A"It is in the boundless devotion to music
that I find the purpose of my life"
The name of Victor Fedotov, an outstanding Russian conductor, one of the most
eminent figures in the Russian culture, is well known among the music-lovers all
over the world. The People's Artist of Russia, Professor Victor Fedotov is a
brilliant representative the St-Petersburg school.
Victor Fedotov was educated at St. Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire,
where he studied under Professor Ilya Musin. He graduated from the Orchestra
Department in 1956 and the Department of Opera and Symphony Conducting in 1963.
As a student, he already served as a conductor at the Conservatoire Opera Studio,
performing The Mermaide by Dargomyzhsky, Eugene Onegin and Queen of Spades by
Tchaikovsky and many others.
Since 1953 Victor Fedotov worked in the Mariinsky Orchestra as a member-artist.
In 1963 he made his debut there as a conductor with Carmen by Bizet. He
performed it by heart, without the scores; since then, maestro Fedotov kept the
tradition of conducting by heart during all his career.
All his artistic life was bound with the Mariinsky Theatre. An excellently
educated musician, possessing phenomenal memory and marvellous capacity for work
he soon becomes one of the leading conductors of the Marrinsky Theatre. In 1964
together with Konstantin Sergeyev he took part in staging of the new version of
Sergei Prokofiev's ballet Cinderella. Later he worked with Natalia Kasatkina,
Vladimir Vasiliev, Oleg Vinog-radov and other prominent ballet-masters.
During his work at the theatre the conductor's repertoire totalled over 60
classical operas and ballets. He performed all ballets by Tchaikovsky and
Prokofiev, ballets by Glasunov, Minkus, Asafiev, Glier, Shosta-kovich,
Khachaturian, Petrov, other composers. His opera repertoire included works by
Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Bizet, Wagner, Verdi, Rimsky-Korsakov, Shebalin,
Since 1964 he started touring abroad. His first tour was with the Mariinsky
Theatre to the USA and Canada. Later on, he toured as a guest conductor and
musical director of new performances in major opera houses of the world. Since
1966, he regularly worked in the Royal Covent Garden Theatre in London. In 1967,
he staged Evgeny Onegin by Tchaikovsky in Germany with the Dresden Staads
Orchestra and famous singers Vladimir Atlantov, Boris Shtokolov and Irina
Bogacheva as soloists.
He performed in the Metropolitan-Opera, Grand Opera, Royal Theatre in Sweden,
New State National Theatre in Tokyo and many others.
Victor Fedotov appeared also as a symphonic conductor. Since 1965 he played with
the world-famous Leningrad Philharmony Orchestra (Evgeny Mravinsky's orchestra),
Royal Orchestra of Covent Garden in London, London Symphony Orchestra, London
Philharmony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Vienna Theatre, Liceo of Barcelona,
Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Japanese NHK, Tokyo Philharmony Orchestra and many others.
Every year he participated in the important music festival Music Spring in
Lenigrad and did a lot to revive an imperial theatre tradition of symphony
nights in Mariinsky. In 1973, a symphony concert commemorating Sergei
Rachmaninov's centenary was held on the initiative of Victor Fedotov and under
He made lots of recordings for CDs, radio and TV in Russia and abroad.
His interpretations were highly appraised by the press. "For the connoisseur of
Tchaikovsky the opportunity to hear how the score of the Sleeping Beauty was
read by Victor Fedotov represents pleasure both extremely rare and really
fascinating", a Daily Telepraph critic wrote. "The Orchestra under Victor
Fedotov with his precise and broad gesture, has transferred with a rare
transparency all the charm of music by Rimsky-Korsakov", the Powery-ecko
newspaper observed in 1974. Sundy Telegraph wrote that "…a great skill of the
conductor Victor Fedotov in possession of the orchestra and his amazing
consolation with the musicians… became a practical lesson, how to conduct…"
Maestro Fedotov prepared and staged quite a number of contemporary performances,
many of them were world premieres. The composers he worked with paid a high
tribute to his professionalism, his enthusiasm in work. Andrei Petrov, a famous
composer, wrote about Victor Fedotov: "I had an opportunity to value many
remarkable qualities of this conductor… he always works very enthusiastically…
besides, he has a gift of "seeing" the music, not only hearing it; even during
the proof rehearsals, it sounds for him very theatrically and expressively".
Andrei Petrov's ballet Creation of the World, one of the most popular Russian
ballets in the end of the century, was staged under the directorship of Maestro
Fedotov in 1971.
Victor Fedotov was a professor of St. Petersburg Conservatoire, gave master
classes in Russia and abroad. Many of his pupils work successfully at musical
theatres and symphony orchestras all over the world.
Victor Fedotov worked for Lenfilm Film Studio. With his participation, music for
dozens of films of various cinema genres was recorded. In 1993 the film director
Oleg Yeryshev made a film dedicated to Victor Fedotov and his children -
talented musicians Polina and Maxim Fedotovs ("I live within Music, it is by
Music that I live" - the Fedotovs").
He was awarded the highest in Russia honorary title for artists: People's Artist
of Russian Federation. Since 1996, he was a member of the Petrovskaya (Peter)
Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1998, he got the Evening Standard award for
outstanding achievements in classical music performing.
Hector Berlioz (1803 - 1869)
- a great French composer and supreme innovator, an outstanding representative
of the French romanticism.
Berlioz had a propensity for colossal monumental forms and grotesque. He
introduced many innovations in harmony, orchestration, music structures, found
the new type of the program symphonic composition. Among his most popular works
are: Symphonie fantastique, Grande symphonie funebre et triomphale, Requiem,
operas Benvenuto Cellini, Les troyens.
The composition which is represented on this CD - Le carnaval romain (1844) - is
the second overture to Benvenuto Cellini.
It stands out as one of the most extrovert and brilliant works by Berlioz.
Charles Gounod (1818-1893)
- French composer, one of the eminent representatives of the French opera style.
He made an important impact upon the musical theatre; many French composers
including Debussy and Ravel were under his influence. The most popular operas by
Gounod are Faust and Romeo et Juliette. In his music, the new genre of the lyric
opera was established.
Paul Dukas (1865 - 1935)
- an eminent French composer, critic, and pedagogue. The best known of the
compositions by Dukas is the symphonic scherzo L'apprenti sorcier (The
Sorcerer's Apprentice), based on Goethe's poem Der Zauberlehrling. The music of
the scherzo is expressive, colourful, dramatic, and full of humour; it's
brilliant orchestration was highly appraised by Rimsky-Korsakov.
Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937),
a great French composer, one of the most eminent figures in the world music
culture of the XX century.
In the beginning, he was under the influence of impressionism, which he had
overcome later. In his music, different tendencies might be found:
neo-classicism, romanticism, impressionism and many others. Among his works -
numerous compositions for piano and chamber ensembles, symphonic works, operas (L'heure
espagnole, L'enfant et les sortileges), several ballets (the most popular is
Daphnis et Chloe; Victor Fedotov was the musical director when it was staged in
Mariinsky for Mikhail Baryshnikov).
Many works show his fascination with historical musical styles, or elements of
folklore; Spanish musical culture was one of the things that inspired him many
times. Apart from the comic opera "L'heure espagnole" he composed "Rhapsodie
espagnole". The most popular example of "musical Spanishness" is Bolero, a
masterpiece that became one of the famous works by Ravel. .