Posted by: Frederick Cornwell Sanders | 2013/12/30

“December 30, 1904” by Rick Sanders

In 1904, Dmitry Kabalevsky, the Russian composer is born. He dies in 1987. Wikipedia includes the following:

Dmitri Borisovich Kabalevsky (Russian: Дми́трий Бори́сович Кабале́вский; 30 December [O.S. 17 December] 1904 – 18 February 1987) was a Russian composer.

He helped to set up the Union of Soviet Composers in Moscow and remained one of its leading figures. He was a prolific composer of piano music and chamber music; many of his piano works have been performed by Vladimir Horowitz. He is probably best known in the West for the “Comedians’ Galop” from The Comedians Suite, Op. 26 and his second piano concerto.

In general, Kabalevsky was not as adventurous as his contemporaries in terms of harmony and preferred a more conventional diatonicism, interlaced with chromaticism and major-minor interplay. Unlike fellow composer Sergei Prokofiev, he embraced the ideas of socialist realism, and his post-war works have been characterized as “popular, bland, and successful,”[4] though this judgement is attributed to many other composers of the time,[5] and some of Kabalevsky’s best-known “youth works” date from this era (the Violin Concerto, the First Cello Concerto).

Perhaps Kabalevsky’s most important contribution to the world of music-making is his consistent efforts to connect children to music. Not only did he write music specifically directed at bridging the gap between children’s technical skills and adult aesthetics, but during his lifetime he set up a pilot program of music education in twenty-five Soviet schools. Kabalevsky himself taught a class of seven-year-olds for a time, teaching them how to listen attentively and put their impressions into words. His writings on this subject were published in the United States in 1988 as Music and education: a composer writes about musical education.

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