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The 20th century has accustomed us to complexities in art. When speaking of modern music, we think of dissonance, most improbable methods of producing sounds and working with instruments, and an incomprehensible form—in a word, a total enigma which requires painstaking intellectual work from the listener.

When viewed against the background of incredible sound experiments, the music of composer Sergey Akhunov (b. 1967) is traditional. The author uses familiar methods of working with instruments, and his compositions always manifest a harmonic scale that is distinct and clear to the ear and have a clear-cut form. The composer himself stresses that the continuation of traditions and rethinking of what has already been accomplished is important to him. However, any simplified attitude to himself is the personal view of the author, which may be too exacting. When speaking of his work as a composer, Sergey Akhunov stresses that any piece takes on a definite shape only when he has a revelation and music “comes” to him. This admission is highly characteristic of his creative work. Fortunately, it is completely devoid of any opportunism and desire to please the listener and surprise professional musicians. This music is profoundly sincere and open, which gives it an undeniable advantage.

However, there is a catch for the listener in this seeming simplicity, because this simplicity cannot in any way be equaled to primitiveness. Behind each composition, there is a whole chain of meanings and associations, poetic lines and picturesque prototypes. Behind the harmony and transparency of sound, there is the author’s interest in music of the pre-Bach period. And not only in the pre-Bach period but also in the earlier Greek modes or scales of music and numerical interval construction theories. Behind his ideas there are specific performers and friends who have somehow or other influenced the author. But all of this is only the impetus for composing, by no means providing us with any definite code for deciphering.

A native of Kiev and a graduate of the Kiev Conservatory majoring in oboe performance, Sergey Akhunov for a long time worked in various genres, including electronic music and rock’n’roll. In the academic sense, he did not learn composition from anyone: he did not attend classes, nor did he do exercise compositions and graduation symphonies. It was, however, primary sources—music scores which he scrupulously studied from the mid-2000s, going ever deeper into the history of music—that were the main course in composition for him. In the last ten years, Sergey Akhunov has been engaged in academic music.

Anna Kocharova. Text for the booklet of CD CHAMBER WORKS (excerpt)

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