Luck and happiness Of Vladimir Kondrusevich

I have admired bright and expressive music of Vladimir Kondrusevich since I heard it for the first time in the Theatre of a young viewer in the middle of the 70’s. Melodies of this composer stick to the memory. They are faultlessly recognizable owing to some amazing, I would say, stunning purity
I have admired bright and expressive music of Vladimir Kondrusevich since I heard it for the first time in the Theatre of a young viewer in the middle of the 70’s. Melodies of this composer stick to the memory. They are faultlessly recognizable owing to some amazing, I would say, stunning purity.

Kondrusevich wrote music to more than one hundred performances in national and foreign theatres. Of course, his art amateurs visited the first Belarusian musical “Biker.” Its opening night was successfully held in the Palace of the Republic. People speak and argue a lot about the musical. I assured myself that Kondrusevich, the author of music and libretto, created emotionally powerful and stylish composition (rhythms of “Biker” turn on the youth and are perceived by older people), and told by the present-day language about an eternal human desire to real love and cocurrent emotions, passions, intrigues, hopes, disappointments, acquisitions and losses.
The art director of the producer center “Spamash” and “Biker” project manager, the composer Vladimir Kondrusevich became our guest this time.
“Vladimir, you are known in the world of music as the author of operas, symphonies, ballets, oratorios, and operettas. You also work with cinematographers… Which music do you prefer to write at the dictation of a soul?”
“Interesting music. It doesn’t matter whether it is connected with a drama theatre or opera. Inspiration comes when I am captured by some idea or plot. At the present moment I am writing music to several films and performances, there is also an offer to write music to a ballet.”
“What kind of offer is it?”
“The topic is connected with Russian seasons in Paris. The material is very interesting there.”
“How does music find you?”
“It appears when I am working. It doesn’t mean that I am sitting at the instrument and wait until insight comes. Prior to writing certain music, I am trying to plunge into the atmosphere of the composition. I study experience of the past, when the events took place. After that music flows out spontaneously and sounds in me. In order to be in form, it is necessary to devote much time to this work.”
“Do you always manage to find a zest when you can say: I managed to do this?”
“It is always difficult to find a zest. However, I would like to repeat that much depends on the immersion to the work prior to the moment of birth of the music.”
“Several years ago your creative evening was carried out in the State Musical Theatre; plenty of your compositions were played. It still seems to me that your theatric music is charming…”
“I am often invited to the theatres, and I don’t refuse. Probably, this is what I wanted. I got my first education in a conservatory and started as a pianist, I played the guitar. My improvisations were good, that is why I was invited to write music to performances and films. In the theatre, as well as in the cinema, it is necessary to depict, change, or invent on the spot.”
“Do you like improvisation in life?”
“I improvise sometimes. As a matter of fact, I am an introvert. I don’t like to be open. That is why my circle of friends is charmed, though I communicate with many people.”
“Does your fame warms you and do you like that your life is filled with a plenty of meetings and communication?”
“I like to be in the thick of things. I take fame coolly: if it exists, it is good. If it doesn’t — it is also good. I am not a pop-star. It is enough for me that I am known as a composer in the creative medium, that I am invited to take part in new projects, because I am good at it.”
“There was information in the press, that your next project will be more popular than “Biker.”
“Popularity is not the case. This will be a more large-scale project. I am a superstitious person. That is why I wouldn’t like to disclose my plans. I can only say that a new musical (though I can’t say for sure whether it is going to be a musical or an opera) was invented according to a historical topic, connected with Belarus. There are certain plans, I cooperate with several people, but I can’t guarantee that we will be together in a final stage.”
“Your “Biker” breaks the canons of Broadway musicals. Do you consider this work a success?”
“Entertainment, a show, ranks first in Broadway musicals. Everything shall be bright, brassily, everything shall whistle, buzz, and shine. Do you remember a musical “Mamma Mia,” where the best songs of “Abba” were collected? A plotline recedes into the background. There is also a show in the “Biker,” but we can be proud of strong dramaturgy. The genre of our musical is a melodrama. It is not characteristic of a musical. There is also a tendency in the European musicals to dramaturgy. For example, “Notre-Dame de Paris” or “Romeo and Juliette.” A world-level work, an erotic novel of the 18th century “Cruel intentions” by Choderlos De Laclos, often interpreted in the cinema, formed a basis of the “Biker.” We interpreted it in a different way: action was shifted to contemporaneity, and, in point of the fact, all the young people are products of civilization of our time. Besides, Belarusian authors made all the components of the musical: a libretto, music and production, the painter’s work. Not all viewers believe that “Biker” is a Belarusian product. The performance has our national sponsor. I respect Alexander Shakutin very much, a famous person in Belarus. Owing to his financial support, the “Spamash” center and the musical “Biker” became reality.”
“What is the secret of success of the musical?”
“I think that the viewers estimated our wish to speak about love seriously, to show the best sides of human nature. There is plenty of erotica in the musical, but we tried to make it beautiful, because it feeds with real love and not simply sexual interrelations. I would like to add that a young ballet group, consisting of 12 people, took part in the “Biker.” A talented choreographer Nadezhda Tarashkevich is the head of this group. “Biker” was the first big production for her. All the performers were selected at castings. The choice was exact. Ivan Vabischevich or “Uncle Vanja,” noticed by Alla Pugacheva in Yurmala during the “New Wave,” is a brilliant actor.”
