Mikhail Meyerovich
Alexander Lokshin and His Music

- Why?! Why ever?! Why are you like that?
- Like what?
- Well, you know… Not quite like everyone else…
The question apparently related to the fact that Alexander Lokshin, a student of the Moscow Conservatoire Composition Department, with his talent and knowledge simply did not fit into the bed of Procrustes meant for an average student. It was impossible to reconcile him with the stereotype of man as a cog, which was cultivated in the society (at that time it was done deliberately)…
    It was in 1938. Lokshin was about to be expelled from Komsomol . By a coincidence a session of the Conservatoire Komsomol Committee, and the elections of Komsomol coordinator for our Department in one of the classrooms, were held at the same time. The Committee was waiting for Lokshin to expel him, but he could only leave after the elections were over. A happy thought crossed my mind: what if I named him as a candidate for the Komsomol coordinator's position? Our department was small, but it was "inhabited" by wonderful, talented musicians. To name but a few: Kara Karayev, Jevdet Gajiev, Stepan Terteryan, Andrei Sevastyanov. My proposal received unanimous support. Lokshin indeed won the vote. The expulsion was cancelled…
Shortly afterwards came a new blow - an article in Pravda: "An outrageous event took place in the Moscow Conservatoire. Student Lokshin presented as his degree work a vocal symphony based on the verses by Baudelaire".
    Baudelaire had already been denounced by a certain magazine as a "bourgeois renegade and decadent". At the Conservatoire the article was taken as a guide to action. Lokshin was denied the diploma in spite of the triumphant success of his symphony, performed at the final examination, in spite of the efforts of his professor N.Myaskovsky and other musicians. Deeply shocked by what had happened, Lokshin fell sick. He went to Novosibirsk, where his parents lived, and worked there as accompanist at a club.
    Subsequently, however, Lokshin received the Conservatoire diploma. He was passed with another composition as his degree work.
It was not only abuse and "conspiracy of silence" that Lokshin encountered on his way. He met people of greater calibre, and the first to be named among them is the most talented musical scientist, a man of phenomenal erudition Ivan Sollertinsky. The intellectual power and strong will of this man had a decisive influence on the development of Alexander Lokshin's creative personality. Among the people who instantly believed in Lokshin and subsequently promoted his music also were M.Yudina, A.Jansons, R.Barshai.
    The work of this composer is an exceptionally original occurrence. His compositions win one's heart first and foremost with their harmoniousness and absolute musicality. Everything that has a perfunctory air about it is alien to Lokshin. It is impossible to find any likeness to the traditional harmonic texture in his scores. His orchestra is an organic combination of instruments and their groups, in their inimitable interaction resembling a mysterious, complex biological structure. The musical form, completely devoid of any schematization, is also very original.
    There would be no exaggeration in saying that Lokshin's symphonism is founded upon a new original musical and dramatic principle. He wrote eleven symphonies, and none of them represents the conventional quadruple sequence. Only the Fourth one is a purely instrumental composition. In all other symphonies either soloists - singers, or chorus, and sometimes both chorus and soloists are involved. Orchestra is either big, with its full complement, or chamber; besides, the complement of chamber orchestra chosen for a certain symphony, is never reproduced in the others.
    Lokshin had a very good knowledge of literature, he was very alive to the expressive power of word. Applying the poetry of different countries and epochs to his work, he wanted it to be in coherence with his own deep and disquieting thoughts about life and the fate of people, about man with his unique individuality.
    Word plays a very special role in Lokshin's stylistic method.
    Most often some embryonic musical and verbal intonation is used as the building material for his composition, and the whole piece eventually develops from the variations this intonation goes through.
    Many aspects of his vocal style are predetermined by stylistic features of the texts he used. Sometimes the text is almost recited, another time it requires a melodious cantilena. The following regularity can be observed in Lokshin's musical language: the music performed by human voice possesses inherent vocal qualities. The music that sounds in instrumental timbres is just as adequate to its orchestral nature.
    At present it's hard to evaluate the importance of the legacy of this remarkable composer. What makes the task difficult, is that the outlines of such evaluation will become more visible in relation to the influence Lokshin will exert on both musicians living now, and future generations of them. But this can be a matter of discussion only after his compositions are regularly performed and become a part of our actual musical life. However, for those acquainted with the scores of Lokshin's works, it's already clear, that it is not only the age when he lived and worked that his art, noble and tragic, belongs to.
    His life was troubled. His health was seriously sapped. His life focused on his creative work, to which he devoted himself with persistence, with passion, ignoring the coldness, indifference, sometimes even unconcealed malevolence and slander. Lets do our best to make people know, understand, and love Lokshin's music. The beauty, brilliance, wonderful liberty and sophistication of his work ought to be revealed to all, who appreciate the art of music.