— Are you fond of arts?
— 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 pieces.
— 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 Russian composers?
— 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 composers?
— 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 adopted?
— 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 the «Beatles»!
— 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 «Eleanor Rigby.»
— When did their public performances end?
— Their public performances ended in 1966.
— 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 bands.
— What can you tell us about this rock band?
— 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 Stones» popular?
— 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 Stones» performing?
— 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 singing.
— 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 symbolism.
— 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 Bryullov's paintings?
— 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 also popular?
— 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 Russian painter?
— Karl Bryullov is one of my favourite Russian painters.
— Whose works art do you also admire?
— 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 «Wanderers»?
— 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 circles.
— 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 name?
— 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 century?
— 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 «Automate».
— 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 cinematic artistry.
— 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.