Sculpting in Sound: Valentin Silvestrov's Symphony No. 5 - Music Research Colloquia

A presentation by Richard Gillies, University of Nottingham


Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov (b. 1937) recently described having felt an ‘immediate kinship’ between his Symphony No. 5 (1980-1982) and Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker. In particular, he referred to a ‘dangerous beauty’ permeating both symphony and film like some kind of invisible radiation.

This talk investigates the kinship Silvestrov claims between his symphony and Stalker, and offers an analytical account of how ‘dangerous beauty’ might be understood in musical terms.

I suggest that this is linked to his concept of ‘relic radiation’—a term he used to describe the influence of avant-garde techniques he encountered during the 1960s.

About Richard Gillies

Richard is a scholar specialising in Russian and East-European music and culture during the late-Soviet and post-socialist eras.

After completing his PhD at the University of Manchester in 2018, he taught at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance before moving to the University of Glasgow where he spent the last two years as a lecturer in music. He recently joined the University of Nottingham.

His first book, Singing Soviet Stagnation was published by Routledge in 2022, and explores vocal cycles composed by Dmitri Shostakovich, Georgy Sviridov, and Valentin Silvestrov. He is currently writing his second book, Sculpting in Sound, for the RMA Short Monograph Series.

Join the event

Join in person in Music LT2 or online via Zoom at the scheduled time.

This event is part of the 2023-24 School of Music Research Colloquia.