About Vyacheslav Artyomov’s music

Valeriya LyubetskayaYuliya                            Yevdokimova                            Robert Matthew-Walker

I am under an incredible impression, almost a shock, produced by all that I’ve found in his inexhaustible (for the range of those problems which can not leave indifferent any human heart) scores...

Each sound in the Artyomov’s music is the heart, the soul, the nerves, – it is a fine melodics, it is a kind of heavenly magic, which drives you up – to the purity, self-perfection, beauty... – I cry, I enjoy it, I suffer, when I work with Vyacheslav Artyomov’s scores...

It seems to me, that we – performers and listeners – are on the threshold of a greatest musical discovery of the present time, which are the works of this composer for our culture.

I am delighted, that this nation has got such a composer!

Dmitri Kitayenko, artistic director, Moscow Philharmonic orchestra,

“Sovetskaya kultura”, 23.04.1988

Vyacheslav Artyomov’s music is beyond doubt great. In general all compositions by Artyomov are amazingly perfect in form. And a perfect form in music is an evidence of a genius... 

When I was conducting the Lamentations I experienced at that moment a really deep shock, produced by the feelings which possessed me. The spiritual power of this music affects my personality in an unusual way. This music gets directly into my heart.

In his music he reveals the profoundness of this world, the profoundness of the human life as it is seen from a remote cosmic distance, when the essence of everything stands out clear with the  meaning, the mystery of this phenomenon.

Liana Isakadze, violinist, artistic director and  conductor, Georgian Chamber orchestra, interview for the All-Union Radio, November, 1987

It is not incidentally, that Artyomov calls himself a romantic composer. This music is, in fact, romantic music of the end of the 20th century... music unusually elaborated and a very, very  beautiful... The adherence to a profound philosophy, to a most rare poetry, and – that is the most important – the highest register of the romantic spirit of music relate him with the  music of Scriabin... 

Artyomov possesses, undoubtedly, a melodic gift, which was an integrate part of the Russian musical classic.

Dmitri Alekseyev, pianist, interview for the All-Union Radio, December, 1987

I do not know an analogy for A Symphony of Elegies in the world’s music. It is unique.

Saulius Sondetskis, artistic director and conductor, Lithuanian Chamber orchestra, interview for the All-Union Radio, December, 1987

His symphony Way to Olympus is a music of an impassioned spiritual movement to something high into the air, to a divinity, to a moral ideal...  

Vyacheslav Artyomov writes life-giving and ever-living music.

Vladimir Fedoseyev, artistic director and сonductor, Large Symphonic orchestra of the All-Union Radio and TV, interview for the All-Union Radio, December,1987

Way to Olympus... is a call for an ascension towards the summits of spirituality, towards moral purge... is an antithesis of a mighty and a refine, the ground and the heavens, the divine and the humane... in the richly developed symphonic range of expression... It allows us to appreciate the importance of a turn towards cognition of that eternity, which opens when one plunges into the depths of the human inner world, and simultaneously – towards the penetration into the highest being, discernible through the contemplation of the unlimited cosmic space.

Mikhail Tarakanov, professor, Dr. in history of the arts, sleeve notes for the Way to Olympus LP,1988

My first impression of Vyacheslav Artyomov’s music is quite unforgettable. The first thing that astounded me was quite unexpected profoundness, unexpected even relatively to the most considerable works of our time. The Profoundness and Temperament! In music of Artyomov there is perceived the view of a wise man at the whole our world, or a look of a saint, and at the same time – compassion and trepidation. This profoundness is of a different scale and a different quality, than we used to know so far... I felt how Artyomov was transmitting me his thoughts by musical sounds – quite accurately, in a natural way, subconsciously – and how I was saturated with his thoughts during my performance of his Tristia. I experienced a revelation! The composer succeeded to express in this 16 minutes piece so much of musical information that would usually make an opera! Each bar is important and heavily charged with feelings...

Stanislav Bunin, pianist, interview for the All-Union Radio, December, 1987


Artyomov is an outstanding composer. His Requiem has raised the Russian music to the unattainable height it had never reached before. I’m sure it is due to Artyomov that we not only reached the European level in this genre but surpassed its acmes – Requiems by Mozart and Verdi.

Tikhon Khrennikov, composer, Chairman of the Union of composers, interview for the All-Union Radio, November, 1988

Artyomov has the absolute clear and the absolute unique composer’s visage. 

And this is the most important thing for a composer. Artyomov brings Glory for our country and the Russian art. Here is Slava (“glory” in Russian and Artyomov’s short first name) who brings Glory.

