jorge a. bosso

musician, composer, cellist



for baritone, solo violin, solo cello, Russian folk group, string orchestra, percussions, mixed choir and children choir

First performance: December 26th 2008, Opera and Ballet Theatre, Krasnoyarsk, Russia

Commissioned by the Municipality of Krasnoyarsk
Recorded on CD and DVD on the first performance

Viktor Chernomortsev, bass baritone
Dora Schwarzberg, violin
Jorge A. Bosso, cello
Children choir «Камертон»
Anna Gruzinskaya, choirmaster
Soloist choir ensemble «Тебе поемъ»
Honored Artist of Russia, Professor Konstantin A. Jakobson
Choir of the Krasnoyarsk State Academy of Music and Theatre
Lyudmila Kraevaya, choirmaster
Choir of the Krasnoyarsk School of Arts
Т. Khodosh and О. Zharkova, choirmasters
Choir students of the Krasnoyarsk Pedagogical College № 1 Gorky
Lyudmila Stebenkova, choirmaster
Chamber String Orchestra of Krasnoyarsk
Russian folk group «Русколань»
Percussion ensemble «Тимбалес»

Project Manager

Honored Artist of Russia, Professor Konstantin A. Jakobson
Alexander Skulsky, conductor

Duration: 70’

Krasnoyarsk, Russia

Every time I decide to work on a new composition, it takes me quite a long time until I begin to translate into sounds the experience I went through. A poetry, a tale, a painting. It does not matter. It is difficult to transform a creation from one field into another. And it is not even about  rendering into music a poem, a story or a canvas. The consequence should be the result of  an assimilation, an absorption and finally a proposal of a point of view, an statement.
The vice Major of Krasnoyarsk, Mr. Vassily Vassilievic Kuimov, proposed me, on March 2007, to write a work to celebrate the plastic artist  Vassily Surikov.
The assignment was huge. As deep the devotion of Surikov to his art.
Already in Europe it was difficult to find material to read, to study, to investigate. I was wandering in Milan, the city where Ilive, through art shops, galleries and it was not possible to get material about him. As enormous his art  was, the information about him in Europe quite scarce it is. I spent hours looking at the photographs of his paintings, trying to remember, trying to bring back the feelings and sensations I experienced at the Museum of Krasnoyarsk and at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. That was, at the very first moment of my work, the only connection with Surikov. 
Finally, from Krasnoyarsk, thanks to  Mr. Alexander Petrovic Shendrik, Lara and Mikhail Benioumov arrived a precious help: an interview that Surikov himself gave to Maximilian Voloshin on 1913, three years before his death.
We began to read ,together with Dora Schwarzberg, all that invaluable material. We read it fast. We were thirsty, we were hungry: we were anxious to know more about Surikov the artist, Surikov the man. She translated to me the whole interview, it was in Russian. Surikov himself was speaking to us through time and space.
Through the word the man began to interlace that infinite web of ideas, visions that almost by a miracle it can connect us nowadays with another human being, with an entire culture that lived thousands years ago in any remote point of the world. The word as an instrument of union. 

In the book of Joel, we can read:   

“Hear this, you aged men,
give ear, all inhabitants of the land!
Has such a thing happened in your days,
or in the days of your fathers?
Tell your children of it,
and let your children tell their children,
and their children another generation.”

Surikov, through his Art, builds constantly back a bridge from our time and the time of our fathers towards turning points of the Russian history.

“ …By building bridges towards the  future
We  have to take care not to burn
the bridges that connect today’s culture
to its immortal past…”

These are words of Dmitry Shostakowitsch. It is, doubtlessly an expression that carries in itself a deep truth. And every authentic artist finds himself in an intersectional point between an acquired heritage, his present and a future that he elaborates through an unique and personal path.
I speak oabout Surikov as if he were alive, because he is in fact between us in the present day. Through his paintings he set us in motion to the future. Every artistic creation, in a very close relation with its time, brings out a patrimony that goes beyond its own nature. The richer it is the legacy an artist leave us, the more powerful it is the impulse we receive to move forward.
Afterwards, another writings arrived from the library of the University of Saint Petersburg: Memories of Natalia Konchalovskaya and Letters of Surikov.
We went through the whole material, every page was significant, each phrase was important. The result of our readings was the decision of using mainly, concepts that Surikov himself expressed. Mostly from the interview he gave to Maximilian Voloshin. This is the way the second, fourth and fifth movements have been conceived : Краснояры сердцем яры (Krasnoyarsk Ardent Heart), По боярыне Морозовой (Après Boyarina Morozova)  and Je Suis Surikov Kazakh Russe.
Airports, hotels, bars, parks. Every place was good to work on the text, each moment suitable. We lived through Surikov, we breathed through his words, his thoughts, his ideals. The more we knew him, the more we realized we shared his principles, his moral. 
These are the words Leònov pronounced at his funeral:

