The RUSSIAN method
Names of talented composers, conductors, instrumentalists, and singers who have graduated from The Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory and from The Tchaikovsky National Music Academy in Kiev are wellknown all over the world. They are the most brilliant representatives of the Russian music and interpretation school and carriers of its glorious traditions.
The Moscow Conservatory was founded in 1866 by the remarkably gifted pianist and conductor N. Rubinchtein. Among his most famous supporters, one can cite P. Tchaïkovski, S. Taneïev, V. Safonov, M. Ippolitov Ivanov. Several musicians and performers who were students at the Conservatory later worked there as teachers: S. Rakhmaninov, A. Skriabin, N. Metner, R. Glier, D. Kabalevskiy, N. Miaskovskiy, A. Zilotti, A. Khatchatourian, G. Neigaouz, S. Rikhter, D. Oistrakh, S. Prokofiev, D. Chostakovitch, E. Guilels, K. Igoumnov, L. Kogan, V. Sofronitskiy, M. Rostropovitch, E. Denisov, N. Petrov, E. Virsaladze, V. Tretiakov, L. Issakadze, O. Kryssa, I. Arkhipova, Y. Bachmet, N. Goutman, E. Obraztsova, D. Bachkirov, V. Achkenazi and a few more musicians. Their names enjoy a powerful reputation and stardom not only in Russia but abroad as The opening of the Kiev Conservatory (the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy) took place in 1913. Eminent Russian musicians, such as P. Tchaïkovski, A. Roubinchtein, S. Rachmaninov, S. Taneïev, O. Glazounov, and M. IppolitovIvanov have actively taken part in the creation of the Kiev Conservatory. In this way, the best traditions of the Russian school had been assimilated and developed later in the work of the most skilled figures of the Ukrainian music culture. Among the founders and representatives of the most significant turns in the Conservatory are brilliant musicians, such as R. Glier, L. Revoutskiy, B. Liatochynskiy, V. Kossenko, N. Lyssenko, V. Poukhalskiy, G. Beklemichev, G. Neigaouz, M. Leontovytch, K. Stetsenko, M. Mykhailov, V. Nilsen, E. Tchavdar, F. Bloumenfeld, G. Veriovka, M. Verikovskiy, O. Parkhomenko, N. Rakhlin, S. Tourtchak, M. Skoryk, E. Stankovytch, V. Silvestrov, I. Chamo, Y. Ichtchenko and many other composers and artists who find inspiration, in their creations, in the traditions of the Russian school.
What are the typical features of the Russian school that has worldwide recognition, occupying a major position in international music culture? The term ‘school’ encompasses the whole of aesthetic and stylistic approaches, and of artistic means of expression and their mastery within their unit.
The most significant turn of the Russian school was characterised by a search for ways enabling the multiple facets of the music learner’s personality to emerge into music education. The pedagogues are aware of the link between the following categories: human (with his/her spiritual, emotional, and ethical world), musician (with his/her ability to hear, feel, and understand music), instrumentalist (with his/her knowhow to convey the idea through the instrument) and performer (with his/her will to transmit his/her idea to others and his/her talent for influencing them).
Particular attention is paid to the development of musical reflection. It is therefore crucial to set goals rather than recipes, and to promote a creative approach to knowledge that must not be considered universal truth. Reflection in the field of music is not possible without ideas, at least schematic ideas in other arts such as painting, poetry, and architecture. The more educated the musician is, the more passionate, visionary and intelligent s/he is and the deeper and more refined his/her feelings and thoughts contained in his/her creation will become.
The knowledge of the learner’s personality and the knowledge of high professional qualities must go hand in hand. Intensive thought, impressive intellectual baggage in music, deep immersion into the logic of its development and stylistic peculiarities… are so many components that lead to a true emotion and to the atmosphere of an authentic, inventive enthusiasm.
Regular technical work is prime. Artistic intentions cannot become reality without the technique. The performer’s technique is always individual, but it must be developed every single day without omitting the slightest detail.
Regarding the best Russian traditions related to performance, particular attention should be paid to the special features of the modulation, to a typical freedom of musical expression. The starting points can vary – either the intonation of speech (declamation), or singing (the vocal nature). Yet one can never level the emotional and semantic capacity of the sentence. The performance must be filled with very rich nuances of intonation.
The students are supposed to perform truly and expressively. However big the time span which separates us from Bach or Haydn, the interpretation of their works must be close to the contemporary audience. The commitment to a music style must never resemble yesteryear ways of performing. Although the instructors do keep the stylistic foundations of the work, they leave some room for the student’s creativity and personal initiative.
The teachers thus make efforts so that the students can learn the language of music, its means of intonation and rythm, the logic of its development as well as its stylistic distinctive features; in order for them to learn the very method of such study, and to acquire the skill of conveying what is learned and understood. Ultimately, some students will have mastered this art, others only the job, but this job will be solid and welllearned.
The Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory and the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy in Kiev currently work methodically and carry out various research, the number of concerts increases, and the international artistic links are becoming stronger. The number of laureates of prestigious international competitions rises every year. The people who have been promoted in these schools teach music all over the world while strengthening the traditions that they had learned from their teachers.