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Arapov, Boris (Alexandrovich)

leningrad russian studied spent

Arapov, Boris (Alexandrovich), eminent Russian composer and pedagogue; b. St. Petersburg, Sept. 12, 1905; d. there, Jan. 27, 1992. He was a scion of an intellectual family; his grandfather was a lawyer; his father was a naturalist. He spent his childhood in Poltava, where he received his early musical training. In 1921 the family returned to St. Petersburg (later renamed Petrograd) and he studied composition with Shcherbachev at the Cons, there, graduating in 1930. He was appointed to its faculty as an instructor (1930) and later prof. (1940). Among his pupils were many Soviet composers of stature, including Dmitri Tolstoy, Falik, Uspensky, Banshchikov, Knaifel, and Sergei Slonimsky. The years 1941–44 Arapov spent in Tashkent, in Uzbekistan, where the entire faculty of the Leningrad Cons, was evacuated during the siege of Leningrad. There he studied indigenous folklore, and wrote an Uzbeki opera, Khodja Nasreddin . After the siege was lifted, Arapov returned to Leningrad, resumed his pedagogical duties, and continued to compose. In 1955–56 he was in China, where he wrote several works on Chinese themes. In 1959 he visited Korea, and composed a sym. using the pentatonic Korean modes. Arapov’s compositions represent to perfection the evolutionary character of Soviet music, taking their source in the Russian traditions of the previous centuries, making ample use of ethnic materials of the constituent regions of the immense territory of the U.S.S.R., and integrating the native homophonic melorhythms in an increasingly complex tapestry of colorful fabrics, richly ornamented with occasional application of such modern devices as dodecaphonic melodic structures. However, Arapov was also able to produce a virtuoso display of instrumental techniques for piano and other instruments.

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