- Yes, I am. I am fond of arts. I
really enjoy everything that is aesthetically beautiful. I like painting,
sculpture, and architecture. I am also fond of music, ballet, opera, and
theatre. Masterpieces have always inspired people. The twentieth century has
given the world one more variety of arts - cinema.
- What kind of music do you like?
- I like both serious and pop music.
I want to say that the striking changes in musical style occurred about 1900.
After World War II avant-garde music began to employ the electronics
techniques. The dehumanizing of music has been carried further by the use of
computers to determine the nature of sound materials and even to create musical
- Was popular music wide spread in
the 20th century?
- Yes, it was.
- What brought about the tremendous
growth of popular music during the 20th century?
- The tremendous growth of popular
music during the 20th century was the result of advances in electronics. New
techniques have made possible high-fidelity reproduction of sound and its
widespread and rapid dissemination through radio, phonograph, tape recorder,
and television. In addition, some of the instruments used in popular music have
incorporated electronic amplification as well as sound production.
- When did popular music originate?
- Popular music in the modern sense
originated in the late 18th century, when ballads made popular in ballad operas
and dance music received wide circulation.
- What prompted a new direction in
popular music in the 20th century?
- In the 20th century a new
direction in popular music was prompted by the emergence of jazz among blacks
in the southern United States. After the original ragtime came jazz proper,
swing, bebop, and rock in its numerous manifestations - punk, new wave, etc.
Early in the century, the novelty of jazz rhythms and dominance of brass,
woodwind, and percussion instruments over strings attracted some serious
composers who occasionally incorporated suitable jazz idioms into their works.
Since about 1930 popular music has gradually adopted techniques that originated
in serious music. Regardless of the interaction of popular and serious music,
the popularity of the former is one of the most significant musical
developments of the 20th century.
- Who is your favourite composer?
- My favourite composer is Sergey
Rachmaninoff. He was the last great figure of the tradition of Russian
Romanticism and a leading piano virtuoso of his time. He is especially known
for his piano concerti and the piece for piano and orchestra entitled "Rhapsody
on a Theme of Paganini". At the age of 19 he graduated from the
conservatory, winning a gold medal for his one-act opera "Aleko"
(after Aleksandr Pushkin's poem "The Gypsies"). His fame and
popularity, both as composer and concert pianist, were launched by two
compositions: the "Prelude", and his "Piano Concerto No.
2". Rachmaninoff's music, although produced mostly in the 20th century, re
mains firmly entrenched in the 19th-century music. He was the final to express
the tradition embodied by P. Tchaikovsky.
- Do you like the music of other
- Yes, of course. I also enjoy
Mikhail Glinka's music. He was me first Russian composer to win international
recognition, and the acknowledged founder of the Russian nationalist school.
The opera that first won him fame was "Life for the Tsar". It was
produced at St. Petersburg in 1836.
- What else did Glinka create?
- In 1842 Glinka created his second
opera "Ruslan and Lyudmila". The composer Franz Listz was fascinated
by the novelty of Glinka's music.
- Did Glinka's music influence the
composers of succeeding generations?
- It should be said that Glinka's
work, although small in bulk, is the basis of practically all later Russian
music. "Ruslan and Lyudmila" provided models of lyrical melody and
colourful orchestration on which Mily Balakirev, Aleksandr Borodin, and Nikolay
Rimsky-Korsakov formed their styles. Glinka's orchestral composition
"Kamarinskaya", of 1848, according to Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, became
the foundation of later Russian symphonic music.
- Do you like the music of modern
- As for modern composers I am fond
of experimental works of Igor Stravinsky. He heralded a new epoch in music.
Stravinsky's revolutionary style, labelled "dynamism,"
"barbarism," or "primitivism," concentrated on metric
imbalance and dissonance. Following the leadership of Stravinsky, Bela Bartok,
and Sergey Prokofiev, entered a Neo-classical period characterized by restraint
of emotional content.
- Do you like opera?
- Yes, I do. Especially I like the
operas created by Mozart, Verdi, and Tchaikovsky.
- Do you known anything about the
history of opera?
- It is generally accepted that
opera began in 1600 when the Florentine composer Jacopo Peri produced his
"Euridice", which is considered to be the first opera, at the wedding
of the King of France Henry IV and Maria de Medici. Later a group of Italian
musicians, poets, and noblemen called "Camerata" revived the style of
musical story that had been used in Greek tragedy. By the late 1600s operas spread
throughout Europe. Composers produced complicated arias, recitatives, duets to
demonstrate the splendid voices of the singers.
