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Alexander Mosolov (1900 - 1973)

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Mosolov

Alexander Mosolov was born in the lawyer’s family in Kiev in 1900. Since 1903 he lived in Moscow. His mother was a singer and his stepfather was a painter. Their house was a place where Moscow artistic people gathered, including R. Gliere.

Mosolov was a student of the lyceum in the center of Moscow. In 1918 he volunteered to the cavalry regimen of the Red Army. In 1921he was accepted to the Moscow Conservatory to the Gliere’s class of free composition, later he was a student in Myaskovsky’s class.

During his Conservatory years he composed several romances, four piano sonatas. In 1925 he became a member of the Association of Modern Music. In his prime, in 1926-28, his work was devoted to the ideas of the new, “modern” music, including constructivism. His music was often performed in Moscow. The members of his family, himself, his mother, and his wife, E. Kolobova, a pianist, were famous in Moscow for performing the Russian avant-garde music.

During those years his best works were composed and performed: Piano concerto no. 1 for small orchestra (1927), a symphonic episode “Factory. Music of machines” (1926-28); vocal pieces “Three children’s sketches” (1926), “Four newspaper announcements (1926). However many of Mosolov’s works were never performed in his life-time (e.g., the First String Quartet, a chamber opera “A Hero” (1928). Many of his early works were lost.

In 1927, Mosolov became a target for the persecution by the Russian Association of Proletarian Musicians (RAPM). His works were not performed and/or published any more. In November 1937, Mosolov was arrested, condemned in the anti-soviet propaganda and sent to GULAG. A letter written to M. Kalinin (Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR) by Mosolov’s teachers Gliere and Myaskovsky in his support may have helped his liberation in August 1938. In November 1942, Mosolov returned to Moscow. During these years he composed two operas (“A Signal” (1941), “Masquerade” (circa 1944), concertos for harp and cello, several symphonies, etc.

After 1949, the genre of his composition had changed. His acquaintance with N. Meshko, who was an artistic director of the Northern Folklore Choir, drove his attention to the compositions for choirs. His last large work was the Fifth symphony for large orchestra (1965) dedicated to Meshko.

Alexander Mosolov died in Moscow in 1973.

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