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Zara Levina

Russia

Born

5 February 1906 in Simferopol (Crimea).

Died 27 June 1976 in Moscow.

 

Education

Zara Levina graduated with a gold medal from the Odessa Conservatory, where she studied piano under B. Dronseiko-Mironovich. In 1932 she graduated from the Moscow Conservatory having studied piano under F. Blumenfeld and composition under N. Miaskovsky and R. Gliere.

 

Style

In het young days in Odessa she was overwhelmed by music of Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Prokofiev as well as Beethoven and Schumann. Their influence can be traced throughout all of her works. Her gift was primarily melodical, lyrical and deeply personal. The nucleus of he creative output has been vocal music - namely romances (more than 200) followed by vocal miniatures about children. In the 1930s heroic and passionate monologues have been her natural choice. Light music extended the range of her output in the late 1940s and children's music was always a central concern. A spirit of patriotism is present in her tragic monologues of the war years and in the severe and mournful romances on African poetry that she composed during the 1960s. Her melodies are simple, but their individuality is achieved through fine detail, delicate harmony, supple modulation and varied texture.

 

Principal Works

Two pianoconcertos, chamber music and vocal music.

 

Works

Piano Sonata No. 1 (1924-1925)

"October's Way" after M. Gorky for soloists, chorus and orchestra (1926)

Poem for viola and piano (1928)
CD Russian Disc RDCD 11382: G. Kalacheva (viola), A. Bakchiev (piano)

 

Sonata for violin and piano No. 1 (1928)
LP Melodiya 33M10 38009-12: D. Oistrakh (violin), Z. Levina (piano)

 

"Poem of Lenin" after A. Surkov for soloists, chorus and orchestra (1930)

 

Poem for cello and piano (1931)

 

Three Romances after Pushkin (1936)

 

Poem and Canzonetta for cello and piano (1938)

 

Three Pieces for piano (1940)

  1. Berceuse

  2. Dance

  3. Toccata

LP Melodiya 33M10 38009-12: Dance in A flat major & Toccata in E minor, L. Brumberg (piano)

 

Four Romances after Lermontov (1940-1942)

 

Fantasy on Bashkir Themes for violin and piano (1942)

 

Piano Concerto No. 1 in three movements (1942)
First performance: 14 March 1945 in Moscow.
LP Melodiya 33M10 38009-12: Large Moscow Radio & TV SO, V. Kin (cond), L. Brumberg (piano) 

Capriccio C 5269; Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Ariane Matiakh (cond), Maria Lettberg (piano)

 

Two Romances after Dolmatovsky (1942-1943)

 

Canzonetta for cello and piano (1943)

 

Three Symphonic Waltzes for large symphony orchestra (1945)

 

Two Romances after A. Surkov (1946)

 

"Round My Year", song cycle after O. Shiraz (1947)

 

"We Are Marching To the Kremlin", song after L. Nekrasova (1948)

 

"Children of the World for Peace", song after T. Rublev (1950)

 

Sonata for violin and piano No. 2 (1952)

 

"My Motherland", song cycle after O. Shiraz (1952)

 

Piano Sonata No. 2 (1953)

 

Three Pieces for light orchestra (1955)

 

Romances after A. Isaakian, S. Kaputukian, O. Shiraz and other Armenian poets (1955)

 

"Ode Soldatu (Ode to the Soldiers)", vocal-symphonic triptych for soloists, mixed chorus, piano, organ and orchestra (1964)

 

"The Watercolours", vocal cycle to verses by Emma Moshkovskaya (1966-1967)

 

"The Musical Pictures", vocal cycle to verses by Emma Moshkovskaya (1966-1967)

 

Pieces for Youth for piano (1975)

 

Jewish Rhapsody (1975)

 

Eight Romances to verses of S. Yesenin for voice and piano (1975)
LP Melodiya 33M10 38009-12: N. Isakova (soprano, nos. 1-3), L. Belobragina (soprano, nos. 4-8), Z. Levina (piano)

 

Piano Concerto No. 2 in E minor (1975)
CD Russian Disc RDCD 11382: Moscow SO, V. Dudarova (cond), B. Petrushansky (piano)

Capriccio C 5269; Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Ariane Matiakh (cond), Maria Lettberg (piano)

Ten Pieces for violin and piano (1976)

 

Mountain Peaks, song after M. Lermontov
LP Melodiya 33M10 38009-12: Z. Dolukhanova(mezzo-soprano), Z. Levina (piano)

 

Without You I Would Like To Say, song after M. Lermontov
LP Melodiya 33M10 38009-12: Z. Dolukhanova(mezzo-soprano), Z. Levina (piano)

 

Patter, song after O. Driz
LP Melodiya 33M10 38009-12: Z. Dolukhanova(mezzo-soprano), Z. Levina (piano)

 

My Old Friend, song after O. Driz
LP Melodiya 33M10 38009-12: Z. Dolukhanova(mezzo-soprano), Z. Levina (piano)

 

"Album of Verses" after Lermontov, vocal cycle

 

Fourteen Romances after S. Marshak

 

Lyrical Romances

 

Romances after G. Rubiev, P. Gradov, L. Nekrasova, O. Driz and S. Yesinin

Zara Levia: The Piano Concertos

Recording Impressions and Interviews

with Maria Lettberg, Ariane Matiakh, Katia Tchemberdji and Johannes Kernmayer
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin

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