- Do you like pop music?
- Yes, I do. I prefer the
"Beatles" to all recent pop groups.
- Who were the members of the group?
- The four members of the group, all
born in Liverpool, were Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo
Starr. They came from a working-class background, and ail had worked in various
rock groups before they started performing together.
- When was the name of the group
- The name the "Beatles"
was adopted in 1960. They were per forming at clubs in Liverpool and in
Hamburg, which served as a proving ground for popular musicians of the period.
- What songs made them the most
popular rock group in Eng land!
- Such songs as "Love Me
Do," "Please Please Me," "She Loves You," and "I
Want To Hold Your Hand" made them the most popular rock group in England.
Early in 1964 what soon came to be called "Beatlemania" struck the
United States with the release there of the two last-named records and their
first U.S. television appearance on the "Ed Sullivan Show."
- Who was inspired by the music of
- Such U.S. performers as Chuck
Berry, Elvis Presley, and Bill Haley were inspired by the music of the
"Beatles". The "Beatles'" long hair and tastes in dress
proved influential throughout the world.
- What kept the "Beatles"
at the top of popularity charts for several years?
- The freshness and excitement of
the earliest days of rock and roll and, in combination with the simple but
engaging lyrics of Lennon and McCartney, kept the group at the top of
popularity charts for several years. They won recognition from the music
industry in the form of awards for performances and songs. With a solid financial
basis they could experiment with new musical forms and arrangements. The result
was a variety of songs ranging from ballads such as "Yesterday" to
complex rhythm tunes like "Paperback Writer," from children's songs
such as "Yellow Submarine" to songs of social comment, including
- When did their public performances
- Their public performances ended in
- Do you know any other long-lived
and popular rock band?
- The "Rolling Stones",
English musical group, was one of the most long-lived and popular of all rock
- What can you tell us about this
- The name "Rolling
Stones" was adopted from a song by the American blues musician Muddy
Waters. The "Rolling Stones" began to perform in England in 1963, and
a series of outstanding songs had made the band second in popularity only to
the "Beatles" among rock and roll audiences by 1966.
- What albums made the "Rolling
- The group reached the height of
its popularity in the late 1960s and early '70s with such albums as
"Beggar's Banquet", "Let It Bleed", "Sticky
Fingers", and "Exile On Main Street".
- When were the "Rolling
- The "Rolling Stones"
were still performing in the late 20th century, long after the
"Beatles" and other classic rock bands of the 1960s had disbanded.
- What was the "Rolling
Stones" music marked by?
- The "Rolling Stones'"
music was marked by a driving back- beat, biting and satirical lyrics, simple
but expressive instrumental accompaniments, and Jagger's blues-influenced
- Well, now let us talk about
painting. Are you fond of painting?
- To me painting is second only to
music. I take a special liking to masters' masterpieces. I have several albums
with the greatest Russian and West European paintings.
- Which painting do you prefer
Russian or West European?
- It is almost impossible to say
which painting I prefer Russian or West European. Each of them has its own
peculiarities. I like the colour of Andrew Rublev's masterpieces and I enjoy
the Impressionists works of art. I am also fond of the "Little
masters'" works of art. But most of all I admire Giotto. He is regarded
the founder of modern painting. Giotto introduced perspective, three
dimensional forms, landscape background, one scale for the people and another
for the surroundings, light without indication of source and foreshortening in
perspective. 1 also like the art works created by the Russian painters -
members of the "World of Art" group, such as Aleksandr Benois,
Yevgeny Lansere, Konstantin Somov, Bakst.
- What was the goal of the painters
of the "World of Art" group?
- They strove to achieve a synthesis
of new western European trends and certain elements of traditional Russian folk
art. They attacked the artistic standards of the realist painters, the
deadening influence of the Russian Academy of Arts, and emphasized
individualism and artistic personality.
- Whose works of art of the painters
of the "World of An" group do you like most?
- I like the works created by
Konstantin Somov. He was a painter and graphic artist. Somov attended the St.
Petersburg Academy of Fine Art from 1888 to 1897, then he went to Paris to
attend the studios of Filippo Colarossi and Whistler. Neither the Realism of
the Russian teachers nor the fleeting quality of Whistler's art was reflected
for long in Somov's work. Somov was associated with the "World of
Art" Journal from 1898. He concentrated on the subjects from the
eighteenth century. In the "Lady in Blue", of 1897-1900, an oil
portrait of the artist Yelizaveta Martynova, the outmoded dress of the figure
in the foreground, and the park-like setting creates the atmosphere of a
reverie. Somov's paintings are characterized by a melancholy nostalgia in line
with the gallant age of Watteau. The artist shared his moods with the
- Do you like the works of art of
other Russian painters?
