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19 Feb 2017

What Matters Most in Music and Life According to Vladimir Malganov

Almost 7 years ago, Vladimir Malganov joined the musicians’ community of MusicaNeo and has been its active member ever since. Today we would like to tell you more about this talented musician and a very sincere and kind person. We asked Vladimir a couple of questions and are sharing his creative vision with you.

Vladimir Malganov

Vladimir Malganov – composer, arranger, guitar player, teacher. Major instrument – guitar. Born in Russia, lives and works in Belarus since 1990.

Vladimir, tell us where your creative journey started?

«It all began with learning to read sheet music which I did on my own at the age of 10, with the help of various guidebooks on guitar. The new world and language that were discovered back then are still bewildering me and inspiring for creating. The very first simplistic composition that I notated became the most notable milestone and a turning point. Unparalleled happiness»

The boldest move in the life of Vladimir was the change of profession: he switched from engineering to music. He says that it rather was a ‘providence, destiny and vocation altogether’. At an already ripe age he went for a university degree and graduated from Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts becoming a ‘teacher of classical guitar and bandleader’ by major (2012).

In what styles, genres and for what instruments are you composing? Who influenced your creative work?

«In my music works, I am trying to use as many various styles and genres as possible. There are compositions for various combinations of instruments, but the guitar is always an essential part.

As for the influences, those are hundreds, perhaps thousands of names both from the epochs of Renaissance and Baroque and from contemporary time. But first of all, it is Johann Sebastian Bach – an ultimate lighthouse for musicians of all styles and genres. At least this is what I believe. I’m in love with classical music and jazz»

Vladimir admits that in his music the Good always wins over the Evil without his being aware of it. He cites Love in all aspects of human life among the essential sources of inspiration, while his main creative principle is honesty. “If you are sly, who’s gonna believe you? It can relate to many things in life, and to art – especially”, says Vladimir.

Who do you consider to be your target audience, what kind of a listener? And what should the performer of your music take into account?

«I address people of all ages and various levels of musical expertise, both in concerts and, indirectly, via my compositions. Being a performer and author simultaneously, I possess the happiness of being able to do it. As a non-indifferent person myself, I would like to address involved and caring people as well, people with an open heart. As for the performer of my music, I would like him/her to be a musically-educated and intelligent person»

Vladimir is not vain, he is not purposefully looking for performers of his music, but he is trying to be visible and active in his sphere. His music mostly sounds in his native country but to the author’s joy, the geography keeps expanding from year to year, including through such resources as MusicaNeo.

The musical activity of Vladimir Malganov is closely connected with both writing music and performing in concerts. Recently he has been most actively performing in a duet with his friend, a laureate of numerous international competitions – Daryan Shakhab. The duet is solely performing the pieces composed by Vladimir: “It is rare luck for a composer-performer. We are trying to perform regularly in solo and mixed concerts. We’ve already recorded the album “Своя игра” (‘Own Play’) and are working on the second album. The new season is ahead and it promises to be very intense. But those are plans that should not be a goal in itself. God willing”.

"Summer Breeze". Duet "Own Play" (V. Malganov, D. Shakhab)

What’s a sign of quality for you, in a work of art/ music composition?

«Absolute completeness. To the extent that no one would want to add or remove anything. A very strong emotional component can also serve as a sign of perfection. Plagiarism and ‘creative diarrhea’ is what I consider to be totally unacceptable. In art, technical falsity is not advisable but sometimes explainable. But there’s nothing like that in life. One just can’t live falsely»

During his academic activity, Vladimir Malganov has taught thousands of young musicians to play guitar professionally. Some of them later became laureates at music competitions on republican and international levels; others went on to become educators and professional guitar players. As pedagogue, Vladimir thinks that the connection between generations must not be lost for a single moment and that one should daily pass the baton of knowledge and skill to the young generation: “Spirituality in broad sense should unite generations and peoples. Otherwise, we will not survive. That’s what I believe.” Thus, he names his wonderful family as his lifetime achievement and calls the rest just ‘a bonus for labor, love and patience’.

Share your recipe of success, if you have one.


What would you advise to yourself of 10 years ago?

«Going forward no matter what. Unhurriedly but steadily»

Share the happiest moment of your life.

«Not every human is lucky to taste the happiness in full. My happiness is perhaps yet to come»

What would you like to achieve within the next 10 years?

«I would like to live. Let God not deprive me of inspiration. And ‘plans’ is a category embracing a part of the future that’s unknown to everyone. I prefer living in the present and a little bit in the past»

Despite his self-restraint and circumspection in evaluations, Vladimir considers himself to be a big optimist. He is convinced that any art should bring positive energy, or rather ‘bring to a common positive denominator’, because real life is full of frustration anyway. And we can’t but agree with him.

