Boris Alexandrovich Arapov (1905-1992) – the distinguished Russian composer and teacher having fostered several generations of composers. Among his disciples are such personalities as Gennady Banshchikov, Leonid Desyatnikov, Alexander Knaifel, Sergei Slonimsky. Since 1930 his activity was tightly welded with the Leningrad (Petersburg) Conservatoire (given the professor title in 1940), where in 1974 he became the head of the composition faculty working there selflessly up to the last breath.
Arapov’s heritage embraces three operas, the ballet, seven symphonies, numerous symphony and chamber-instrumental compositions, vocal and piano music.
Boris Arapov was born on September 12, 1905. In 1930 he graduated from the Leningrad Conservatoire, where he studied at Professor V. Shcherbachyov. The list of Arapov’s opuses is rather abundant. However, the ideas were realized ponderously and without fuss. Arapov had a command of post-war European music avant-garde devices, although selecting them delicately and expediently for his innovatory substance.
Being destined to be the leader of the whole composition trend, Arapov was nevertheless striving for novelty. Thus having passed the boarder of his sixtieth birthday, he managed to create maverick music-scenic diptych consisting of the opera-novella “Rain” to the story by William Somerset Maugham (1967) and the ballet “The Picture of Dorian Grey” by Oscar Wilde (1971) peculiar for mostly refined chamber expressive means. Arapov seems to inculcate theatre action in the symphony elaboration also throughout his three concertos — the Violin Concerto (1964), Concerto for Full Symphony Orchestra (1969) and Concerto for violin, piano and percussion dedicated to I. F. Stravinsky’s memory (1973). Stage adaptation of the instrumental music was Arapov’s main stylistic feature.
The latest mature opuses are especially remarkable in Arapov’s creation. Vocal cycle and Symphony were firstly performed only after the composer’s death. The composer was 80 when they appeared. These opuses sign the apex of the great master going on his diligent assiduous labour, which he devoted all his life to. This is the scrutiny of the wizard observing his life and sifting everything husk out of the eternal values. Even on the boarder of the 1980ies-1990ies Arapov – the coeval of Dmitri Shostakovich was left faithful to that pathetic spirit of novelty peculiar for that dazzling galaxy of avant-garde composers having appeared during the 20ies-30ies. Meanwhile Arapov’s own music is distinct for insightfulness nourished by the long-lasting musical history along millennial music history and multimillenial literary tradition in Europe. Lyrical philosophical thoughts in the cycle “Soul and Body” to the verses by N. Gumilyov and O. Mandelstam and the instrumental drama of the Symphony ¹ 7 seem to find their common denominator in the Revelation of St. John Theologian. This is simultaneously an epic and anguishing lyrical music turning personal bosom emotions to the Universal Apocalypse. Gasp of the personality on the ice of the eternity, petrified Judea, misery as the safe shield of mind – these are the verbal images from this vocal cycle, having become the measure of the unified scale. Do hear the tone of the extinguishing century and millennium, the time of grand history. The history of human-beings. This common experience is one and the same with the personal comprehension — ever new and ever insightful perception of the world and its events. This is used to be. The sung wisdom and light are as inseparable from the ephemeral struggle with the evil as the soul in the earthly existence is indivisible with the body. These are the aesthetic behests left by Boris Arapov in his last compositions.
Music for string orchestra, violoncello, piano and percussion (Revelation of St.John Theologian). Score. Op. 64
Soul and Body. Vocal cycle to the verses by N. Gumilyov and O. Mandelstam. For baritone and piano
Sonata ¹ 4. For piano
Sonata ¹ 5 «De Profundis». For piano
Autumn. From the vocal cycle “Four Seasons”. Verses by K. Issa, translated to Russian by V. Markova. See it in: Seasons. Vocal music by modern Pussian composers for voice and piano
Jolly Feast. Table song. See it in: Petersburgian Pushkiniana. Romances to the verses by A. S. Pushkin for voice and piano
Music on CD