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Sergey Berinsky (1946-1998); RUS

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Sergey Berinsky

Sergey Samuilovich Berinsky was born in 1946 in the small Moldavian town of Novye Kaushany, into a family where music - Jewish, Romanian, Moldavian, Ukranian - was always central. He studied violin in the town of Donetsk, Ukraine, where he graduated with his college degree in violin studies. In 1970, Berinsky entered the Gnessin State Music Pedagogical Institute, studying in the composition class of A.G.Tchugaev, who exerted a deep influence on the young man - musically and personally.

Upon graduation, Berinsky remained in Moscow, becoming active in the contemporary music scene. From the start, he sought to promote experimentation and what he deemed "non-formal" projects, not only in his own works but likewise those of fellow composers. This led him to establish a seminar for young composer in the "Ivanovo" House in Moscow, and to edit a column dedicated to new music - featuring interviews with composers - in the journal, Music Academy. Indeed, while many of his colleagues chose to depart Russia for the more prosperous West, following the era of "perestroika," Berinsky chose to remain, to help promote a more creative atmosphere within the country.

Berinsky's works embrace a diverse synthesis of musical languages, following the post avant-garde experiments of his elder contemporaries, Alfred Schnittke and Sofia Gubaidulina. This diversity is seen both in Berinsky's choice of poetic texts - from the philosophical lyrics of R.M.Rilke (in "Symphony-Cantata, To Orfeo"), to the erotic oriental poetry of Makhtumkuli (in "Songs of Langour"), to the Russian post-modernism of D.Prigov (in "Tears of an Heraldic Soul"); and in his use of eclectic musical styles - including elements of post-Romantic, quasi-Baroque, jazz, and even synagogue music. His love of past styles occasionally led Berinsky to feel "out of synch" with his time, and yet he also embraced the challenge of destroying, and then re-creating musical beauty for a modern audience. In his work is a frequent reference to past tragedies, both personal and social; also common is reference to his Jewish identity, in works like "David's Psalms" for four cellos.

Other works of Berinsky include five symphonies (the last left unfinished), several concertos, and numerous chamber and choral works, as well as music for film (including "Ladies' Tailor") and theater. His works were performed by top Russian artists, such as violinist I.Bochkova, cellists N.Shakhovskaya and V.Tonkha, and singers L.Mkrtchyan and I.Kuindzhi. Berinsky likewise worked closely with accordionist F.Lips, in works that use the instrument beyond its normal role as a folk instrument, exacting from it new colors and emotions. In all these works, despite their diversity of style and instrumentation, there is always the sound of the composer's voice - a voice where human emotion and the human experience are always paramount. We are grateful to his widow, Ella Berinsky, for providing these recordings to us at the Classical Archives. We are honored to feature here the rich and evocative music of Sergey Berinsky.

Sergey Berinsky

Sergey Sergey Samuilovich Berinsky was born in 1946 in the small Moldavian town of Novye Kaushany, into a family where music... More
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Below are works by S.Berinsky that every music lover should explore:
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