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 Oscar  Feltsman


Born:   February 18, 1921
Deceased:   February 4, 2013

Soviet and Russian composer, Peoples Actor of Russia

      

Oscar Borisovich Feltsman was born on February 18, 1921 in Odessa, into the family of a doctor.  His father professionally played the piano, and so music became Oscar's hobby since his childhood.  At the age of 5 he started learning to play the grand piano, and revealed a talent for composing music at the age of 6.  His first composition was the piano play Autumn. Further Oscar very quickly grasped music basics and took a serious learning course as a composer and a musician.

In 1939 Feltsman finished Stolyarsky School and went to Moscow, where he entered the Composers’ Faculty of the Moscow Conservatoire. His success in studies was crowned with the Stalin grant. Very successful was his cello sonata for the first time performed in the Conservatoire’s Small Hall, where the grand piano part was performed by the author himself.

After the beginning of the Great Patriotic War Feltsman was evacuated to Novosibirsk, where continued to compose. He wrote music for philharmonic hall, the Leningrad Aleksandrinsky theater, and the Jewish Theater of Belarus. For the Moscow Operetta Theater Feltsman composed the operetta Blue Kerchief, but it was crushed in the Pravda newspaper. But acquaintance with this theater played an important role in creativity of the composer and affected his choice for “the light genre”.

Upon his return to Moscow in 1945 Feltsman continued composing serious works and joined the Union of Composers, but did not put the operetta aside.  The country’s theaters showed his musical comedies, such as Strange Night, Castle in the Air and others, which became full-house performances, and Feltsman gained success and recognition.

Besides operettas the composer wrote music to circus turns and cabaret shows. In the 1950s Oscar Borisovich wrote a few songs; the first of them was Teplohod (Motor ship) sung by Leonid Utesov. The song instantly became an all-Union smash hit. His song Landyshi (Lilies of the Valley) gained great popularity, but in the Soviet press it was claimed ideologically insolvent. Due to the author fell into disgrace for 23 years.

Nevertheless, his songs were always on radio and in concerts, and people adored them.

Deep and various song talent of Oscar Borisovich enabled him to endure injustice.  His creativity became asked-for.  Feltsman cooperated with many poets, among them O.  Fadeeva, A. Voznesensky, R. Gamzatov, E. Dolmatovsky, M. Matusovsky, R. Rozhdestvensky, M. Tanich, and others.  In different years his songs were performed by L.Utesov, M. Magomayev, I. Kobzon, V. Tolkunova, L.Leshchenko, S. Rotara, M. Bernes, V. Troshin, L.Serebrennikov, E.Pyekh and other remarkable singers.

In the 1980s Feltsman organized for his concerts a tool ensemble called Ogni Moskvy (Fires of Moscow) with the soloist Irina Allegrova. After two years of successful performances he handed it over to David Tukhmanov. Feltsman composed music to several Jewish national songs, a number of chamber music pieces, and became the author of several books and the Venus Ilsky ballet written for the Russian Ballet of V. Gordeyev.

Oscar Feltsman is the People’s Artist and the Honored Worker of Arts of Russia, the gentleman of awards of Friendship of the People, Services for Motherland, and a repeated winner of various song festivals. Among the signs in Star Alley in Moscow his “star” was also opened. The composer’s son Vladimir, who became a musician, also was a big creative success.

The popular variety composer spent the last years of his life in Moscow. Oscar Borisovich Feltsman died on February 4, 2013. The composer’s creative heritage remains classics of the Soviet and Russian musical culture.
 


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