Chapter Nine


Émigré Composers


During the entire period of the Soviet Union, emigration took place among a large number of composers and musicians. Three main emigration waves can be pointed out:     
1.    In the first decades of the 20th century, especially around the Revolution 1917
2.    During the 1970s, especially to Israel among the population with Jewish roots 
3.    During Perestroika and in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union

The first large emigration wave took place around the time of the Russian Revolution. Concerning the clarinet repertoire, the most famous Russian clarinet works of this time period were composed outside of Russia. In 1917, Igor Stravinsky composed in Switzerland the incidental music L´histoire du Soldat, first in a version for narrator and septet, then in 1918 in a version for clarinet, violin and piano. Stravinsky´s Three Pieces for clarinet solo (1919) is apparently the most influential composition for clarinet solo within the entire clarinet repertoire. Within Russian and Soviet clarinet literature, however, influences from Stravinsky´s pieces appear in later compositions, for example, in the Three Pieces for clarinet solo by Yuri Falik (1983). Sergey Prokofiev composed the well-known Overture on Hebrew Themes op. 34 for clarinet, piano and string quartet in 1919 during his stay in New York. In 1924, Prokofiev composed in Paris the Quintet in g minor op. 39 for oboe, clarinet, violin, viola and double bass, as music for the ballet Trapèze. The most substantial effect on clarinet music concerns composers and musicians with Jewish roots who emigrated around the time of the Revolution, such as Stillman, Bellison, Lourié (see 9.1), Grechaninov, Wyshnegradsky, Achron, Nikolay and Aleksandr Tcherepnin, Nicolay Berezovsky and others.

From the second emigration wave, clarinet composers such as Dorfman and Manevich exemplify Soviet people with Jewish roots who emigrated in the 1970s to Israel. Moreover, non-Jewish composers emigrated in this period and composed clarinet works abroad, such as Agopov (see 9.2).

Concerning the last years of the Soviet Union and the first years after its dissolution, the number of emigrated composers was relatively high. The eminent musicologist Kholopov divides these emigré composers into three categories: Those who left forever (Volkonsky, Pärt, Suslin); those who took extended visits (Gubaidulina, Shchedrin); and those who alternated freely between the old and new home countries (Denisov, Artyomov, Grabowski, Korndorf, Lobanov, Raskatov, Kancheli). Furthermore, Smirnov and Firsova are mentioned as British residents (Kholopov 2002, 207), and composers of the younger generation such as Tchemberdji (see 9.3) and Rayeva left the Soviet Union around the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.