Copyright and the Russian Internet

I suppose that many musicians are familiar with Russian online sources from where you can obtain sheet music or writings that are not yet in the public domain. In fact, it would surprise me if somebody told me that, as a musician, they had never heard of ScorSer, the Tarakanov Archive and the likes. Yet there is one case that I find particularly striking: the website, dedicated to the work of Yuri Nikolayevich Kholopov, includes an electronic library that offers scans of comparatively recent Russian, English, and German musicological and music-theoretical publications, and as such poses multiple copyright infringements under the name of one of the most prominent Russian music scholars of the twentieth century. I imagine it is very unlikely that this is going to change, given the current situation, but that doesn’t mean we needn’t be aware of this and similar cases. — NB: In 2004, the term of copyright protection in Russia has been extended from 50 to 70 years post mortem auctoris.

Beach’s Beautiful Ballade

Finished a paper on a fascinating pair of works by American composer Amy Beach (1867–1944), whose music has intrigued me a lot recently. Her Ballade for piano in D-flat major, Op. 6, of 1891 is based on an earlier song with lyrics by Scottish poet Robert Burns, My luve is like a red, red rose, Op. 12 No. 3. I am looking at the form, harmony, and motivic-thematic work in a comparative study of these pieces, and exploring the intertextual relation of the piano parts. Available online soon!

Scriabin Turns 150

This is a somewhat belated Aleksandr Scriabin birthday post, expressing my gratitute for all those rewarding experiences with his music, and excitement to take part in a conference in Reading later this year in honour of his 150th anniversary. More news to follow! For now, here’s Konstantin Balmont‘s 1925 poem Zvukovoy zazïv (Call of Sound):

He felt through symphonies of light.
He appealed to fuse into one floating temple –
Touches, sounds, incense,
And processions, with dances as a sign,
The whole sunshine, the fire of flowers and summer,
The whole lunar prophecy through the stars,
Thunders here, and a small splutter there,
The banter of a musical sunrise.
Waking up in heaven while dreaming on earth.
Spreading whirlwinds of sparks in pierced dust,
In the fire of sacrifice he was tireless.
And he danced in a fervent funnel,
Until he woke to death with twinkle on his face,
The insane elf, the invocation, the ringing Scriabin.

Medtner Collective Volume Out Now

It’s finally out! Nikolai Medtner: Music, Aesthetics, and Contexts. A belated commemoration of the seventieth anniversary of the composer’s death, this publication was spent on a great deal of my time and efforts for the past two years. Yet it was worth every minute! My sincere thanks go to Christoph Flamm, the best co-editor I could think of, and to all the authors of the twelve chapters who contributed their perspectives of research and performance practice from the US, UK, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Ukraine. The volume is available from the publisher, or from the retailer of your choice.