Article

The Music of Alexander Nemtin and Stanislav Kreichi for the ANS Synthesizer

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Abstract

The advent of electronic music in Russia came with the appearance of the ANS synthesizer. It was conceived of by scientist Evgeny Murzin in 1938 and manufactured in 1958. Its name comes from the initials of Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin. Music is composed on the instrument by the composer scraping off bits of mastic from glass plate and then processing the latter through an electric construction with light. It is possible to create purely sonoristic compositions, and also to fixate exact pitches in the music. In 1959 the ANS synthesizer was placed in the Scriabin Museum in Moscow. A number of young Russian composers came to the Studio to work with the synthesizer, including Nikolai Nikolsky, Piotr Meshchaninov, Andrei Volkonsky, Alexander Nemtin, Stanislav Kreichi, Oleg Buloshkin, Shandor Kallosh, Alfred Schnittke, Edison Denisov, Sofia Gubaidulina and Eduard Artemyev. The Studio was closed in 1975, and the ANS synthesizer was moved to the Moscow University. In 2005 it was transferred to the Moscow Conservatory, and then to the Glinka Museum of Musical Culture. Alexander Nemtin wrote a number of pieces for the ANS synthesizer, “Tears,” an arrangement of Bach’s Chorale Prelude, “Voice” and the Suite “Forecasts.” Stanislav Kreichi was one of the first composers to write for the ANS synthesizer, and he continues to use the instrument for his compositions up to the present day. His earliest compositions, from the 1960s, are – “Echo of the East,” “Intermezzo” and the music for the film “Cosmos.”. In the 1970s and 1980s he wrote music for theatrical productions. Since the 1990s Kreichi has written a whole set of imaginative electronic compositions, most of which utilize the sonorities of the ANS synthesizer, including “ANSiana,” the Triptych “Ocean,” “The Heads,” “The Birth of the Vertical,” “Yeshua and Pilate,” “The Bad Apartment,” “Immersion,” “Contemplation” and “Confession.” The ANS synthesizer remains an important artifact of 20th century Russian music, and a continued source of inspiration for younger composers. Keywords: ANS synthesizer, electronic music, Russian composers, Alexander Nemtin, Stanislav Kreichi

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Article
The author describes the history and design of the ANS synthesizer and discusses his work composing music with the help of this photoelectronic instrument.
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