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Igor Markevitch

Igor Markevitch Photo:
1912 - 1983


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Igor Markevitch was a composer and conductor whose highly original works are being rediscovered through a recording series on Marco Polo * Studied piano with Alfred Cortot and composition with Nadia Boulanger * At age of 16 was commissioned by Diaghilev to write a Piano Concerto, premiered at Covent Garden * At centre of Parisian musical life in 1930s * Radical scores include Cantate to texts by Cocteau, the Ramuz collaboration La Taille de l'Homme, and ballet score L'Envol d'Icare featuring quartertones (later revised as Icare) * Music shows kinship with Stravinsky and the Russian constructivist aesthetic * Love of mechanistic musical processes foreshadows minimalism * Rhythmic energy and sense of orchestral colour make works highly suitable for choreography * In the 1940s, with old world swept away by war, he turned away from composition to focus on conducting * Permanent appointments in Stockholm, Paris, Montreal, Madrid, Monte Carlo and Rome * In the last years before his death he turned his baton towards his own works, prompting reappraisal of his output and current revival in recordings and performance

Works by Igor Markevitch include:
Partita (1931) for piano and small orchestra
L'Envol d'Icare / Icare (1932/1943) Ballet for orchestra
Le Paradis Perdu (1934-35) Oratorio for soloists, chorus and orchestra
Lorenzo il Magnifico (1940) for soprano and orchestra
"We musicians play in Time and with Time, but sometimes it is Time that plays with us. One day, unpredictably, the evolution of culture makes real an oeuvre which has lain in obscurity." — Igor Markevitch
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