Why is this composer not top of the pops?

Why is this composer not top of the pops?


norman lebrecht

September 11, 2020

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

I often wonder when listening to X’s music why he is not one of the most performed living composers. His music is at once mentally challenging and aurally agreeable, beautifully constructed and unexpectedly affecting. He ought to be in every concert season.

Born in Kiev in 1937 and a major catalyst in the 1960s Moscow avant-garde, he was named ‘one of the greatest composers of our time’ by such distinguished colleagues as Alfred Schnittke and Arvo Pärt. Yet as far as western conductors are concerned he might as well be an Mongolian herdsman for all the attention they pay to his output. He’s 83 and still writing. Listen up now….

Read on here.

In The Critic here.

And here.

In Spanish here.

In Czech here.

In French here.




  • karajanman says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more! You’ve summed up my feelings perfectly about this composer. Any time I’ve heard his music, it has immediately commanded my attention and has left a powerful impression.

  • Cubs Fan says:

    The 5th symphony is also extraordinarily powerful, moving and beautiful. Very modern, yet very accessible. But orchestras can’t have that – not when there are symphonies of Brahms, Beethoven and Mahler that must be played for the umpteenth time.

    • MWnyc says:

      I think there are many orchestras who’d be happy to play Silvestrov if they could sell tickets to concerts of his music.

      Orchestras who depend on ticket sales have to focus on music by composers whom regular ticket-buyers have heard of. The marketing departments say over and over that the bulk of the audience will buy tickets only for composers they’ve heard of.

      • Eric says:

        And that is the problem that orchestra programmers face the world over. It’s their own marketing departments telling them what will and will not sell. And so the museum culture perpetuates… The marketing department should be given the programme and told to sell it. Not the other way round.

  • Humphrey says:

    Thank you Norman for sharing. I have just listened to to his Bagatelles for piano.