LEONID DESYATNIKOV born in 1955) is one of the most oroginal and widely performed among the Petersburgian composers. He is a graduate of the Leningrad Conservatory and a member of the Composers Union. He has been a freelance composer since 1984.
Desyatnikov has penned four operas, several cantatas, and numerous vocal and instrumental compositions. The composer defines his style as “the emancipation of consonance, the transformation of the banal, minimalism with a human face”; his favorite genre is the “tragically naughty bagatelle”. His principal compositions include Rosenthal's Children (an opera in two acts; Vladimir Sorokin, libretto), Poor Liza (a chamber opera in one act; Leonid Desyatnikov, libretto, after the novella by Nikolai Karamzin; Gift (a cantata based on the verses of Gavrila Derzhavin), A Leaden Echo (a piece for voice and instruments based on the verses of Gerard Manley Hopkins) and The Rite of Winter 1949 (a symphony for choir, soloists and orchestra).
Since 1996 Desyatnikov has worked closely with Gidon Kremer, both as a composer (Wie der Alte Leiermann, the chamber orchestra version of Sketches for “Sunset”, Russian Seasons and as an arranger of compositions by Astor Piazzolla. He has also composed the music for such films as Sunset, Lost in Siberia, Moscow Nights, Hammer and Sickle, Giselle's Mania, His Wife's Diary, The Prisoner of the Mountains and Moscow (Grand Prize, 4th Biennial Film Music Festival, Bonn, 2002).
The Sketches to Sunset are composed on the base of the music to the film “Sunset” by Alexander Zel'dovitch after Isaak Babel's play of the same name.
The music resembles the queer mixture, the ingredients of which are tango and the so-called klezmer music (instrumental music of the Jewish Eastern-European Diaspora). The suite longs twenty minutes. It's intended for five instruments consisting of eaght (nine ones in the symphony version) short episodes. Every episode's title is connected with the film's story.
1. Absalom's Death (Music text example)
2. Death in Venice
3. Jewish Lambada
4. Lot's Daughters
5. Take 5 and 7 (Music text example)
6. Tango e-moll