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Третьяковская галерея
Vivarte Online / Fifth  part
at the State Tretyakov Gallery

Eleanor Paston

  “Love for music possessed Mikhail Vrubel from childhood. In her youth, she took on the character of passion. Every visit to the opera house became for him a deep experience throughout his life, leaving a mark on his work for a long time. It is no coincidence that the most significant works of the master were inspired, in addition to literature, by music and theater. Among them, one of the prominent places is occupied by his painting "Spain".

Work on this work was begun by Vrubel in the summer of 1894 and was completed in the early autumn of the same year. The plot was based on the artist's impressions of Georges Bizet's opera Carmen, which he met back in 1883 while studying at the Imperial Academy of Arts.  In one of his letters to his sister Anna, he  talks about the upcoming musical evening in the house of the famous philologist, Professor Sreznevsky, where he will sing "in the choir of the bullfighter from" Carmen "". Further, Vrubel shares his enthusiasm: “This is a wonderful opera: the impression from it and everything inspired by it will be the most prominent event of my artistic life this winter: how much I reorated about it and because of it over the holidays, how much I carried away into adoration for her and with how many quarreled. This is an era in music, as in literature - Zola and Daudet!

An ardent passion for opera  Georges Bizet's "Carmen", experienced by Vrubel at that time, was not limited to one winter, as the artist assumed. He will carry this passion through the years. He will meet again with his beloved opera in Moscow, where he will arrive in the autumn of 1889 and will stay here for a long time. Vrubel will get close to Savva Mamontov and enter the circle of artists who rallied around the patron. He will become a regular listener of opera performances at the Russian Private Opera, Mamontov's entreprise. The production of the opera Carmen has been in the theater's repertoire since December 1885. Designed by Konstantin


M. Vrubel. Spain, 1984

Korovin, the main part of Carmen was performed by Tatiana Lyubatovich. In the 1890s, Vrubel painted a watercolor portrait of the actress in this role (Tretyakov Gallery). By the beginning of the 1890s, two small paintings by Vrubel, “The Spanish Woman in White” and “The Spanish Dancer in Red” (Tretyakov Gallery), also belong to the beginning of the 1890s.


M.Vrubel.  Portrait of T.S. Lubatovich as Carmen. 1895


Tatyana Lyubatovich in the image of "Carmen"

Thus, the theme "Carmen" not only did not leave the artist since his studies at the Academy of Arts, but in the summer of 1894 he completely captured his imagination when he set about creating the painting "Spain". And although Vrubel has never been to this country, the true flavor of Spain, inspired by the famous opera by Georges Bizet, is fully felt in his work.

The scene presented in the picture is full of tension of the unrevealed mystery of what is happening. The artist chose a moment that contained extremely heightened feelings and relationships full of tragedy. The canvas, as if in a cinematic frame, reflects a moment that reveals the essence of proud, strong and independent characters, the nature of national beauty.


For Vrubel, the opera "Carmen", its music, ideally reflecting the dramatic nature of the images and storylines of the short story by Prosper Merimee, seemed to serve only as a starting point to turn to the themes of fatal passion, the unsolved mystery of the female soul - central to the painting of symbolism. No wonder Vrubel called his painting "Spain", summarizing the presented scene and acting characters as a kind of symbols of the country, as an archetype. (Eleonora Paston, art critic, employee of the Tretyakov Gallery).

The Vivarte Online project ends with a story about M. Vrubel's painting "Spain", returning us to a bright, happy time in the artist's work. In the musical program of the last part of the project, jazz trumpeter Vadim Eilenkrig and double bass player Armen Mkrtychyan offer a fresh look at one of the most famous hits in the world - Joaquin Rodrigo's Aranjuez Concerto, a kind of musical symbol of Spain. Adagio from the concerto will appear in a new sound against the backdrop of Vrubel's painting.

Program 5 parts

Joaquin Rodrigo (1901–1999). "Aranjuez Concerto" - Adagio

Paquito D'Rivera (b. 1948) Como uno bolero ("Like a Bolero", 1995)

Vadim Eilenkrig  "Lullaby for Leia" 

George Gershwin  summer time

A native of Valencia, Joaquín Rodrigo is one of the biggest figures in Spanish music of the 20th century. At the age of three, he almost completely lost his sight, but this did not prevent him from becoming a wonderful pianist, musicologist (professor at the University of Madrid) and composer. Educated in Paris (one of his teachers was Paul Dukas), he was heavily influenced by French music, but remained true to his national musical culture. Having lived to the age of 97, Rodrigo passed away into eternity as a recognized master, awarded all kinds of honorary degrees, titles and awards. His legacy includes more than 170 works in various genres, many of which have left a noticeable mark on the new Spanish music. However, due to a number of reasons, including historical and political ones, they are still almost unknown outside of Spain. World-wide fame was brought to the composer by the “Aranjuez Concerto” for guitar and orchestra, written in Paris in 1939 and dedicated to the first performer, Rejino Sainz de la Masa. The concert became a kind of musical symbol of Spain and further glorified Aranjuez, a Madrid suburb with the "Spanish Versailles" - a luxurious royal residence and lush gardens, where the composer and his wife spent their honeymoon. (It is no coincidence that in 1991, King Juan Carlos I of Spain awarded the composer the title of Marquis of the Gardens of Aranjuez.) The concerto gained incredible popularity thanks to the middle part - the inspired Adagio (the mournful nature of the theme is associated both with the military events of those years and with the tragic circumstances in the author's personal life ), which brought to life many different transcriptions and cross-style interpretations.


