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Literature Review and Need for Study Chapter Overview Education and Influential Figures Compositional Style and Other Influences Jazz in the Soviet Union Compositional Output Reception of Works Jazz Chord Voicings Sus Chords and Quartal Harmonies The ii-V Progression Tritone Substitutions Boogie-Woogie and Blues Syncopation and Swing Double-note Jazz-Rock Figuration Development and Evolution of the Etude Eight Concert Etudes, op.

Five Etudes in Different Intervals, op. Etude no. Bill Evans: Peace Piece, m. Typical stride piano figuration Common left hand boogie patterns Chopin: Etude in C major, op. Rachmaninoff: Prelude in E-flat minor , op. Moszkowski: Etude no. Chopin: Etude in A minor, op. Chopin: Etude in C minor, op. Chopin: Etude in G-sharp minor, op. Liszt: Transcendental Etude no. Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in D minor, mm.

Ravel: Alborada del Gracioso from Miroirs, mm. Debussy: Etude no 2, Pour les Tierces, mm. Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. Herbie Hancock: Chameleon Etude no 1, op. As with many other composers, Kapustin underwent a standard education as a pianist, studying Clementi, Bach, Mozart, Chopin, and other common-practice composers, and was inspired by this repertoire.

Also in common with most pianists, Kapustin originally saw himself headed for a career in classical music, becoming a virtuoso performer. Nonetheless, he was even more captivated by jazz when he was first exposed to it at age It was not until his early twenties, however, that he saw the importance of jazz and also realized that he much preferred composing to performing. This distinctive blend of two styles gave rise to such works as the Suite in the Old Style, op. Deeply steeped in the sound world of jazz improvisation, the composition was simultaneously modeled on baroque keyboard suites of Bach: each movement is a stylized dance or a pair of dances in strict binary form.

His Twenty-Four Preludes, op. Of course, it is difficult to surpass the definitive contributions to the etude genre from composers such as Chopin, Liszt, and Brahms. The intellectual artistry involved in his etudes does not lie merely in his ability to integrate the definitive elements of classical and jazz musical styles in addition to 2 technical virtuosity, but also in his gift to capture the essence of the two styles and produce witty humor to our ears that brings a smile to our faces.

Literature Review and Need for Study Present scholarly research on Kapustin and his works is not comprehensive and consists of only two dissertations, both of which do not discuss his piano etude output. The primary resource for much of the information about Kapustin and his works are found in these dissertations and a handful of journal articles.

He supports his claims with in-depth analyses of three specific solo piano works: Sonatina, op. In brief, Kapustin remains an understudied composer. Furthermore, most of his works have yet to be published. Therefore, the need for this study, as limited as it may be, is relevant and a pertinent start to shed more light on the composer and make his works more approachable for contemporary pianists and jazz connoisseurs alike. Chapter Overview This document consists of six chapters. After the introductory chapter, the second chapter offers biographical information about the composer and his works as well as background information on the reception and evolution of jazz in the Soviet Union, specifically how the social, cultural, and political atmosphere under which Kapustin composed influenced his musical writing.

Some jazz terminology and mainstream compositional processes will be provided in this third chapter as well to familiarize readers with a brief overview of the jazz vernacular and how Kapustin utilizes these tools in his writing.

He started playing the piano at the age of seven but it was not until , at age 12, that Kapustin began his first piano lessons. Frantsuzova, who was a student of Russian composer and professor, Samuel Maykapar — at the St.

Petersburg Conservatory. Rachmaninov was prohibited; even writers were prohibited, like Dostoyevsky, Yesenin, Akhmatova—all prohibited. Even Shostakovich—he was not [prohibited] but there were articles saying that it was terrible music. So not only jazz: it was typical for every kind of culture. In , after three years of studying with Frantsuzova, Kapustin finally relocated to Moscow and began studies with Avrelian Rubakh, a pupil of Felix Blumenfeld — The year Josef Stalin died, , marked a definitive turning point for Kapustin: he heard jazz for the first time.