Mstislav Rostropovich, cellist, conductor, interview for the VOA and the Russian TV, 1990

Artyomov’s maximalism is that of a man whose highest consideration is the moral imperative. He maintains that mass consciousness cannot be changed without faith in ideals and spiritual values, no matter how many slogans you put up on the walls. Without  faith everything is permitted, as Dostoyevsky

proved. Looking at Artyomov’s own art from this standpoint we can see two poles: the tragic world with its passions and abysses on the one hand, and the ineradicable hope for moral revival on the other, the hope that has inspired his Requiem and echoes in the heart of every listener.

Olga Martynenko, “Moscow News”, 29.1.1989

Tonight’s world premiere of On the Threshold of a Bright World for many Washingtonians is a first chance to hear the work of a unique composer...

The first part of the tetralogy, the Way to Olympus, is stunning.

Octavio Roca,“The Washington Times”, September 20, 1990

Requiem is not exciting – it is shocking, tormenting, releasing one from a world of common human emotions, it makes one to shudder: tortures and inspires, purifies one’s heart...

The composer has dedicated this work to “martyrs of long-suffering Russia” and – on a scale commensurate to the immensity of the tragedy – has created a gigantic sound epic, a majestic monument with meticulously elaborated details, fine treatment of each feature and all the same immense. A grandiose painting, it provides a subject  for a long close “contemplation”, going into and taken by semantic meaning of each phonic particle...  

One more thing should be mentioned – the integrity of the artistic language of the composition,  the beauty as original ethical provision of all means, all devices of expression. 

Hence the impact of this music is so exceptionally strong. It is beautiful in all its length. No extreme devices are used to affect the audience, no pressure, no excesses! Strictly classical conception of the art! 

This is the sounding monument to the tragedy of Russian people.

Yuliya Yevdokimova, Dr. in history of the arts, program notes for the premiere of Requiem, 25.11.1988

Artyomov would appear to be just the sort of composer whose appearance is especially timely at this point in the life of his country. It is not simply that he personifies the rebel against the former Establishment, but that he is not compelled, as Shostakovich before him felt himself to be, to serve as a chronicler or to disguise his true feelings or objectives. His music and his artistic outlook in general reflect  the questing for a new order of spiritual values (based in large part on a return to old ones) as well as a new regard for individuality.

Richard Freed, Stagebill (Kennedy Center), 1990

A new Russian symphony dedicated to an American orchestra is unusual enough. Vyacheslav Artyomov’s On the Threshold of a Bright World is even more rare – it is a work of genius...

These performances are a high point for an orchestra and conductor already celebrated as a major force in new Russian music, and a musical event of major international importance.

They are also rare chances to hear some of the most fascinating music being created anywhere today...

This is unsettling music, profoundly moving and extraordinarily beautiful...

Mr. Artyomov has created a frightening vision that has few peers in recent music.

Octavio Roca, “The Washington imes”, September 24, 1990

Sound for Artyomov is not an inert and dead matter like geometrically regular blocks, suitable for building any structure. It comprises  certain vibration perceived solely through the intuitive insight of those who feel in tune with it. His sounds conceal an “involuted” melody, the voice of  truth and eternal beauty...

Being an artist of our time, Artyomov could not neglect the cognition of the meaning of universal evil. His music conveys its pressure bringing one down to one’s knees. But evil is expressed exclusively in symbols as a thoroughly hidden but ever-present understatement of this remarkable music, marked by human suffering...

Now we see the fundamental difference of Artyomov’s Requiem from other Requiems. His composition has been born of the eschatological consciousness which is not scared of apocalypses, but discerns in them a possibility of a spiritual and material renovation of  mankind, capable of elevating itself over its death and entering into the world of truth and beauty. Faith in this possibility underlies the message of this work... In its essence his Requiem is a life-asserting composition designed to elevate human souls and to revive their spiritual thirst in the purifying fire of a musical revelation.

Mikhail Tarakanov, Dr. in history of the arts, “Music in the USSR”,7-12,1990

Vyacheslav Artyomov presents a genuinely unique phenomenon in the Russian musical scene.

The sound in the Artyomov’s works is an absolute substance of  emotional experience. The movement of sound is nothing but  the movement of feeling, which has animated the other reality...  

Artyomov – the artist restitutes in the contemporary musical culture the lost attitide to man as a cosmic phenomenon and makes the next step, asserting a new type of the  e n l i g h t e n e d  moral awareness, an image of the harmonic ecumenical Being, which is in concord with the inner world of man and the space reality...

