Boris Yoffe
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Musikalischer Sinn (wolke, 2012)


"The Soviet or rather Russian symphony of the 20th century was separated from the world music and developed in its own special and unique way which finally turned out to be a real treasure locked in the niggard’s chest.

There are lots of essays dedicated to the history of the Soviet music. But until now the cover of this chest was hardly even lifted, countless composers and their works stay unknown.  Yoffe takes us with him into this thrilling journey through the path of unique history providing extensive detailed overview of many wonderful compositions, greatest part of which was unknown to the western listener until now." (wolke, 2014 - read more)

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Im Fluss des Symphonischen (wolke, 2014)
Eine Entdeckungsreise durch die sowjetische Symphonie


"The Book of Mr. Boris Yoffe 'Im Fluss des Symphonischen' has impressed me a lot. First of all it is a high professional, large scale, fundamental work about Soviet Symphonism, which embraces the period before the Soviet state was established, to present the pre-soviet period, as well it presents the full picture of Soviet era symphonism. This book is written with knowledge and love. The mentioned above book is representing not only the composers of the 20-th century, but as well the whole cultural scale of Russian and Soviet period. The details presented in book are extremely interesting, opening a new glance of soviet composing school, which is extremely interesting for any performer and for a conductor particularly.

The presentation of a 16-th chapter, 'Die Symphonie der Unionsrepubliken',so called Koloniale Misik, is written very interesting, presenting the real picture and analysis of the mentioned subject. Particularly interesting is presented the music in Baltic States and in Caucasus. All themes of this book are interesting, but for me particularly interesting was chapter 9, "Die am Rande Gebliebenen". Another chapter which moved me a lot, is about the St. Petersburg school and particularly about Boris Arapov, who was a great friend of my father, whom I knew personally very well and who blessed me in the very beginning of my life as a conductor. Not talking about personal-close relationship of my family with Shostakovich, Khachaturian, Khrennikov, Kabalevsky, Kaka Karaev, and other composers. From 60-s, the whole palette of the Soviet music inclusive its composers, was in front of my eyes and I am a witness of many events happening in those times. That’s why I can say, that this book is a honest picture of the Soviet music and very interesting as for the professionals, as well for the ones who love and understand music."

Vakhtang Matchavariani, conductor

"It is difficult to associate Boris Yoffe with modern musical directions, difficult from the point of view of concepts. His approach and understanding of classical and modern music do not belong to our days. His thought aims to achieve beyond academic researches to the deeper undercurrents of sense. And this makes his approach free of the epoch and time features. His ideas seem to come from far away and still considering our cultural tradition, swirling around the core and the very essence of music.  And thus Yoffe proves to be an expert in Russian, Jewish and German musical and cultural tradition." (wolke, 2012 - read more)

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© Stephane de Bourgies

"Yoffe’s book stands out of a row of traditional musicological essays – first of all with its vivid polemical character and readability.  The author is not afraid to stress his own often very personal approach to the subject, he does not try to make problematic point smoother in order to prevent probable critics, avoids false complexity and science-wise formulas. He has a rare gift to write about music (by the way mostly unknown music) interestingly. Only few of the works mentioned in the book are recorded and accessible – and nevertheless it does not make reading less capturing, Yoffe can find images to re-create the sounding of music impelling to actually listen to the described compositions. This is the greatest achievement and contribution of this book: it tells not only the history of Soviet music, more or less familiar to some readers, the intention of the author is to rouse an interest not for the history, but for this very music… It is hardly possible to imagine any other approach more suitable for investigating  this subject as widely. There are lots of surprises even for the musicologists specialized in the topic. Yoffe’s essay counts 650 pages making a captivating panoramic view of the symphonic art of dozens composers."

Jascha Nemtsov, musicologist and pianist

© R. Sigurdardóttir

Im Fluss des Symphonischen (wolke, 2014)
Musikalischer Sinn ("musical meaning"; wolke, 2012)

"Yoffe takes music seriously as a mode of cognition and discusses it with an authority that can no longer be taken for granted. It is to be lauded how here the question of music’s significance is pursued with authentic urgency. One can only hope that protagonists of contemporary music who are interested in theoretical discourse – and perhaps not only they – realize the ball is in their court."

Johannes Menke, music theorist, from his review, published in:
Musik & Ästhetik Heft 66, Stuttgart 2013, S. 110-112.

List of Works