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The Romanovs in St. Petersburg

History of St. Petersburg Museum

 

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A musical dynasty

A team of researchers has gathered once-lost musical compositions written by members of the Romanov family.

Published: December 21, 2011 (Issue # 1688)



  • The Cappella will perform the program at private concerts in 2012.
    Photo: ALINA USMANOVA

  • The concert features 20 pieces.
    Photo: ALINA USMANOVA

The concert held at Tavrichesky Palace on Dec. 10 could probably have claimed a Guinness book entry: It took at least 15 years to put together. The cause was well worth the lengthy preparations. The performance, entitled The Imperial Musical Collection, showcased 20 long-lost musical works composed exclusively by members of the Romanov family, including Tsar Alexander II and Prince Konstantin Romanov.

These works had last been played almost one and a half centuries ago and then were lost in the chaos of the Bolshevik Revolution. Vyacheslav Mozardo, president of the Moscow-based Slava international cultural center, sought to revive Russias imperial musical legacy. Along with his team of researchers, Mozardo spent more than a decade going through thousands of files in the Romanov family archives as well as libraries far beyond Russia, from Switzerland to Thailand.

The idea of searching for music written by the Romanovs originally came to producer Bella Abaeva, the driving force behind the project, when she was contemplating her relationship with her own children.

I was thinking what sort of people I want them to be inspired by, Abaeva remembers. It happens all too often that young people today forget that while becoming successful in life it is important to keep your heart and soul alive and in this respect the Romanovs represent the finest example of members of the elite who were emotionally exuberant and generous.

Abaeva then joined forces with the Slava Center, and the research began. Sometimes we would find a fragment of a letter containing a musical score in an archive in one country, and it would take many months to find the rest of the document thousands of miles away in a totally different library, she said.

Most members of royal families in countries where they have existed or still exist are involved in some sort of artistic activity, from poetry to painting, but hardly ever composition, and in this respect the Romanov family stands out.

The Romanovs adored composing romances or short classical music opuses as presents for their loved ones, Abaeva said. Indeed, we have made it all very private in the sense that while presenting the music, we withhold any personal dedications. We respect the privacy of the authors.

Importantly, the project gives precious insight into the personalities of the Romanovs, showing them not only as members of the royal family, but as human beings.

The music presented at the concert is terra incognita not only for general classical music audiences, but even for musicologists whose area of expertise is 19th-century Russian music.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 1


The St. Petersburg International Innovation Forum 2014 kicks off today at Lenexpo, where it will be presenting the latest and greatest ideas until Oct. 3. Focusing on economic development and the decisions and measures necessary to encourage development in Russias most important industries, the event is a possibility to discuss the innovations currently available in a variety of fields.


Representatives of the Russian and international media industries arrive in St. Petersburg for the first ever International Media Forum being hosted by the city until Oct. 10. With a variety of events on tap, including workshops, lectures and film screenings, the event plans to reemphasize the citys reputation as the countrys culture capital and as an emerging market and location for the visual arts.



Thursday, Oct. 2


The celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Mikhail Lermontov continues with todays free exhibition in the citys Lermontov Library at 19 Liteiny Prospekt. Titled Under the Rustling Wings, the temporary exhibition will feature the costumes and scenery used in the 1917 production of Lermontovs play The Masquerade, which he wrote in 1835 when he was only 21 years old.



Friday, Oct. 3


Learn more about how to manage and evaluate employee performance during SPIBAs Human Resources Committee meeting this morning on Employee Assessment: Global and Local Trends. Starting at 9:30 a.m., the discussion will touch on such topics as the partnership between HR and business, reliable assessment strategies and more, with Tatiana Andrianova, the head of the SHL Russia and CIS branch in St. Petersburg, as the featured guest. Confirm your participation by Oct. 2 by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.


AmChams Procurement Committee Meeting is at 9 a.m. this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.



Saturday, Oct. 4


Wine and cheese lovers will get their chance to revel during Scandinavia Country Club and Spas Wine Market Weekend. Going on today and tomorrow, wining diners can listen to live music, take part in culinary classes and, of course, sample a variety of fine wines from around the world. The cost of admission is 400 rubles ($10.30) for adults and 200 rubles ($5.15) for children.



Sunday, Oct. 5


Look for the latest fall fashions at the Autumn Market today in Freedom Anticafe at 7 Kazanskaya Ulitsa. The minimarket plans to offer clothes more flattering than the puffy jackets that are a staple of the citys cold-weather fashion, while offering the same amount of protection from the biting winds blowing off of the Baltic.



Monday, Oct. 6


SKA St. Petersburg, the citys KHL affiliate, welcomes Slovakian club HC Slovan in a match-up tonight at the Ice Palace near the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased on the clubs website or in person at either the arenas box office or the clubs merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Oct. 7


Learn more about Russias energy industry at the St. Petersburg Energy Forum that begins today and runs through Oct. 10. Attracting industry experts and political and business representatives, the forum plans to welcome more than 350 plus companies and their representatives to discuss the future of Russias largest economic sector.



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