Composer Alexey Rybnikov – about creativity during the period of self-isolation


The profession of a composer requires solitude and self-isolation, said the Vice-President of the Authors’ Council of Russian Authors’ Society Alexey Rybnikov in an interview with the Musical Life journal. During the conversation, the Honored Artist of the Russian Federation shared his thoughts about creativity and his projects.

“I spent my whole life in self-isolation. Composer is such a profession that if you don’t isolate yourself from society, you won’t write anything,” he said.

The composer spoke about one of his last significant works – the opera under the tentative title “Living Pictures of the Times of Alexander I and Napoleon”, which was originally planned to be called “Prince Andrew” or “War and Peace”.

According to the maestro, when choosing scenes for the libretto, he followed Tolstoy, so the opera presents scenes in Madame Scherer’s salon, the battle of Austerlitz, actions in Otradnoye, in particular, the New Year’s ball, at which the love story of Natasha and Andrei begins.

At the same time, the opera is primarily dedicated to the image of Prince Andrei, stressed Alexey Rybnikov.

“I selected episodes of the novel that work on the image of Prince Andrey: the opera is primarily about him and about love against the backdrop of enormous cataclysms. And from the new – added documentary materials: excerpts from diaries and texts written by Napoleon, as well as the manifesto of Alexander I and his public speech in Paris at the time of the entry of the Russian troops”, – said the maestro.

Speaking about work during the quarantine period, Alexey Rybnikov noted that he considers this time extremely productive.

“I appreciate focus. After all, how it happens: a call, distracted, went to a meeting, and then you have to tune in again. And here no one bothered me, I worked voraciously and enjoyed it a lot. What have I been doing? I’ve started writing a new composition at the request of one of our outstanding musicians. Worked on the score for the opera. And recorded a demo version of “War and Peace”, where I performed the parts of all the characters myself. This version is necessary as a starting point for working with actors and creative team,” the artist shared.