I do not remember which jazz artist I heard first. It could be Glenn Miller or Louis Armstrong. I understood that I had to combine the two musics—I had that idea from my youth.

Kapustin went on to study at the Moscow Conservatory and graduated with a diploma in piano performance from the class of studying under famed pianist Alexander Goldenweiser — , who was a pupil of Paul Pabst —97 and Alexander Siloti — , student of Franz Liszt —86 and cousin of Sergei Rachmaninoff — Goldenweiser was also a classmate of Sergei Rachmaninoff and Alexander Scriabin — But as a teacher he gave me nothing, because he was very old—he was already He was a student of Blumenfeld.

Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed November 2, It was difficult to get hold of recordings in the early s, but some Soviet people still had an opportunity to travel abroad and brought back recordings.

At the same time I began transcribing jazz improvisations by leading jazz pianists that I heard on the radio. For four years I studied so hard that I feel I was at the same level [as Rubakh], so these four years were critical for me. It was he who took me to [Alexander] Goldenweiser. Tsfasman was the leading jazzman of the Stalinist era and in the first Russian to make jazz recordings. Both Rubakh and Tsfasman studied with Blumenfeld, and all three men were Ukranian. Kapustin did not meet Alexander Tsfasman until the s.

Tsfasman eventually became an artistic mentor to Kapustin and remained a great influence on his musical philosophies and endeavors. Tsfasman, like Kapustin, fell under the spell of jazz after studying for six years under Blumenfeld at the Moscow Conservatory. Tsfasman became known as the first professional Soviet jazzman, the first popular soloist in Soviet jazz, and the first Soviet to acquire praise from an American jazz musician. Even under the watchful Communist radar, Tsfasman was the first to help fellow musicians hone their craft and interest for jazz by often providing jam sessions at the end of concerts.

Well-versed in the styles of stride masters James P. While at the Moscow Conservatory, Kapustin immersed himself in classical literature and achieved technical brilliance while absorbing a broad view of the capabilities of music. In common with many composers, Kapustin studied Clementi, Bach, Mozart, Chopin, and other common-practice composers, and was inspired by this repertoire.

Still, he grew increasingly aware of the significance of jazz as a compelling from of musical communication. Although he originally intended to pursue a career in classical music as a virtuoso performer, his continuing involvement and experiment in jazz, however, made it more difficult to maintain his classical conservatory regimen.

Concurrent with his awareness of the importance of jazz, he realized that he preferred composing to performing.

The concertino was performed publicly for the first time with the composer as soloist. Kapustin remembers the festival and its outcome: I was 19 years old at the time. Saulsky did not teach me anything; he taught the orchestra to play together and in the right style. Five musicians from the big band, including myself, decided to create a jazz quintet tenor sax, trombone, bass, drums, and piano.

I was the only professional musician among this group, so naturally I was chosen the leader. A performance video of the Toccata, op. Kapustin with Oleg Lundstrem is available at. It was during his years with the Lundstrem band that Kapustin truly solidified his jazz education. Pure orchestral compositions are rare guests in my list of works, but there are many concertos for different instruments and orchestra. As to the orchestration techniques[,] these are either classical or jazz-big-band technique.

I studied this in practice…when I worked as a pianist at different orchestras. I had a possibility to write for them and then to hear the result.


List of compositions by Nikolai Kapustin

Kapustin's piano etudes, in particular, are a considerable contribution to standard etude repertoire that remains understudied. Kapustin's etudes are innovative and noteworthy in that his fusion of classical form with modern idioms of jazz and rock, combined with the technical demands expected of a standard study, have not been previously characteristic of the genre. The lack of thorough research and related literature on his works, combined with the difficulty of obtaining his compositions in the West, make this study relevant and a pertinent start to shed more light on the composer and make his works more approachable for contemporary pianists and jazz connoisseurs alike. The two sets of etudes included in this study are Kapustin's Eight Concert Etudes, op. These two sets of etudes, representative of Kapustin's unique style, will be examined as a novel, and hopefully accessible, addition to the pianist's etude repertoire.


Nikolai Kapustin


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