German Galynin

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German Germanovich Galynin (Russian: Герман Германович Галынин, German Germanovich Galynin; March 30, 1922, Tula, Russia – June 18, 1966, Moscow, Russia, USSR) was a Soviet (Russian) composer, student, and continuer of the Shostakovich and Myaskovsky line in Soviet classic music.

Life and career

Raised in an orphanage ["children's home"], he taught himself playing several folk instruments and piano. In 1941, after Operation Barbarossa began and already a student of Moscow Conservatory, he joined the army as a volunteer, directing there various grass-roots performances, and writing songs and music to dramas. In 1943–50 (1945–50, according to other sources) he renewed his studies at Moscow Conservatory under Dmitri Shostakovich and Nikolai Myaskovsky in composition and Igor Sposobin in music theory. Inasmuch as in 1948 Shostakovich was accused of "formalism" in music the same tendencies were detected in the works of his pupils, particularly Galynin. Tikhon Khrennikov criticized Galynin's First Piano Concerto in particular, although he later (1957) denied such an assessment. Nevertheless, the composer was awarded the Stalin Prize in 1951 for his "Epic Poem" (1950).

Being seriously ill with schizophrenia since 1951, he still wrote music actively although the composer spent a considerable part of his life in hospitals and psychiatric clinics. Galynin’s work is a bright phenomenon in Soviet classical music and is, unfortunately, still underestimated in his homeland and largely overlooked in the West. Within the well-developed system of public Children's Music Schools in Russia and the former Soviet republics Galynin is virtually most gratefully remembered due to his short and easy pieces of music composed for beginners, some of them being variations of popular folk melodies. “The composer’s bright and original talent was a union of melodic generosity, picturesque harmonies, sense of modern colouring, and elegance of classical form”, the Encyclopedia of Music (Moscow, 1973) wrote of him. Galynin died in Moscow.

Selected works

  • 1939–41 Sonata Triad for piano (revised 1963)
  • 1939 Spanish Fantasy for piano
  • 1945 Suite for piano
  • 1946 First Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
  • 1947 String Quartet
  • 1949 Piano Trio
  • 1949 Suite for String Orchestra
  • 1950 Epic Poem (Russian: Эпическая поэма for Symphonic Orchestra (The State Stalin Prize), 1951)
  • 1950 Girl and Death, (Девушка и смерть, Oratorium (inspired by Maxim Gorky’s poem)
  • 1951 Youth Festive Ouverture (Молодёжная праздничная увертюра) for Symphonic Orchestra
  • 1959 Aria for Violin and String Orchestra
  • 1965 Second Concerto for Piano and Orchestra

Selected recordings


  1. LP includes Natalia Shakhovskaya, Cello,with Khachaturian Rhapsody. Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, Aram Khachaturian, conductor. Orion LP, PGM 6902. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 70-750038 (Khachaturian) and 74-750039 (Galynin).
  • (Russian) Мнацаканова Е. Герман Галынин. – Москва, 1965.
  • (Russian) И.П.Кулясов. Галынин, Герман Германович // Музыкальная энциклопедия. – Т.1. – Москва: Сов. Энциклопедия, 1973. – С.891.

External links