- Yes, do. I like Karl Bryullov's
works of art.
- What can you tell us about Karl
- Karl Bryullov is celebrated for
the unusual breadth of his artistic talent. He was a perfect historical
painter, portraitist, and genre painter. He made the most notable contribution
to the Ro mantic spirit having combined technical proficiency and classical
academic training with a Romantic impulsiveness to produce some of the
liveliest examples of Russian art of the period.
- Where did Karl Bryullov study?
- Bryullov was educated at the St
Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts. He studied in Italy from 1823.
- What is Bryullov's greatest work?
- Bryullov's monumental painting the
"Last Day of Pompeii" is his greatest work. It brought him an
international reputation. Russia greeted him as a hero who had glorified the
Motherland. Alexander Pushkin, Vassily Zhukovsky and Nikolay Gogol all warmly
welcomed the artist.
- Were Bryullov's other paintings
- Though he painted other monumental
historical canvases, none was as successful as the "Last Day of
Pompeii". Much of his reputation rests on his more intimate portraits,
water-colours, and travel sketches. Bryullov succeeded in asserting something
new in everything he created. During his long stay in Italy he was charmed by
the life and customs of the Italians, their humour and lyricism. In Italy
Bryullov created a series of small genre paintings.
- Is Karl Bryullov your favourite
- Karl Bryullov is one of my
favourite Russian painters.
- Whose works art do you also
- I am fond of genre scenes. I like
Pavel Fedotov's works of art very much. He was a great master of genre
painting. The painter elevated the household theme to the level of drama. He
understood his task in raising the moral standards of the people by unmasking
the vices of the society in his art. Fedotov was a prolific painter. For nine
years he created a great number of perfect works of art, such as "A Newly
Awarded Officer", "The Fastidious Bride", "The Aristocrat's
Breakfast", two versions of the "Mayor's Proposal", three
versions of "The Young Widow", "Encore, Once more Encore",
"The Gamblers". The movement initiated by Fedotov soon became known
as Critical Realism. It laid the foundation for the democratic painting of the
"Wanderers" in the second half of the 19-th century.
- What do you know about the
- A truly national realistic
tradition began with the appearance of the "Wanderers". Kramskoy
organized a protest against prescribed mythological themes in the competition
for the Great Gold Medal that gave a six-year scholarship to study abroad. This
action marked a break with the Academy's outdated form of Neoclassicism patterned
on Western models which lost popularity with the educated public but continued
to be taught and favoured at the official level. After the break with the
Academy Kramskoy sustained a group of thirteen independent painters both
organizationally and intellectually in keeping with the spirit of the reform
and renovation that swept Russia during the 1860s after the emancipation of the
serfs. He set up a communal workshop (artel), the "Wanderers". At the
same time Kramskoy defined ideological underpinnings of the new art: a
combination of civic, moral and national goals, which infused Russian realism
with its crystal-clear ideal of service. He asserted that as painters in Russia
were not free they had to take the most urgent problems of the day as the
subjects of their works of art. The most prominent Russian artists of the 1870s
and '80s, including Ivan Kramskoy, Il'ya Repin, Vassily Surikov, Vassily Perov,
and Vassily Vereshchagin, belonged to this group. The "Wanderers"
attached much importance to the moral and literary aspects of art than to
aesthetics. Their artistic creed was realism, national feeling, and social
consciousness. The influence of the "Wanderers" spread throughout
Russia. This group was dominant for nearly 30 years.
- Can you tell us about one of the
painters who sympathized with the "Wanderers"?
- I shall tell you about Vassily
Vereshchagin. He was a naval officer, and on board the frigate
"Kamchatka" he sailed to Den mark, France and Egypt. In 1860 having
abandoned his naval officer career, Vereshchagin entered the St. Petersburg
Academy of Arts. But dissatisfied with the conservatism and idealistic
conventions of the academic system, he left the Academy in 1863. The critical
realism of the "Wanderers" always evoke Vereshchagin's sympathy. He participated
in some of their exhibitions.
- What is Vereshchagin's best-known
work of art?
