Alexander Lazarevich Lokshin


I met Alexander Lazarevich Lokshin several times at the end of '70s, and these encounters left an everlasting impression on me. I visited his house in Moscow together with his friends, where we talked and listened to both his music and the music of Shostakovich. I was literally struck by a feeling of light emanating from this man. I had a similar feeling with a few other people earlier in my life, but this was the strongest of them all. He appeared to me much as a saint, and his qualities were apparent even before hearing a single word from him. During these evenings, I was more and more impressed by the quiet spiritual power and dignity of Alexander Lazarevich, by his unexpected yet immediately persuasive thoughts, all combined with (unusual in Russia) apt attention to others; something that I found was true of the whole Lokshin' family. I've already heard his music before my first visit, and I realized that I was speaking with a genius.  Yet I felt no intimidation at all, so modest and sincere was his attitude. He was truly interested in what I was saying about his music (my favorite at that time was his 9th Symphony on Leonid Martynov's dark and politically challenging verses, a work that ends in an overwhelming catharsis), unlike other artists who were tired of their success. 
     Some time later one of Lokshin's works was to be performed in the Composer's Union in Moscow, and I wanted to share the privilege to attend this rare event with one of my colleagues, a pleasant and intelligent young physicist. To my great astonishment, he answered to me that Lokshin was a kind of a demonic personality, he was related to the KGB and caused great harm, so that noone should listen to his Devil's music. He offered to introduce me to the people who knew details, to open my eyes to the truth regarding the composer Lokshin. I declined this offer for several reasons. First, I was about 25 at that time and I was not quite a mature man. I was afraid to be exposed unprepared to a multitude of "killing" arguments that I would not be able to refute. Second, my relations to Lokshin were not that intimate that I could come to him and ask whether these accusations were true, so that the situation was asymmetric and I could not be a judge. Third and the most importantly, I have seen the man with my own eyes and I've heard his music, and this was enough for me to doubt any arguments against him, from whatever respectable persons. I was immune and I simply did not want to let this junk go through my ears. 
     The more than 20 years that have passed since that time have shown that I was probably lacking civil courage, since A. L. Lokshin needed any support, no matter how small. The initial persecution of the Soviet regime that had expelled him from the Moscow Conservatory thereby depriving generations of students from a source of inspiration, had smoothly transformed into a systematic silencing, slandering, and threatening campaign against him, his music, and musicians who wanted to perform it; instigated this time from influential Soviet cultural circles. Anti-Lokshin campaign greatly intensified after the advent of perestroyka and glasnost in 1985 and it indirectly caused his death in 1987.
     A private investigation conducted by the composer's son Alexander A. Lokshin with the help of composer's friends showed that NKVD/KGB fabricated a defamation case against him by arresting two persons in the late 40th for anti-Soviet talks and presenting Lokshin to them as their denouncer. After their rehabilitation following Stalin's death, both sought a revenge on Lokshin and spread their version of the events. One of them devoted her entire life to the persecution of the composer using her far reaching personal relations within the Soviet cultural elite. Recently she came up for the first time with public accusations of A. L. Lokshin in Russian press and TV, 15 years after his death. This was the last straw that stimulated me to create this web site that will defend composer's name, spread true information on his life, and make his music heard. 
     What is actually Lokshin's music that  was called genial not only by composers Nikolai Myaskovsky, Dmitry Shostakovich, and Boris Tischenko, pianist Maria Yudina, but also by some of his persecutors? His is mainly symphonic music with roots in Brahms and Mahler, belonging to the same group as Shostakovich. Lokshin has developed his own style that is characterized, in particular, by his own "run-stop" rhythms, his own harmonic language, and a specific orchestral sound. Although musicologists classify Lokshin's music as Late Romantic, he did not like this word, considering himself as a kind of "realist" who cares more for the internal logic of the work than for the (romantic) spontaneity of self-expression. He always knew exactly what he wanted to say and he had an absolute sense of the musical form, which is why major compositional events in his works such as climaxes and breakdowns are striking in their sense of inevitability. Actually, Lokshin's music is not pure music, another feature of his style. He found his inspiration in poetry clearly favoring tragic subjects, and most of his works contain vocal parts. Alone the texts he used show him as an uncompromised humanist and a burning protester against the oppression. Lokshin did not follow the principle "Music begins where the words end". Rather, he started with the Logos and built a whole universe around it that is full of nuance and dramatic tension. Once heard, Lokshin's music conquers the listener and makes him/her return to it again and again. This music possesses such a power that it cannot be stopped by any personal or group efforts on a long run. Now it is finding its way into concert halls where it will remain as long as the music life exists. 

Dmitry Garanin, webmaster
20 March 2003, Mainz

More on Lokshin persecutions for Russian readers..