“ To that one who in art,
Honest and free
Ascend the suffering on the high,
We are seized with a proud feeling.
We are sons of our dear land,
To that one who is dear to us with his art,
We bow down the earth…”

 ( V movement )

“ ...Greek, Hebrew, English, Italian, Latin, German, Spanish: Finally Russian ”

Dora Schwarzberg sent on November 2007, from Cyprus where we were playing concerts, a letter to the Vice Major of Krasnoyarsk, Mr. Vassily Vassilievic Kuimov: “ ...Greek, Hebrew, English, Italian, Latin, German, Spanish: Finally Russian ”. These are the languages we have been dealing with when we worked on the text for the whole piece of music. The impulse Surikov offered was such that the stimulus became enormous. The entire work is a fusion, a blend of poetry, sacred texts from different religions, thoughts, beliefs, philosophy and altogether an statement of an attitude towards life, a position towards Art.
Mikhail Lermontov, the Ecclesiastes, the Agnus Dei and Communio from the Messa pro Defunctis, Plato and finally Surikov himself. Different sources, as diverse were the subjects we were treating.

The whole work is divided in five parts.

  • Казацкая колыбель - Cossack Lullaby
  • Краснояры сердцем яры - Krasnoyarsk Ardent Heart
  • По Стрельцам - Après Streltsy
  • По боярыне Морозовой - Часть первая / Часть вторая
    Après Boyarina Morozova- Parte Prima/ Parte Seconda
  • Je Suis Surikov Kazakh Russe

“ In Siberia, people different than in Russia,
free, brave and what kind of land we have.
Yenisei is flowing 5000 verstais long,
in front of Krasnoyarsk the width is one versta.
The banks are loamy, pink reddish…
Krasnoyarsk Ardent Heart!“

( II movement )

As Vasily Ivanovich Surikov was born in Krasnoyarsk into a family of Siberian Cossacks, whose ancestors came to conquer Siberia with Yermak in the 16th century, the choice of the poetry by Mikhail Lermontov for the first movement was very natural. On the other hand, I must confess that in a very beginning I did not consider to name the whole work as I did. “ Je suis Surikov Kazakh Russe ” is the phrase he expressed when he introduced himself into the society of artists in Paris.
I was wondering all the time how to name it, at last Dora was the one who proposed the final name. Not once, but many times, as she did not see me very convinced about it. Until one morning I woke up with the certainty that this was the only name we could give to our work.
Then, the problem of putting it into a frame appeared: it is not a cantata, neither an oratorio nor a symphony. Once more Dora suggested it: Images. In this way it became a huge metaphor of Surikov’s world. The metaphor intended as the employ of a proper term of something  to describe something else. Music is a language that transport us to places and spaces that hardly we could describe if not with phrases or concepts more or less known that would express what for its nature itself is ineffable.
“ Music is, since few centuries, the art that does not use its possibilities to imitate the natural phenomenon, but to express the psychic life of an artist and to create the life of  sounds…Music does not need to borrow external forms for its language”.
Kandinsky expressed this concept when Surikov was still alive, in the beginning of the 20th century. Although we could agree with Kandinsky, in this particular case the music and its concept were born from the labour, thoughts and words of Surikov. It will acquire life and it will go beyond his Art, because the nature of Art itself  is to build infinite bridges that connect us, in the present day, with our everlasting History.

“ The gold is buzzing,
Velvet and ornaments of chals,
Mosaics,  all  stones
Burn with their own colour,
And together
A polyphonic  colourful  orchestration”.

