November 5th, 2020

Dmitri Alexandrovich Prigov – Russian artist, writer, philosopher and performer – would have celebrated his 80th birthday this year, on November 5th.  Nadia Bourova-Prigova organized a zoom conference where friends, colleagues, editors and translators shared their memories and thoughts.  Ekaterina participated; an extract is below.

Photo ((above)  after “Prigov. In Memoriam” concert on July 19th, 2017 in The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow: Mikhail Golovushkin, Ekaterina Melnikova, Artur Kozin, Nadejda Bourova-Prigova, George Prigov, Daria Davydova, Alexei Rudnevsky, Rostislav Kapelushnikov.   Video (below): “Militiaman’s Couplets”,  Krasnoyarsk, 2018, PrigovFest:

“Regretfully, I wrote music for some of Prigov’s texts when he was already not with us.  We did previously discuss an event we could do together – my organ improvisation and his recital.  For me, from my early childhood, he was “uncle Dima”, I saw him and aunt Nadia quite often, in Moscow and in London.  Yet his creative work was not something I could relate to at the time; it was quite far from romantic music dear to my heart.  After he passed away I spent days reading through his texts, looking for messages I could render in my music.  I sought that reverent feeling when a music living inside the soul – responds, and inspiration sparkles.  “Gospel Incantations” did that.  My first piece devoted to Prigov was “Missa XXI”, it was first performed at an international conference “Prigov’s Readings” in Moscow in 2010.  Later, I wrote music for Prigov’s “Militiaman” and “Appeals to Citizens”.  It is easy to imagine the “militiaman”, someone who now appears as a fairy tale character following and watching us while we play like children.  In my latest work, “Harmonization of the World” this idea took a form of antiphons – a text sung before and after a musical piece, by choir and by bass.  This form echoes an ancient liturgical music tradition.  “Harmonization of the World” is my way to confirm that Prigov’s ideas live on.  The way he explores mysteries of life, his freedom in dealing with the form in art inspire me as well as many others.”

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