Today, Vladimir’s personal website at MusicaNeo counts over 140 music scores. Among them – compositions for the youngest performers, sheet music for guitar duet, quartet, ensemble, solo pieces. Here one can also download music arrangements of popular compositions, various exercises and educational materials. The majority of the scores are available for free.

For our part, we would like to thank Vladimir for the longstanding cooperation and wish him inexhaustible inspiration, enthusiasm and creative success!

12 Dec 2016

Bob Dylan: the Elusive Genius

For the first time in the history, the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to a musician, which took the world by surprise, including the musician himself. In 2016, Bob Dylan is named the holder of the Nobel “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. For two weeks, the press heard nothing but complete silence from Mr. Dylan who, as it became known later, said he would not be present at the ceremony either.

Bob Dylan, always known for his unshakeable views on the subjects of politics, social life and so on, has been one of the brightest figures in the world of music for 5 dozen years already. Today we are gathering a few memorable facts from Bob Dylan’s music, life and career to refresh knowledge/find out more on the man whose contribution has been recognized and rewarded by the Nobel Committee.

Below is a short compilation of the most interesting facts about this outstanding man of music art – the elusive figure of Robert Allen Zimmerman (Bob Dylan’s real name):

  1. Dylan was often referred to as the mouthpiece of his generation, his songs becoming anthems of the time. His early compositions “The Times They Are a-Changin” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” were an important part of the anti-war movement in America, while “Masters of War” remained the most influential protest song for a long time.

    Dylan, however, does not like to be called the voice of the generation, preferring to keep a rather obfuscated identity.

  2. Another powerful song by Bob Dylan, “Like a Rolling Stone”, written in 1965, has come through a lot of editing to date: the original lyrics used to take up to 20 pages.
  3. In school/college times, Dylan used to be much of a rebel. In the 10th grade, he and his band were rejected from a talent show because their performance was considered ‘too shocking’ by the council. He would often scam his friends out of clothes and cigarettes. And finally, he did not come to the graduation party.
  4. Before becoming Bob Dylan, Robert Zimmerman went by the stage name Elston Gunn for some time. He also made music under a couple of other pseudonyms: Bob Landy, Blind Boy Grunt, Robert Milkwood Thomas.
  5. The 20-year-old Bob (which is minor age in the U.S.) got a contract with Columbia Records without his parents’ legally compulsory signature by convincing John H. Hammond he was an orphan. By the way, Hammond was the man who, despite his bosses’ opinions, also signed Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen and Billie Holiday.
  6. Among his biggest lifetime influences, Dylan named Charlie Chaplin. James Dean and Elvis Presley are no doubt on that list too. As for personal inspiration sources, musician’s girlfriend Suze Rotolo served as one for many years: the songs "Ballad in Plain D”, "One Too Many Mornings", "Tomorrow Is a Long Time” are among the compositions that were born thanks to her. She is also on the cover of Dylan’s famous The Freewheelin’ album.
  7. The current Pope, Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict), for some reason strongly disapproved of Dylan’s music and even tried to stop his performance in 1997 when Dylan played for John Paul II. The then-cardinal Ratzinger named the musician ‘the wrong kind of prophet’. What was Dylan playing? "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and "Forever Young".

  8. Dylan tried himself in other spheres of art too. He is actually a very prolific painter (6 books of drawings/paintings), participated in various art exhibitions and wrote the experimental novel “Tarantula” (1971)
  9. A popular bumper sticker reading “World’s Greatest Grandpa” is proudly placed on Dylan’s car: the songwriter has 9 grandchildren.
  10. Dylan became the 1st rock artist to receive a Pulitzer Prize (2008). He was introduced to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Bruce Springsteen in 1988.

Bob Dylan is a unique, versatile and prolific artist. He never stops playing music, performing in over a 100 concerts annually, which is a part of his so-called “Never-Ending Tour” that he embarked on back in the 1980ies (by the way, he learnt about the unexpected Nobel Prize while on tour too). Having already explored most of American Song traditions from folk, country and blues to gospel and rock’n’roll, he keeps embracing music. And we wish him to have an even longer journey.

30 Sep 2016

Italian Spider Song: Notable Tarantellas

Apart from being the motherland of some of the world’s most famous opera composers like Rossini, Verdi and Puccini, Italy holds another title in the list of musical phenomena birthplaces. Today’s traditional Italian weddings and national celebrations rarely come without the favourite accompaniment of this passionate people – tarantella. Traditionally an iconic dance/song, it also overflew into the instrumental music of many composers of the Romantic period.

Tarantella, often called ‘the song of Italy’, varies by region. So the Neapolitan, Calabrian and Sorrentine examples may differ in style, but what they all have in common is the fast tempo, rhythmic and lively.