Composer Joaquin Rodrigo and his wife Victoria Camhi

The author of the romantic composition Como uno bolero is the legendary Cuban composer, clarinetist and alto saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera . She first appeared on the album The Caribbean Jazz Project (1995) by the eponymous ensemble, which included Paquito. Having emigrated to the USA in 1981, he made a dizzying career and became a world-class star, enriching American jazz with Cuban rhythms. But his interests were not limited to jazz. From early childhood, the son of a famous conductor (his father was Tito Rivera) learned that both academic music and jazz have their virtues, and you should not miss them. He became a successful academic composer, supplying scores to leading orchestras; the author of hits that combine the improvisation of jazz and 

rhythmic-harmonic structure of Cuban music; clarinet virtuoso of the highest class; an excellent alto saxophonist, whose playing is in no way inferior to his playing the clarinet. The recognition of his merits is, in particular, an impressive set of Grammy statuettes in various categories. In addition, D'Rivera managed to work as a sideman with great jazzmen (primarily Dizzy Gillespie) and founded several bands, including the jazz quintet that still exists today, with which in 2000 he recorded a Latin Grammy-awarded live-album at the cult New York club Blue note. The composition Como uno bolero sounded again on it, but now the author entrusted its main theme to the trumpet (Diego Urcola). Twenty years later, the trumpeter Vadim Eilenkrig also created his own version, offering, in his words, "not only harmonic and rhythmic, but above all a new melodic presentation."


The Caribbean Jazz Project

(album's cover)

Charismatic jazz trumpeter, TV presenter, teacher, ideologist and initiator of innovative projects Vadim Eilenkrig composes music from time to time. He treats the results of this work with a great deal of self-criticism, and is skeptical about the concepts of "creativity" and "composer" in relation to himself. “For many musicians, the birth of music is an absolutely ordinary event. For me - definitely not, - Vadim admits. - Each of my albums is an absolutely serious story, not without reason there are not so many of them. This is a story to be built, experienced and made. It's a personal take on how I want to sound, what kind of music I want to play, and what kind of music I want to offer to people..." A voice recorder serves as a means of fixing musical ideas, into which hundreds of melodies, played on the trumpet or sung, flow, but only a part of them add up to something more integral - like the new album Newborn, recently recorded by Vadim and his Eilenkrig Crew. “This is a team of incredible musicians, they are my like-minded people,” says Vadim. “For example, bassist Armen Mkrtychyan, with whom we have been friends for 25 years (and on this album he is like Markus Miller for Miles Davis for me), made several arrangements and largely determined the sound of the compositions.” One 

 one of them is "Lullaby for Leia" , written during the last tour of the Eilenkrig Crew in the Urals and the Far East. “This ballad became a dedication to my newborn daughter, who was then six months old,” says Vadim. – The musicians of my quintet – Armen Mkrtychyan and Dmitry Ilugdin – helped me to work on the arrangement. We will definitely carry out the presentation of the Newborn album in the fall of 2020.”

Summertime is a world-famous melody, an evergreen hit, a beneficent standard for jazzmen and an insidious lure for opera singers eager to get a little touch of jazz. It was first performed on September 30, 1935 at the Colonial Theater in Boston: at the very beginning of Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess, the fisherman's wife Clara sings this melody to her falling asleep son, and at the end of the performance, Bess sings a lullaby to an already orphaned baby (his parents died in a storm). ... Gershwin's three-act opera was written based on DuBose Hayward's novel Porgy (1926), which caused a real boom in America immediately after its release, and also based on the play of the same name based on it. The composer called this work "the most outstanding play about the people." But before a congenial “opera about the people” began to be created on its plot, Gershwin decided to study the culture of this very people and their way of life as deeply as possible. In June 1934, he went to the small island of Folly Island, ten miles from Charleston, South Carolina, to feel the life of ordinary inhabitants of a fishing village like that described in the novel. There he talked a lot with black fishermen and soon became their man. Returning to New York, the composer inspired, worked non-stop on the opera, constantly edited what was written and stopped only on the eve of the premiere. The first performances were successful, but he was 


George Gershwin (1930)

short-lived. True recognition came to "Porgy and Bess" after the death of the author. Over time, the best pages of this work (and above all, the lullaby of Clara Summertime) have become truly folk music.

at the State Tretyakov Gallery

A fragment of the text about musical works was prepared by musicologist Tatyana Davydova.

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