 ( V movement )

For Surikov the primary element was the colour, for us the sound. The sound in its deepest and essential appearance. The birth and the metamorphosis of the sound into silence.
The sound was created before the word, before the possibility of communicating through the word among the human beings. The birds appeared before Adam and Eva.
“ And God said: …that the birds can fly over the earth and throughout the skies.” ( Genesis, I, 20)
The arrogance of the man in his aim of climbing  towards the divinity was punished through the spoken language. The Babel tower was condemned by God  because the human kind tried to rebuild, against his will, that axis between heaven and earth, broken by the original sin. God not to let accomplish their purpose gave birth to the different languages. And on the other hand, He did not take away from the man the possibility of communicating through the music.
Because the intrinsic nature of the music, its essence in itself does not belong to us.
 The representation of any entity to which we could arrive through the musical language belong to a superior state of existence.

“ Oblivion as the definitive adoption of the knowledge “
Dora and I have worked already together to create the lyrics for another composition of mine called Bridges . It has been premiered at the Sakharov International Art Festival, in Nizhniy Novgorod, on the 3rd of June 2006, conducted by M° Alexander Skulsky. It is based on the Preludes and Fugues op. 87 for solo piano by Dmitry Shostakowitsch. It is written for female choir and a big ensemble. We used words from diverse poets that cover a wide range of the Russian literature: Lomonosov, Derzhavin, Krilov, Pushkin, Soloviev, Blok, Akhmatova, Tiutchev, Khleknikov, Yazukov, and words of Shostakowitsch himself.

JE SUIS SURIKOV KASZAKH RUSSE required a completely different approach. We realized that we wanted Surikov to speak himself. However, we could not avoid reading the message his paintings were offering us through our perspective. That was the case of the third movement “ Après Streltsy “ .

“ Everything what sounds
on the soul of an artist like a scream
in an artistic creation
must be expressed with silence “

 ( V movement )

The compromise of translating into sounds the blessed word, through the history of the music was always, and for every composer and artist a task that had as an initial point, or a limit situation or a relationship of cause-effect for what it could have not been possible to conceive any other way of expression different from that one that was chosen. A mass, for its own definition, goes beyond the concept that a concert implies. It is a pray. It is a gathering of the human being in loneliness with the Divine, with the Sublime in a research to reach a superior state of existence from the individual, through the collective, that it is in itself the last aim of every artistic creation.
“...An original man is, in the majority  of the cases, an isolated exception...” , wrote Dostoyevsky on 1879, two years before his death. Surikov was thirty years old. The writer from Saint Petersburg expressed in this way to his public the perplexity he experienced about what could be exceptional concerning Aleksey Feodorovic Karamazov. “...Why should I waste my time taking care about his life? ”, he wondered.
The crowd formed by the sum of infinite individuals. We can observe carefully each single character of his paintings and we could create and imagine his life, his background, his psychology. Many of their faces have been taken were from the real life, as it was for the features of Boyarina Morozova: it happened to be a portrait of a woman he saw in a cemetery, as we can read in the Memories of Natalia Konchaloskaya.
Many, and precious, are the details we could be acquainted with through our readings, although it would go beyond  the length of our preface to enumerate all of them. Nevertheless, I want to clear up, for example, why the children choir appears singing such a surrealistic song in the middle of the third chapter of the Ecclesiastes which I used in the first part of “ Après Boyarina Morozova ”.
He tells  Voloshin about a monk ,Varsopophij. Surikov was very young, not even ten years old. He remembers the words of a song about him and he painted him on the canvas he did on 1887. It is a mystery who he is. We could not individuate him, although Surikov provides an small description.

“ Time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep , and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
What gain has the worker from his toil? “

 ( Ecclesiastes, 3/2-9)

“ The word of Kohelet, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity “

(Ecclesiastes, 1/1-2)

“ That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away “ .

(Ecclesiastes, 3/15)

“ A book  must be like an axe to break the iced sea that is inside us ”, expressed Kafka. This is what the truth of  the Ecclesiastes signifies to me. I am not the same after having read these lines. Few lines. Approximately one percent of the whole Bible.


The third chapter, although almost in the beginning of the whole book, is almost the central thought of Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, the Preacher. Tolerance. Acceptance. Recognition.

“ Who tasted the light would not wish darkness “

Finally we arrived to the last movement and we wanted, vividly, that our friend and great bass- baritone Viktor Chernomortzev, soloist from Marinsky Theatre, could be part our work. I wanted him to sing the words of Surikov.
The first image it came to me was an endless sequence of colours.