Like with many historical phenomena the real roots of which are already hard to verify, the term ‘tarantella’ has a number of versions regarding its origin and purpose. The most ingenious and picturesque theory blames the wolf spider ‘tarantula’ (not same as the contemporary species) that inhabited the area near the Italian town of Taranto. According to the legend, the bite of that little creature was very poisonous and people believed that frenzied dancing in a special rhythm would rid the body of the dangerous venom that should go away with the sweat. There are even ‘testimonials’ that Middle Ages fiddlers would walk the surroundings in search of people who had been bitten by tarantulas and offer them their service of playing the cure-song and fighting off the death.

According to other sources, the popularity of the tarantella mass dance, with all of its hectic moves, could have been partly explained by the special ‘herbs’ in combination with the rhythmic music that drove people insane and that eventually raised the authorities’ concern and the subsequent ban of the practice. Some say that the spider version was invented afterwards in order to get this ritual back out of the underground.

There’s a more ‘medical’ version too. Simple: tarantella was used to cure depressions, you dance – you regain the joy of life as people watch you self-express in a rhythmic dance show. Later on, the dance itself was often performed as a courtship dance, though it could be seen danced both by couples and solo females.

No matter what the initial purpose of the dance was, what we have today is a beautiful national tradition and a number of amazing classical music works that were born inspired by it. Let’s have a look at some of them.

The ancient tarantella dancers would usually move to the beats of mandolin, accordion, guitar, and, most importantly, tambourine that helped to create the most perfect rhythmic pattern. With the flow of time, composers would add more instruments (piano, violin, flute, clarinet) and experiment with style, some making the sound more frenetic and daunting (Schubert's “Death and the Maiden Quartet” and Mendelssohn’s “Tarantella” from his Symphony No.4), while others preferred sticking to the traditional sound and the rhythm of 6/8 (Rossini’s Neapolitan “La Danza”). Below are some of the most notable tarantellas (the sheet music to all of the compositions is available in our catalogue).

Giacomo Rossini, “La Danza”. One of the most ‘classical’ works of the kind.

Louis Moreau Gottschalk, “Grande Tarantelle”. The piece was transcribed for various combinations including, piano solo, piano and violin, two pianos, two violins and piano, piano and orchestra.

Frédéric Chopin, “Tarantelle in A-flat, Op. 43”. Inspired by and similar to Rossini’s “La Danza”.

Franz Liszt, "Tarantella, Venezia e Napoli". No. 3 from the set of 3 suites for piano “Années de pèlerinage” (Year 2: Italy).

Camille Saint-Saëns, wrote a separate “Tarantella, Op. 6 in A minor” (flute, clarinet and orchestra/piano) and also used this form in the 2nd movement of his “Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor”.

Some of the most popular guitar tarantellas were composed by Santiago de Murcia and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, while for violin – by Pablo de Sarasate (“Introduction and Tarantella”) and Karol Szymanowski (“Nocturne and Tarantella”).

The list of classical compositions, be it a separate music work or a tarantella embodied in a symphony, is a long one. Above are just a few examples of this well-recognized Italian folk feature. The references to tarantella are also to be met in other forms of art like literature (“A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen) and cinema (“The Godfather”).

At MusicaNeo, you can also get acquainted with the modern vision of the famous Italian dance song: this type of music is popular among contemporary composers who write tarantellas of their own.

25 Mar 2016

Eugen Doga: "Inspiration does not come out of nowhere"

The creative work of Eugen Doga can truly be called “people’s”. Many know him by the music from such motion pictures as “Offered for Singles”, “Bless the Woman”, “Gypsies Are Found Near Heaven”, “Vertical Races”, and, of course, by the famous waltz from the film “My Sweet and Tender Beast” named by UNESCO one of the four musical masterpieces of the 20th century. His music sounds everywhere, literally.

Eugen Doga

Eugen Doga, composer, academician, public figure, pedagogue, People’s Artist of USSR and Moldova

On the first day of spring 2016, Eugen Doga turned 79. By this time, a long and fruitful way has been walked, hundreds of instrumental compositions written, film music (over 200 films), music for choir, stage and radio plays composed. The ballets “Luceafarul” (that brought its author a USSR State Prize), “Venancio”, “Queen Margot” and the opera “Dialogues of Love” are very popular up to date. Children always recognized Doga’s melodies from the films “Maria, Mirabella” and “What Senka Said”. It is Doga’s music that sounds at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1980 Olympic Games.

Eugen Doga is a well-known academician (of eight academies), People’s Artist of USSR and Moldova, Honored Man of Art of Moldova, the holder of numerous honorable prizes, titles and awards. Among them, the orders “For Merit to the Fatherland, IV degree”, “The Star of Romania”, “Patron of the Century”, the golden medal “Man-2000”, the medals of M. Eminescu and V. Rozov. And this is only a small part of the long list of the composer’s rewards.

