'Dances on the Shore' Vladimir Martynov. Yury Chernushevich '…We may then guarantee that man will disappear like a face drawn in the sand' -these words, written in 1966 by Michel Foucault, characterized for me the entire second half of the 20th century. In my view the disappearance of the world's normal human features is becoming ever clearer. However, for me this general and universal disappearance of man was crystallized for ever by a single event. In 1966 at the age of 19 years my friend Yury Chernushevich died. We went to the same school, entered the Conservatoire together, together penetrated the mysteries of composition under the guidance of Nikolai Nikolaevich Sidelnikov and dreamed of new forms of making music. Chernushevich was gifted in a special way and I believe that, had he lived, the picture of contemporary musical life would be different. He completed his best work, the 'Madrigals to verses by Omar Khayam', no more than a month before his death. The words of the concluding madrigal immediately acquired a strangely prophetic character: This green and scarlet and sky-blue world Will soon be taken from you by fate. So go and entrust your heart to the one Who is always with you, who is everywhere with you. I selected this madrigal as the starting point for our imagined joint composition, our imagined dialogue. It can scarcely be called a work in the full sense, but is rather an attempt to hear the sound of the oncoming waves of time, to hold in the memory a fading image… Vladimir Martynov Dances on the Shore: Direct and Inverse Perspectives of the Soundscapes of Vladimir Martynov 'With a chilled wing faith laps, Alone above the world of all men' Alexander Vvedensky The art of Vladimir Martynov exists in constant interpretations, encountering a message, a 'text' from yesterday and directing it towards the future, to a new context and a new journey. His inner otherness, his personal mythology combines organically and freely with an external response to the most radical strategies of contemporary culture. The musical 'texts' of the composer balance on the cusp of preservation-disappearance, of the sharply defined and the half-abraded, of the eternal yet simultaneously mortal fabric of musical image and authorial voice. The creative memory of Vladimir Martynov, 'surviving from the past yet also futuristic', is naturally rooted in images of the ebb and flow of soundscapes, combining immediacy with art-centricity and high traditional archetypes. It draws on today's 'noise of time', as Osip Mandelshtam said, listening to the constant return of the forgotten and of that left on the verge, the echoes of the reverse perspective of culture. The geometry of this culture goes back to classical Hellades, to the sunny strata of antiquity, rhythmical and proportionate to the golden section, imbued with the gnostic mystery of Pythagoreanism. It is hidden in the hangings of the baroque, in its complex reliefs, revealing its meanings in the lonely searching of Eurydice, in the 'overturned' glance of Orpheus or the sweet sounds of the Sirens. In these Mediterranean wanderings the ideal rubs shoulders with elevated hyperboreanism, sometimes infringing the linear clarity of Euclid and the preciseness of antiquity, constantly intersecting with the tragic question 'to be or not to be' of the latest 'mainline' cultures. The 'expectation-oblivion' of musical context, transcultural paradoxes of 'time lost' living in folds and niches, concealed and forming in concealment the present, compose the phenomenon of 'Dances on the Shore', one of Vladimir Martynov's recent compositions. The work, written for piano and played by the composer himself, moves in the multi-layered images and unstable balances of Thelonius Monk, in the elliptic non-identical returns of the composer to the sources of its becoming. It dissolves in losses and is filled with discoveries, turning towards prototypes and dialogues with Yury Chernushevich, the friend, lost early, of his youth. In it are revealed living quotations of his musical pronouncements, whose transparent forms glimmer, weightless as streams of light, rhyming with self-quotation, developing with endless variations. The rhythm of the composition recalls the hexameters of Homer, the ebb and flow of the ocean, where the shore is a boundary of the tragic affirmation of life, its existence and discovery of immortality in the onrush of the universal, in the layered transparency of water. The metaphor of the shore reveals the refuge of paradox, where life is temporarily driven out of its long present and death, conversely, is sentenced to exile in its own constant presence. The shore, as in the concluding scenes of Visconti's 'Death in Venice', is transformed into the horizon of dying, its glimmering sense into a hidden space where dance as man's extreme opportunity becomes real thanks to the 'visual quality' and essence of music itself, its rhythmical shifting between 'yes' and 'no'. In the understanding of the composer music becomes the biblical paradigm: 'before you are born, you must die'. In its images we study death, we bring death to life since music endows life with death and obscures death with life. Music in the strategies of Vladimir Martynov plunges death into a total reality of being, so justifying the age-old dialogue of existence and death as a 'dance on the shore', on the very edge of the material and its dematerialization. Onrushes, transparency, marks, traces in the sand of the contours of the dance, its pictograms, give an archaeological perspective to the musical handwriting of Vladimir Martynov. The fabric of reconstructions and of evidence recalling a found (=ancient) manuscript is woven in its oceanic swayings, in the rhythmic extensions and ruptures, pauses and total sounding. The surface of this sounding text-space comes to resemble not only a hand-made image of the manuscript, animating the 'score', but also the surface of the shore, a sandy landscape, periodically concealed beneath water like the famous drawing in the sand of Marcel Duchamp. The sound of Vladimir Martynov's piano is embodied in natural multistratifications, concealed layers of signs, sand and water, drifts, prints of blows, the traces of dancers and their tactile-acoustic contacts with the ground. And all this pulsing space, like inhalation and exhalation, is washed by baptismal water-sounds, an oncoming and retreating wave, the element of initiation, herculean intuition, returning, streaming and dying away, forming phenomenal zones, constantly approaching and departing from us. Its drama is built as question and answer, as constant questioning, sliding away into the life-creating fabric of the music, already metamusic where 'Mozart on the water and Schubert in the avian twitter' meet, where the shadows of Sergey Rakhmaninov and Claude Debussy are reflected in the mirror of the latest culture, bringing time and its heroes close to each other. All the outlines of these meditative 'dances on the shore' are endowed with suggestive energy and acquire the phenomenal power of inspiration in their endless variations. Repeated, they become invocatory like the prophetic speech of a poet, establishing the intersecting of the earthly world and the world of symbols, of eternal becoming and departure. The shore in these musical 'dimensions' is seen as borderline reality, the 'null form' of Casimir Malevich, the zero meridian dividing and cognizing the shifting and the solid, classical stability and nonlinear irrationality. In its contours what is, perhaps, the fundamental theme of Vladimir Martynov's work -the death and resurrection of culture, the departure, disappearance, dissolution and return of personality in our ruined post-historical space - emerges. In the chordal affirmations of the immutability of the 'dances' the persistent appeals of the characters of Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot' are discernible and the hope of the composer to recreate the magic functions of art, still filled with the alchemy of energy-containing sounds, is revived. In the living sounds of musical evidence, of the amazingly organic unity of image and sound, text and movement the metaphysical indestructibility of the composer's gesture is revealed. Its form is capable of losing its external informative firmness, like traces in the sound, changing its code, vector and coordinates. But its new state is able to preserve still unexpressed, no more than potential meanings, declared in the past, stopping the dance and transforming it into an artifact. It begins at that moment when the last musical phrase ends and its rustling chant is completed, when the Sufi 'green, blue and sky-blue world' disappears and the face of the author, outlined in the sand on the shore, slips away. And silence comes, filled with the memory of echoes and resonances, sending one far beyond the bounds of 'Dances on the Shore'. Vitaly Patsyukov
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