“ Black
The blue shrine  on the white snow,
Everything ...
- saturated with light-
Everything, is in the reflects of lila and rose“

( V movement )

Colours that Surikov quoted himself.
In the Memories of Natalia Konchalovskaya she remembers that he used to play guitar. He liked to play on the guitar a sort of version of the Sonata op. 27, n° 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven. We could imagine the whole picture. The entire first part of the fifth movement is based on the harmonies of the Adagio sostenuto, sempre pianissimo e senza sordini.

“ I looked at the monuments as at alive people,
I asked them you saw,
you heard,
you are the witnesses,
but they do not speak with the words.
I ask the walls not the books“

 ( V movement )

The wish of truth, the profound desire of understanding.

Herzlich Thut Mich Verlangen, My heart desires is a choral J. S. Bach used in many of his works, in Saint Matthew Passion, few cantatas and in the Christmas Oratorio. 

The expression “I ask the walls not the books “ is related to one musical phrase from the choral.
We believe that every true artist is connected throughout time and space by an invisible leitmotiv that he follows during all his life. A leitmotiv that is the same to everyone of us. We go after it as Surikov did.

“Music should serve a purpose; it should be part of something bigger, part of the human kind”  declared Pablo Casals. A profound statement, a gigantic proclamation. But “ it needs time “, as Surikov said.

As regards the predestination of the artist, Rilke wrote in 1903 when Surikov was already fifty five years old : “Would you die, if it were denied to you the possibility of writing?...if your answer will be affirmative, if your reply will be a simple and strong “ I have to”, therefore you must build your life according to its need”.

The artist lives through a constant crisis that pushes him without any solution of continuity  to wonder and to give a sense to every action  of his existence that goes beyond his reality.When we read the thought Surikov expressed “ who tasted the light would not wish darkness “ , came to my mind the allegory of the cave, we can find it in the seventh book of the Republic by Plato.

The cave imagined by Plato represents the visible world and the light climb towards the contemplation of a superior reality. It is not difficult to realize that whoever could discern a superior condition of existence, would not desire to deal with the human miseries.

I ask Dora to try to give a poetic shape to the concept of the man in the den, the darkness, the light, their impossibility of considering themselves prisoners and the opportunity of choice towards the daylight.

I could not imagine something that could suit better to what we wanted to express. Harmony, proportion, order, equilibrium is conceived just where the movement can say its ever identical to itself. The message in harmony with its manifestation.

“ I vanish “ we understand he uttered before passing away.

The only certainty we can have in Art is the conviction about the eternity of the change and the temporality of the permanent, wrote Schoenberg.

The Art of Surikov stays and speaks to us every single day.

It is essential to believe, by some means, in belonging to a tradition, to this receive and give back of messages, memories, costumes from one generation to another through oral and written testimonies and teachings.

Nietzsche wrote in 1874 “ that the great moments…of the individuals will build a  mountain range of the human kind…this is the thought of a faith in the humanity that expresses itself  through the urgency of a monumental history”. Later he wrote:

“ Those who could reach, in their way to immortality and the monumental history, an Olympic laugh…; often descended in their graves with irony, because what was in them to be buried?...the monogram of their existence, one work, one action, a rare illumination, just one creation: it will live, because no posterity will be able to live without it”.

In Hebrew heritage is nahalà that comes from nahàl that means river. I find this etymology particularly beautiful and that gives a clear idea of a flow, of an evolution, of a slow but continuous transformation through the time. Parents and sons are in the same flow, the result of a belonging to a tradition, as the river, nahàl, that descends.

As the symbol of the water, the symbol of the river was since ancient times metaphor and representation of life.

To preserve Art as one of the most essential sources, from which the human kind should provide its spiritual nutriment, is a moral obligation to the man who has more probabilities of accomplishing his power at the best of his possibilities.

We want once more to express our gratitude to the Vice Major of Krasnoyarsk Mr. Vassily Vassilievic Kuimov for letting us render homage to one of the greatest figure of Russian Art.
A particular gesture of thankfulness  we wish to offer to His Eminence Archbishop of Krasnoyarsk and Yenisei, Anthony, who blessed the work we put forward at the service of what we consider just a ring, a part of the great universal memory of the spirit and soul.

Dora Schwarzberg/Jorge A. Bosso