We asked Eugen a few questions about his creative life and can’t wait to share with you what the famous composer told us.

When did you realize that music was something more than just a hobby for you?

“I don’t quite understand when some people show that they know everything about themselves, people who fix everything, provide arguments, adjust things to the calendar pages from the past. I do not, perhaps with regret, attribute myself to such a category. I remember that instinctively I wanted to create something when I was just a little boy. However, what I came up with had already been created before me. When I listened to the local wind orchestra, I wanted to think up something, a musical tale they would play, and people would dance to that music and praise me. I even invented my own recording system for those “musical tales”. And only not so long ago I found out that a similar ‘tale’ with sheet music exists in computer programs. And that’s after more than 60 years since that time, when the word ‘computer’ did not exist yet! Today I cannot imagine myself without thinking up those ‘musical tales’, without composing music. Probably some crater opened up in me at a certain moment and pours out the energy that has to be released into the world. In the form of music.”

Where do you seek inspiration for composing? Who influenced your music style?

“Inspiration does not come out of nothing. It has to be helloed, it has to be desired. That inspiration is not likely to come with a beautiful lady. It has to be sought within oneself. If one, of course, has been gifted by nature with this unique inner source of inspiration that is called the talent. As for my style, the one I envisioned at the beginning when I had just started composing was based on my desire to write simple and beautiful music. I liked Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, then began listening to the modern Neo-Romantics of Italy, France and England. At a certain point I was keen on serialism but soon plumped for the Romantic style with engaging my genetic roots that I was often reproached for but that shouldn’t be feared.”

What’s the ‘dark side’ of composing for you? Have you encountered any serious obstacles on your creative way?

“And who would like to share his/her space, especially with some young unknown musician? And especially in a small country town that doesn’t have much of that space in general? My compositions were never performed at the composers’ festivals and plenums. I wasn’t invited to the trips abroad. And only thanks to the cinema, mostly to the “Mosfilm” studio and other USSR studios, I got heard and noticed. And thanks to the listeners on the radio station “Mayak”, central TV, at my numerous concerts and creative sessions. I know that no matter how dark is the night, it will be swallowed by the Sun anyway. So I’m trying to follow the Sun and ignore the shadow that’s daddling behind me. Even if it’s my own shadow.”

Many compositions by Eugen Doga have already been living a life of their own. Thus, the song from which, in fact, his career of a composer-songwriter started – “My White City” – first became the symbol of Chisinau, and in 1998 was declared the official anthem of the Moldavian capital. Two waltzes composed by Doga – “Gramophone” and “My Sweet and Tender Beast”got into the Top 200 best classical compositions of all time.

The Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu occupies a special place in the heart and creative work of Eugen Doga. It is upon his poem that Doga’s famous ballet “Luceafarul” was created. All in all, over 40 romances were written based on the poems by Mihai Eminescu and his beloved woman, Romanian poetess Veronica Micle. The couple also inspired composer for creating the concert opera “Dialogues of Love”.

Do you have any favorites among your own compositions? Maybe some of the works are especially important to you? Why?

“I don’t contemplate my compositions for a long time. Mostly only after writing the music score. That’s when I carefully look at the notes, the way they are placed on the pages of the music paper, the way they are grouped, just like soldiers on the battlefield. Believe it or not, I like everything that I write. I simply don’t write what I don’t like. What I especially hold dear is the large-scale works that have real drama in them, powerful human passions, a bigger opportunity to set forth all you are capable of, a deep philosophic idea. Those are the ballets “Luceafarul”, “Venancio”, some arias and cantatas upon the poems by Mihai Eminescu and Veronica Micle, such as “Nu plânge” (‘Don’t Cry’) and “Am urât această lume” (‘I Hate This World’).”

What are your plans for the future as composer?

“Writing music for the big and, it seems, endless music work “Dialogues of Love” which is based on the poems by Romanian poets Mihai Eminescu and Veronica Micle. It will presumably become a theatrical musical performance, or an opera, or a musical, or something else, I am not sure, as my heroes do not quite fit into the traditional forms invented years ago. I will look for something different for them. I will also continue the concert work and will extend its geography.”

It seems that Eugen does not stop his creative search for a single minute, and we wish him to go on this way. We are happy that the sheet music to the diverse music works by Eugen Doga adorns our catalogue. We invite all admirers of his music to visit the composer’s personal site at MusicaNeo. Here you can follow the recent events in the author’s life, his concert activities and, of course, download the sheet music to the favorite works.

MusicaNeo is grateful to Eugen Doga for taking time to answer our questions and wishes him new creative altitudes and discoveries!