The Russian composer Aleksandr Mosolov was born in Kiev on 29 July 1900 and died in Moscow on 12 July 1973. He received his first music lessons from his mother Nina Alexandrovna who was a singer at the Bolshoi Theatre, and he later studied at the Moscow Conservatory from 1921 until 1925 with the composers Reinhold Glière and Nikolai Myaskovsky and the pianists Grigoriy Prokofiev and Konstantin Igmunov. He was a member of the Association of Contemporary Music (ASM), which was founded in 1923 by Nikolai Roslavets and supported the work of avant-garde composers.
Zavod (The Iron Foundry) was written in 1926 and 1927, and became Mosolov’s most famous piece. It was initially part of his ballet Stal’ (Steel), with a scenario by Inna Chernetskaya. The ballet suite consisting of four movements was first performed on 4 December 1927 at a concert of the ASM marking the 10th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. The other movements of the ballet suite: ‘In Prison’, ‘At the Ball’, and ‘On the Square’ are now lost.
Zavod is often described as an example of Russian Futurist music. Mosolov used the orchestra to create machine-like sounds imitating the workings of a factory, which made a striking impression on the audience. These were created by many superimposed ostinati and the use of extremely dissonant chromaticism. Zavod was not only successful in Russia but also abroad. It was performed in 1930 at the International Contemporary Music Festival in Liège and receiving favourable reviews by international newspapers.
This edition published by Universal-Edition in 1929 shows the title page and first page of the piece.
- Full title:
- Alexandr Mosolov: Zavod (The Iron Foundry)
- Universal Edition
- Printed music
- Aleksandr Mosolov
- © Universal Edition
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- Article by:
- Pauline Fairclough
- Music and place, Music, politics and society, Musical style
Pauline Fairclough discusses the impact of the Russian Revolution on Russian composers’ lives and careers.