“Does it mean that your tastes were the same?”
“Yes, it is pleasant. Ivan is a person devoted to the image he personifies. It is also pleasant for me to mention the others. Darja opened anew in this musical. I think that she is great in the role of an actress and vocalist. We found an optimal variant for Ivan Buslay. His eloquent voice and sincerity move the audience, and everybody likes his positive hero.”
“Tell me, did you manage to realize everything in the musical? What relations do you have with a stage-director of “Biker,” a famous person in the country?”
“Plans are not always realized hundred-per-cent, but “approach to ideal” continues. We clear out disadvantages of former performances each time. For example, we bought our own lighting systems: new colors appeared in the performance. I and a stage-director Gennady Davydko make the second musical. The first one was “Africa,” staged in the theatres of Yanka Kupala and Yakub Kolas in Vitebsk. We understand each other; our tandem can be called successful.”
“Do you like “Biker’s” rhythm of life, or do you want to stop and look back sometimes?”
“The tempo of my life is mad, but I bear it. I sleep four hours a day, and this became a habit. I have worked without rest for a long time. Recently I have stopped: I visited Israel with my wife and had a rest on the Red sea. When I see my grandchildren, I take a pause. I have two adult sons, each of them has a son. However, only the eldest 1-year-old grandson strains after music. This is a fantastic sight to see how attentively he listens to music. He seems to be pleasured by it.”
“I remember the time when we, the young people of the Theatre of young viewers, sang your song “Sun through the leaves.” Who inspired you to write it?”
“Probably, my youth. This was a period, when I had enough forces to replace my brother Pavel in the orchestra of the Theatre of young viewers (he used to work there), to read books, to discuss something, to chat and sing songs in the kitchen. This was life in its bright manifestation. I played at the dances of the first Minsk Brick Factory, which were held full-house. Besides, a visiting card of the ensemble was a song “Pane bratu.” This is how the ensemble was called.”
“Where are your colleagues from the ensemble now?”
“Andrey Gitgarts works in the State Orchestra under the guidance of Mikhail Finberg. Vladimir Ugolnik is a professor; he works in the University of Culture. A percussionist Vitaly Romanov disappeared from my field of vision. He was a unique person. Besides, his play on percussion was brilliant. He was a wonderful organizer. He sang in Polish. There was even an article in a Polish newspaper “Sztandar młodych” about us. We made and performed a concert in Polish, dedicated to one of the jubilees of “Beatles.”
“Were you brought up on “Beatles?”
“Moreover, owing to them I loved this music.”
“Isn’t it difficult to you, a romantic, to fit well into a modern pragmatic life?”
“It is. Unfortunately, I don’t fit well into it. I got used to believe people. I am often burned and it is offensive. People have no respect for promises. In my opinion, a person shall answer for his words and work with commitment. In this context material values and spiritual encouragement are to appear.”
“Do you want to say that you confess a principle: do what you have to do and be as it may?”
“A truer word was never spoken. Of course, I would like to be a romantic and to spend more time for art. That is why I ask my wife to protect me from things, connected with material requirements. Fortunately, she doesn’t object. I am glad that Marina joined our common child: she is the project director of “Biker,” and I respect this director for responsibility, businesslike character, and ability to keep her word.”
“Are you satisfied with your life or do you have frustrated dreams?”
“I dream constantly. My main dream is to find more time for their realization.”
“A concert dedicated to the 30th anniversary of your creative activity has been recently held. Don’t you like to show it to the country?”
“It isn’t difficult to make a concert. Is it important for a composer? I have recently watched a film “Rolling Stones.” A soloist Mick Jagger is a person worth attention. It is necessary to listen to such people! I came to his concert in Moscow, in Luzhniki. It is incredible what this 70-year-old man makes with the audience. Incredible energy! This is how an artist should look like on the stage.”
“They say that you shall be born with such a potential…”
“It is true, but it is necessary to develop such abilities. When “Rolling Stones” appeared, they were asked a question: how long will your group exist? They answered: perhaps, a year. 50 years has passed since then.”
“How do you refer to joint projects of musicians and artists?”
“Positively, as communication between representatives of different trends enriches both. I communicate with painters, actors, and musicians. It was great when we were able to meet in the Art House or in the Union of Composers each Wednesday, drawing many interesting things from those meetings. Now Internet helps, but many people would agree with me: it will never replace interpersonal communication.”
“Who impresses you as a composer?”
“Talking about the old generation, Andrey Mdivani is close to me. Of course, I visit concerts seldom.”
“Is it difficult for you to refuse if you are asked to write music but you don’t want to do this by some reasons?”
“Sometimes it happens, and I try to explain why I refuse. Sometimes I obtain offers, incompatible with my position. I also refuse in these cases.”
“With whom do you like to work?”
“I work with a playwright Alexey Dudarev with pleasure. We take a hint at once. He often gives a musical idea, which is easy to catch and develop. There are other people of theatre, interesting to me.”
“What is the best period of your life?”
“Each period is the best. It means that the best one is going to come. Luck and happiness always accompanied me in life.”
“If you were told that you couldn’t write music anymore, what would you do?”
“I wouldn’t like to think about it.”

Valentina Zhdanovich
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