Valeriya Lyubetskaya, poetess program notes for the performance of Way to Olympus, 1987

Artyomov’s composition is full of arresting effects and strik

Jerome Horowitz, “Las Vegas Review-Journal”, December 2, 1990

Vyacheslav Artyomov holds a special place in Russian music. In Incantations he recreated a strikingly realistic and vivid sound image of primeval magic. It seems that this is not music created by a composer – it might have been overheard by him somewhere and  revived by his superindividual genetic memory... 

By way of enriching individuality, Artyomov recollects, as if it were sleeping in his blood, the archaic conjured rhythms and incantations of a magical, premusical ritual.

Alfred Schnittke, composer, sleeve notes for the Awakening LP, 1983

In an age of minimalism and abstraction Artyomov stands apart – his music is created to serve a greater purpose, much in the same way as the later works of Scriabin and the music of Messiaen.

Stephen A. Whealton, sleeve notes for the  Way to Olympus CD by “Mobile Fidelity”, 1989

The refined beauty of this music first stimulates the listener’s imagination and then ensures his spiritual cooperation and a congeniality of artistic feeling...  

The flickering of inexhaustible awakening of life penetrates all musical  fibre as an electric current, permeating it with shimmering and trembling. It is an awakening of inert reason for a feeling of unity with all being... Pure being and its crying over itself...  

Artyomov possesses a strikingly accurate and profound sense of sound. He perceives the shadows of emotions before the latter are born. This is the kind of perception one experiences about  the pollen of the wings of an uncaught  butterfly, outstripping its trembling  between palms  by one’s own inner  trembling...

Artyomov’s music is condensed spiritual energy. Touching it is inspirable for intuitive revelations of the listener, when at the top of musical experience we penetrate into once covered mystery of the Circle of Being... 

Artyomov’s works reflect the light diffused by various facets of one gleaming crystal – of mystical essence of life. The more intense the mirror reflection of the listener’s soul, the more penetrating is his feeling of the beautiful, the wider are horizons of this unusual sounding world.

Valeriya Lyubetskaya, poetess, program notes for the performances of Artyomov’s music, 1983

The world of music owes a big debt to Mstislav Rostropovich, who is directly responsible for a generous share of our century’s great music. Shostakovich and Prokofiev, Britten, Penderecki and Dutilleux are among the composers inspired by his playing and  conducting, creating new scores that have enriched our lives. To those great names now  we must add Vyacheslav Artyomov, whose Gentle Emanation is a profoundly moving, strikingly original new score.

...Mr. Artyomov’s miraculous score is an unmistakable, joyful affirmation. What we are witnessing is music that dares simply to exist, shining like the sun, allowing us to bask in its warmth.

Mr. Artyomov’s profound religious convictions make him a rarity among Russian composers and place him in the select company of Olivier Messiaen and  the early Krzysztof Penderecki in the international music scene. 

“It is the way inward”, he says, “the way to know ourselves and change ourselves before we can change the world. That is how music can have the most important effect  by expressing the inner life of the human soul.”

That life is the stuff of beauty, if Mr. Artyomov’s music is any indication. Accessible and profoundly humanistic, a typical Artyomov score blends the hypnotic insistence of Indian music with Western tonality at its noblest.

Octavio Roca, “The Washington Times”, January 26, 1992

Vyacheslav Artyomov is regarded in his native Russia as one of the most important composers of his generation – for some, he is the most important Russian composer since Shostakovich.

Perhaps one reason for the lack of international appreciation of his work is Artyomov’s inherent artistic character: he is that rare Russian artist, a spiritual mystic, one who abjures both modern-day fashion and the courting of easy popularity...

Artyomov’s music speaks in restrained tones, often meditatively deliberate, yet with an enthralling intensity which is remarkable and often utterly unique...

Robert Matthew-Walker,  sleeve notes for the Incantations CD by “Olympia”, 1993

Artyomov’s works are clots of spiritual energy. They prod our will to intuitive insights into an esoteric Circuit of Being heretofore concealed to us. His musical world initiates us into the infinite  mutual capacitance of the spiritual and corporeal. Every living breath should be what it is. 

In ecstatic transports of soul passion, this world probes the depth of something entirely different – unknown to us – in what is native and familiar.

Valeriya Lyubetskaya, poetess, program notes for the performances of Artyomov’s music, 1986

Artyomov’s art seek to elevate man’s soul, to enter into contact with supreme spiritual sphere... 

Each of Artyomov’s compositions, different in figurative style and local task – is a fragment of the whole picture of the composer’s soundseeing of the Universe.

