music as Chekalin. His solo piano works demonstrate a firm grasp of both jazz and classical technique. Electronically his techno experiments are not simply derivations of BPM automation, his cosmic explorations don't simply meander and whatever the style his music makes provocative use of melody and theme in highly diverse ways. Even more impressive perhaps, he composes, performs, records and mixes the albums himself.
Post-Symphonic music is his forte, several of his compositions having been performed live by orchestras both inside Russia and outside, in Germany. A prime example is his recent release Symphony #13, a dynamic composition and recording, which illustrates what sets his music apart from more orthodox symphonic music. While the sound does indeed contain rich melodic arrangements and strong thematic developments, at times it veers off-course transforming into a unique hybrid of free-form expressionist sound sculpture that mirrors creatively today's lifestyle that has become precariously out of balance, filled with chaos and disorientation.
Chekalin's combination of orchestra, solo piano and synthesizer on this album intertwines in such a dramatic way that at times you feel overcome by the sound and swept away by the musical flow. This makes for an album that is both entrancing as well as an ennervating listening experience.
PostAmbient Symphony is hardly ambient music, but does indeed cast a different musical spell than most of his other works. It features electronics prominently along with orchestrations; together they create of a musical palate overflowing with richly textured musical themes.
The album features five compositions that segue seamlessly one into the other, beautifully bridged by subtle surreal synthetic sequences, which change both the tone and tenor of the musical flow. One dramatic difference on this album is that Chekalin creates and employs a variety of warmer synthetic tone colors and melodies than he has before. The result is indeed a very different musical ambiance that at times lives and breathes YIN vibrations, as opposed to the YANG energy his music often exudes.
The albums final piece is a low-key double-tracked vocal recitation of a poem by Alexander Vvedensky featuring his late wife Natalya Vlassova. Underscored by a serene electronic soundscape and simulated choir effects it makes for a reverential conclusion to an album offering perhaps some of Chekalin’s most engaging music.

 Mikhail Chekalin Saturn

It is hard to remember a time before the Net permeated and controlled most every aspect of our lives. Back then there was a country called the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics; remember the Beatles once sang a song about that place. It was then, and there, that Mikhail Chekalin began staging light and music performances as part of second culture artistic gallery installations.
Once upon a time, he had his own Light & Sound Studio working with other young Russian filmmakers and painters doing unofficial films and soundtracks. He was one of the USSR’s most adventurous and prolific artists. The KGB was not a fan, yet he still managed to breach the boundaries of the establishment when the official State owned label Melodiya released a series LPs of his music, later on CD as well.
That is the very short version of his history. Today you can find more about him on the Eurock web site and other sites around the Net. You can also find 39 official albums by Mikhail Chekalin released by the US label MIR Records, currently available on Amazon.com. They are reissues that represent the best of his past music as well as more recent works.
Saturn certainly is one of the most amazing albums in the Chekalin discography. Recorded in 2000, he dedicated it to his late father Gennady Fedorovich Chekalin who died in 2001. His father was one of the main aeronautical engineers in the Soviet Union that was instrumental in development of the very first Saturn rocket. It was part of the original Soviet space program in the early 1960’s used to launch the first powerful telescopic satellite into space, which took the first photos of sunspots.
The album Saturn, recorded in 1999-2000, contains some of Chekalins most powerful music. The first remarkable thing about it is that the music is a multi-track recording, performed live in real time in the studio. The album employs no sampling, no sequencers and no computer editing. It simply contains (75:51) of amazing music, creatively and technically.
A Suite in 18 Parts, Saturn incorporates myriad stylistic influences into a unique Post Symphonic work.  I offer up three names in comparison you might recognize - Yes, Magma & Shostakovich. I will stipulate that the music may not sound like any of their specific works, but it does embody traces of their spiritual essence at times. Chekalin's work however is a product of a different time and place that was politically and socially alien to the West. His art, music and perspective evolved out of a diametrically opposed cultural environment. His motivation was never to be a pop music star, but instead to become a serious composer who lived to create art for art’s sake.
Musically Saturn is a multi-layered celestial symphonic work, filled with rich melodies created using a multitude of different instruments. The sound is characterized by synthetic power surges and dense complex thematic instrumental arrangements. That combination results in an evocative, emotional listening experience. A remarkable album, it defies description as does much of Chekalin's music.  Recommended for those with a musically adventurous spirit.