- The best-known work of
Vereshchagin's Turkish series is the "Apotheosis of War". It shows a
pile of skulls against the devastated city. On the frame there is an inscription:
"Dedicated to all great conqueror: past, present, future." The
subject of the painting, distinguished for anti-war symbolism, was repeated
numerously in the 20th century anti-war poster. Vereshchagin appealed for
pacifism and his social concern attracted the sympathy of the liberally minded
- What other Vereshchagin's works of
art were are popular?
- Vereshchagin's anti-Napoleonic
series were very popular. The huge paintings of the series are not entirely
free from the theatrical effects and the pomposity, but certain images are
memorable because of their dramatism. "Keep away I'll Take Care of
Him", of 1888-95, depicts the Russian partisans in an ambush, surrounded
by the branches of a snow-covered forest.
- Are you fond of portraiture?
- Yes, I do. I like the portraits
created by the Russian painters of the 18th century such as Vladimir
Borovikovsky, Fyodor Rokotov, and Vladimir Dmitry Levitsky. The painters tried
to render the richness of the spiritual life of their models. They endowed them
with the nobility of the human countenance and form. Karl Bryullov was an
excellent portraitist too. Even in the ceremonial portraits he managed to
attach something new and turn the piece into a genre painting. Bryullov's
supreme achievements in portraiture are intimate, small-scale portraits, in
which the artist was not restricted by academic tradition. Bryullov's
self-portrait is one of his best works of art. The members of the "World
of Art" group also produced remarkable portraits of renowned Russian
writers and artists. For example, Somov made a number of portraits of out
standing Russian people, including Alexander Blok.
- What English painters can you
- William Hogarth, Thomas
Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, John Constable are outstanding English painters.
One of the greatest painters of Britain is Joseph Mallord William Turner. He
often painted historical subjects, involving violence as well as shipwrecks and
conflagrations, in which the individual figures appear as scarcely more than spots
in a seething tide of humanity. He liked to accompany his works with the labels
with quotations from poetry, often his own. Turner was fond of painting the
pure movement of masses of colour - a kind of colour music, strikingly relevant
to Abstract Expressionism of the 1950s. Turner's masterpieces are "The
Slave Ship" and the "Rain, Steam and Speed". In the former the
painter represented an incident common in the days of slavery, when entire
human cargoes were thrown into the sea, either because of epidemics or to avoid
arrest. The latter is one of the first paintings of a railway train, and its
Romantic idealization of "progress" - man conquering nature by
utilizing its force. It should be said that Turner's colour sense provided a
revelation to the French Impressionists.
- Is the English school of painting
proud of its portraitists?
- Yes, certainly. The greatest of
them are Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough. They created the portraits of
celebrated lords and ladies. Their works are full of charm and elegance.
Throughout the 18th century, portraiture was the most important genre of
British painting. In portraiture an interest in extremes of mood found most
eloquent expression in the work of Sir Thomas Lawrence. In the portraits
"Richard Payne Knight" and "Pope Pius VII" the artist
combined brilliant freedom of handling with dramatic expression and setting.
- Do you like American art?
- Yes, I do.
- How did it develop in the 20th
- At the beginning of the twentieth
century American Art was still traditional. But artistic currents from Europe
continued to flow. They resulted in the neorealist "Ash Gan" group,
and in the modernist group of "291". An absolutely original American
painter was Georgia O'Keffe. Throughout her long creative life, O'Keffe's
imagery was derived from the great variety of objects surrounding her. In her
"Blue and Green Music" the brushwork moved like visual music. After
World War I some American artists turned to new forms of realism, focusing on
the banality of American urban and rural life. One of the best of these
American scene painters was Edward Hopper, He presents us with a bleak world
made up of dirty streets, gloomy houses, comfortless rooms such as in the
- What can you tell us about
American cultural life?
- American culture has produced many
outstanding writers, filmmakers, and musicians. The country's 19th-century
literature was dominated by such names as Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Рое, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, and
Henry James. Among the great American writers of the 20th century were Ernest
Hemingway, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The
dramatists Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams. The poets Ezra Pound, T.S.
Eliot, and Robert Frost were popular too.
- What is one of the USA most
popular and internationally influential art forms?
- One of the country's most popular
and internationally influential art forms has been the motion picture. American
filmmakers such as Charlie Chaplin, Howard Hawks, Orson Welles, Frank Capra, John
Ford, John Huston, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg gained world fame for
- What music types have been
developed in the USA?
- The country has developed several
distinctive and highly influential types of popular music: jazz, the blues,
country and western, and rock and roll. The most important performers have
included Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and John Coltrane in
jazz; Muddy Waters in the blues, Hank Williams in country and western, and
Elvis Presley in rock and roll.
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