Yevgeni Zaidel, musicologist, sleeve notes for the Hymns of Sudden Wafts LP, 1991

What cannot be emphasized too strongly is the nobility and sincerity of genuine spirituality which informs so much of Artyomov’s art. It  is an astounding creation, occupying a unique place for its composer and for Russian music in  the last quarter of the 20th century. When one considers that  Artyomov’s Symphony of Elegies was written during the Brezhnev era in Russia, the composer’s determined individuality appears all the more astonishing. Artyomov is undoubtedly a successor to Scriabin: a mystical world, certainly, but one founded upon natural, basic principles, which at its most compelling illuminates aspects of human existence in a way not approached by any other composer.

Robert Matthew-Walker, sleeve notes for the Elegies CD by “Olympia”, 1993

Ultimately Artyomov’s work must be seen as both religious and Romantic... The marriage of modernism and a refreshingly frank Romanticism is one of the features which makes Artyomov’s music so fascinating, a timely vision of optimism arising from a world where there may have seemed little hope.

Richard Langham Smith, program notes for the The Morning Star Arises performance, Barbican Centre, July 11, 1993

Romantic influences, allied to Artyomov’s natural gifts, have created an individual musical manner which is contemporary and undoubtedly Russian.

He is rare type of Russian artist: a mystical inspirational composer who also exhibits a number of interdependent facets. His art is based first upon deeply religious foundations – shown openly in Artyomov’s fine Requiem and other pieces; secondary, it is inspired by the eternally recreative life-giving forces of nature, attempting to achieve musical transcendence of his experience and perception of these forces.

Robert Matthew-Walker, sleeve notes for the Way to Olympus CD by “Olympia”, 1993

In 1988 Artyomov wrote his Requiem in memory of the “martyrs of long-suffering Russia”, which became a monument to the millions of innocent victims of the Bolshevist regime.  

The first performance of the Requiem in Moscow was a revelation to the audience. It was a great triumph...

 Irina Medvedeva, “Business World Weekly”,  No. 48/141, December 17-23, 1994

For the mind willing to pass through the tortuous labyrinths of Russian thought, for the soul wishing to gain access to Russia’s perception of the world, there is no better means than Vyacheslav Artyomov’s music. The attentive soul is addressed by it – not a lecture, not a sermon, but the true and indivisible existence. A miracle is performed: the music is already neither action nor communication, but dissolution and dedication, fusion and catharsis.

Philosophical estrangement and the living figurativeness of Russian thought provoke each other and create the hitherto unknown spiritual alloy from which, at the threshold of  the 21st century, there arises the unique sound of Vyacheslav Artyomov. Love of Artyomov’s music is as unavoidable as the joy of self-cognition.

Dina Kirnarskaya, “Moscow News”, No. 51, December 23-29, 1994

Doubtlessly Artyomov’s  pessimistic outlook on life as well as the heroic stylistic elements of his works are a result of his own personal fate. What is really surprising is something else: Artyomov’s music is full of passionate and illuminating love which one usually cannot  find in artists who live in a dictatorial regime and in an atmosphere of hostility and hatred.

Valeriya Lyubetskaya, sleeve notes for the “Artyomov” CD by “BMG classics”, 1998

Artyomov, this master of music who had  been unrecognised for decades, proved  that not being recognised in Soviet Russia testified to one’s noble sentiments, profound  feelings and deep emotions. At the same time the failure to appreciate his genius shows clearly the spiritual indifference, the atrophy of religious and moral sentiments and the dreadful moral decline in a society which was governed by an atheist system for many years. In this sense one could say that  Artyomov was ahead of his time in many ways.

Mikhail Tarakanov, “Artyomov”, 1994

I have a deep interest in and appreciation for the great talent of Vyacheslav Artyomov. I am sure that this deeply individual talent will contribute new meaning to the worid of music, expressiveness of his own philosophy and clearly defined slyle.

Mstislav Rostropovich, Musical Director, National Symphony Orchestra (1992)

Mr. Artyoinov is a very rare artist and the best romantic composer of the end of this century. He has no doubt brought his remarkable and original artistic contribution to American culture during the last ten years.

Maxim Shostakovich, Conductor (1995)

Vyacheslav Artyomov is without question one of the greatest composers of this generation and of the twentieth century. When I first encountered his music four years ago, I was stunned by its beauty, by its extraordinary and completely unique sense of romance and mystery, and by its remarkable emotional range (I have always thought this quality – so apparent in the music of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven - to be the most telling sign of genius). Artyomov’s music is filled with imaginative ideas and at the same time has a depth which I have seen in the work of no other living composer.

James Freeman, Musical Director, Orchestra 2001, and the Daniel Underhill Professor of Music, Swarthmore College (1995)