  Mikhail Chekalin Post Symphonic Music 2016
Mikhail Chekalin Mahavox Symphony 1 (CD)
Mikhail Chekalin Mahavox Symphony 2 (CD)

In late 2015, Mikhail Chekalin composed & performed the music for these two albums on an exclusive prototype model of the MAHAVOX synthesizer (an original Russian patent).The prototype of the synthesizer was configured not to have a traditional keyboard comprised of black and white keys. Instead, the keys are replaced by slender strips of aluminum, which act as a triggering mechanism making a non-temporal connection when touched by warm human fingertips.
The second album was recorded on a finished model with a standard keyboard. The sound is quite different from the traditional musical scale. The new MAHAVOX synthesizer produces a unique and unconventional combination of scales within a highly diverse frequency range.
The music on these two new albums harkens back to the golden age of electronic exploration when space age analog sound waves created new sonic vistas. Chekalin’s extensive symphonic background is embeded into a dark ambient sound, creating a Doombient atmospheric amalgam. The musical result is Post Symphonic Ambient Music. Both albums embody the essence of an unlimited cosmic consciousness embodied in a composer who is steeped in the full range of earthly musical structures. Chekalin is able to create music of the Id, which also resonates deeply within you that can warm the heart and enchant the mind as well. Mahavox Symphony 1 & 2 musically offer over 2-hours of unique electronic music that is emotionally powerful listening as well.
Mikhail Chekalin Kidnapping Europe (CD)
Following the release of Mikhail Chekalin’s last two albums Mahavox Symphony 1 & 2 in 2015, he has kept busy creatively producing more music to augment his already extensive catalog.
His first release in 2016 was the stunning Kidnapping Europe featuring orchestral music for small chamber ensemble as well as full orchestra.
The album features various long interconnecting compositions his major works Music for Bandoneon, Viola, Clarinet and Piano, Concerto for Viola and String Orchestra and Three Minor Quartets, clearly establish him as one of the world's leading creators of Post Symphonic Modern Music.

Mikhail Chekalin NeoAmbient Post Meditative (CD)
Are We Here, Are We Long Gone?

To close 2016, Mikhail Chekalin just released his 49th album containing perhaps the most powerful and heartfelt music he has made to date.
It features two major compositions NeoAmbient (PostSymphony #15) and PostMeditative (PostSymphony #16) followed by Epilogue. It also includes the album title track Are We Here, Are We Long Gone? along with two short tracks with impressionistic voice Postsong-1 & Postsong-2.
As Chekalin describes it, the album sounds like an echo of the seventies when I made my start, which is why the musical timbres I use reflect that epoch creating the feeling and spirit of my early meditative compositions. The two short melodic PostSong harmonics are reminiscent of the English rock songs I listened to at that time. In a sense this album contains music offering listeners my feelings about that magnificent age of great expectations; we still of course had anxieties, but also had hopes that all the problems and discord we experienced could be alleviated by the more wonderful and artistic expressions of music.
 Having been aware of Mikhail Chekalin's work, both musically and artistically since the late 1970’s, I would have to say that his musical diversity, creativity and stylistic range are breathtaking. Perhaps no work, by a modern composer after this long of a time making music has carried such a powerful impact as his NeoAmbient PostMeditative album.
Musically, it’s a beautiful homage to Chekalin's past as well as a deeply emotional listening experience by someone who very clearly is a master musician and artist who can still conjure up his muse after all these years. In addition, it's a powerful cultural document of Post Soviet Realist Art & Music by one of Russia's long time great artists.

A.Patterson     www.eurock.com


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