Artyomov's compositions show his interest in the archaic ("Invocations", "Totem") and Christian motifs ("Requiem", "Ave, Maria") as well as Eastern meditation ("Awakening", "A Symphony of Elegies", "Moonlight Dreams"). As a young composer, he developed a profound interest, successively, in Russian folklore, traditional music of the East, works of Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Messiaen, and the Polish avant-garde. But it was Arthur Honegger’s Symphonie Liturgique, as well as the works of Edgar Varèse and Sinfonia by Luciano Berio that made the greatest and most lasting impression on him.
Artyomov prefers not to call his music by such an indeterminate word “contemporary”, he uses a specific term for including it into the Tradition - “musica perennis” (eternal music). This Tradition has as its subject expressing first of all the poignancy of emotional experience, the most secret depth of man’s existence – not for a psychological task but for the achievement of the super-real being. As the composer says, “music is the only way for the cognition of the sense of existence”. Artyomov considers music a science – concentration of soul experience – and, side by side with astrophysics, - one of two main fundamental sciences: astrophysics broaden the horizon of knowledge of the Universe, and music exposes the profundity and strength of human’s spirit, his interconnection with the World’s Soul (Anima Mundi). Music is “a mediator between God and man”, “a concentrate of spiritual energy, which should awaken man’s ethical understanding and purify his soul” (“Foundation of the Philosophy of Music”).
Both cycles of symphonies – Symphony of the Way and The Star of Exodus are written in a new significant, sublime and sweet style - stile nuòvo grande, sùblime e soave.
“Artyomov has absolutely clear and unique composer’s image. .. Artyomov brings glory to our country and to Russian art”. (Mstislav Rostropovich, September,1990)
“Artyomov would appear to be just the sort of composer whose appearance is especially timely at this point in the life of his country… His music and his artistic outlook in general reflect the questing for a new order of spiritual values as well as a new regard for individuality”. (Richard Freed. ”Kennedy Center Stagebill”, September, 1990)
“I am under an incredible impression, almost a shock, produced by all that I found in his inexhaustible scores… Each sound in Artyomov’s music comes from the heart, the soul, the nerves, - it is fine melodics, it is a kind of heavenly magic, which drives you up – to purity, self-perfection, beauty…” (Dmitri Kitayenko, November,1988)
“What we are witnessing is music that dares simply to exist, shining like the sun, allowing us to bask in its warmth… The first part of the tetralogy, the Way to Olympus, is stunning… Artyomov’s On the Threshold of a Bright World is even more rare – it is a work of genius…” (Octavio Roca. “The Washington Times”, September 24,1990)
“Artyomov is outstanding composer. His Requiem has raised Russian music to the unattainable previously height. I’m sure it is due to Artyomov that we have not only reached the European level in this genre, but surpassed its acmes – Requiems by Mozart and Verdi”. (Tikhon Khrennikov, 1988)
“What cannot be emphasized too strongly is the nobility and sincerity of genuine spirituality which informs so much of Artyomov’s art. It is an astounding creation, occupying a unique place for its composer and for Russian music in the last quarter of the 20th century”. (Robert Matthew-Walker. "Elegies" CD by Olympia, 1993)
“In the age of minimalism and abstraction Artyomov stands apart – his music is created to serve a greater purpose, much in the same way as the later works of Scriabin and the music of Messiaen”. (Stephen A.Whealton. “Way to Olympus” CD by Mobile Fidelity, 1989)
“Artyomov now is the only composer creating serious monumental compositions of tremendous strength and beauty. He is Bruckner of the 21st century.” (Teodor Currentzis, 2011)
“Artyomov is justification of the Russian music of our days” (Eduard Hayrapetian, 2011)
Read more about this topic: Vyacheslav Artyomov
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