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SERGEI KOUSSEVITZKY by Victor Yuzefovich

Volume 2: The Paris Years

Serge Koussevitzky, Vol 2: The Paris Years by Dr. Victor Yuzefovich



Chapter One - Getting Established in Paris

En route to Paris. Joyful discovery in Berlin. Russia away from Russia. Paris – Europe's cultural centre. 'Russian Paris'. The Mission of the Russian émigré community. Europe or America? First tours: Italy, Great Britain. First Paris concerts. Vladimir Zederbaum.

Chapter Two - Resumption of Russian Musical Editions

Return of Nikolai Struve. Rachmaninov and the attempt to coordinate the work of Russian Musical Editions. Ernest Oeberg. The Société anonyme and the opening of the Paris shop. Foreign representatives of RME. Tactics, strategy and finances. Attempts to regularize trade with 'Sovdepia'. Hire or sales? The personnel of the publishing house.

Chapter Three - Foundation of the Paris Koussevitzky Concerts

Repertoire and programme planning. The atmosphere of the concerts and the concert halls. Soloists. Promotion of young performers. Russian music from the 'Mighty Handful' to the avant-garde.

Chapter Four - Koussevitzky and Stravinsky 1920-1924

Resumption of working contact. Stravinsky and RME. Conducting fiasco and conflict with the composer. The Rite of Spring. Superficial reconciliation. Premiere performances of the Octet and the Piano Concerto.

Chapter Five - Koussevitzky and Prokofiev 1920-1924

First meetings outside Russia. New contract with RME. Paris premieres from the Scythian Suite to Seven, They Are Seven.

Chapter Six - Koussevitzky and Prokofiev 1924-1928

'Our publishers are like an elderly Turk …' Strengthening bonds of friendship. A symphony created from 'steel and iron'. From The Buffoon to The Fiery Angel.

Chapter Seven - Russian Musical Editions and Gavriil Paichadze

Gavriil Paichadze. Koussevitzky's cooling relations with Rachmaninoff, Medtner and Myaskovsky. Unrealised projects. Promotion of new composers: Vladimir Dukelsky and others.

Chapter Eight - At the Centre of Paris Cultural Life

The Koussevitzky home. Sergei and Natalie. Their circle of friends. Konstantin Balmont. Artists. Concerts and Exhibitions. Encounters with musicians. 'An important human document'. Musical and public activities.

Chapter Nine - In the Opera House and on the Concert Platform

With the Russian Opera Company to Spain and Portugal. Concerts in Berlin, Warsaw and Vienna.

Chapter Ten - Europe-wide Fame as a Conductor

More tours to Great Britain. English music in the conductor's repertoire. Interpretation of the classics. Rivalry with Weingartner. Approach to the Romantics. At the helm of British orchestras. The BBC Festivals.

Chapter Eleven - Musorgsky Triptych at the Grand Opéra

The first French Boris Godunov. Beginnings of collaboration with Ravel. Commission and premiere of Pictures from an Exhibition. The first French Khovanshchina. Renewed meetings with Chaliapin.

Chapter Twelve - Continuation of the Koussevitzky Concerts in Paris

Contemporary music in Europe. Interpretation of French music: Debussy and two members of 'Les Six'. The conductor and his critics.

Chapter Thirteen - On the Threshold of a New Stage

Koussevitzky and Diaghilev. Contribution to French culture. Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur. Acquaintance with American music. Refusal of initial invitations to cross the Atlantic. Nikisch's prophecy fulfilled. The end of the Paris seasons.


World premieres and French premieres in the Paris Koussevitzky Concerts
French music in the Paris Koussevitzky Concerts
Russian music in Diaghilev's 'Russian Seasons' and the Koussevitzky Concerts
Western repertoire in Diaghilev's 'Russian Seasons' and the Koussevitzky Concerts

Copyright © 2015, Victor Yuzefovich - Translation by Anthony Phillips