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Oleg Karavaichuk: sky taper

Director Sergei Lando shoots a documentary film “Sky Taper” at the Lendok film studio about one of the most mysterious musicians of our time, Oleg Karavaichuk. The author told the portal Kultura.RF about why Karavaichuk played in a pillowcase, how to find the truth in the myths about him and what will help him to understand his music.

Three Karavaichuk
Oleg Karavaichuk for many – a controversial figure. Someone thinks that he is a pianist (accompanist. – Ed.), And not a composer. But there are musicians who highly appreciate it. Shostakovich himself, according to a number of testimonies, called him a genius and once gave Karavaichuk his autographed notes in recognition of his gift.

Oleg Nikolaevich lived a long life, during which he changed and manifested himself in different ways. They predetermined these changes, including dramatic events that cannot pass without a trace for a person: the death of a father, mother. In my film I divided his life into three periods. The first – Karavaichuk – a genius child, a child prodigy who played in front of Stalin.

The second is Karavaichuk-composer. Here he did not immediately show his original gift: his first works for the films “Alyosha Ptitsyn Develops Character”, “Two Captains”, “Raised Virgin Land” are talented, but they do not stand out much from the works of other Soviet cinema composers. He developed gradually, looking for his own style, and took place as early as the mid-60s.

He was a very controversial film composer, but one of the most successful. Yes, he had the image of a persecuted genius, but he was enthusiastically accepted, otherwise he would not have written music for more than 150 films! For some, his external coldness and unusual manner of the game were unacceptable, and on the contrary, they acted very strongly, for example, on the legendary directors of Lenfilm – Ilya Averbakh, Semyon Aranovich or on such theater titans as Anatoly Efros or Lev Dodin . As a film composer, he was extremely successful, and even by Soviet standards, rich because film music was well paid for – but only before perestroika.

The third period, Karavaichuk, is the author of performances, although Oleg Nikolayevich would not like this word. He performed with personal performances, improvising as a musician and directing the spectacle as a director: attracted ballet performers, showed various videotapes with his music.

So he lived three creative lives. Unique figure!
Myth for gaining freedom

At various times, many myths and legends have developed around his personality: for example, that he did not graduate from the Conservatory, but this is not true: a diploma has been preserved. I think that these myths were in a certain sense his style of life, he himself loved them. And they do not speak of him as a charlatan – this is how people perceived him.

The mask of a mad genius, almost a city madman, allowed him to be free. This freedom was necessary for creativity, it formed his attitude.

Therefore, he never did what he did not like: he worked within the order, but always with great pleasure.

He was always very sensitive to his gift and would not bother him for the sake of money, he understood how this gift is a fragile thing. For example, he even had a setup: on the day when you play, no talk about money.
The basis of Karavaichuk’s creativity is improvisation, and for this, inspiration was needed. The breakdowns of his concerts did not come from a ridiculous character, but from a lack of inspiration. At first glance, it may seem like it was a “bristle”, but deeper and harder: just that day “the muse did not come,” and without a mood he could not create. Therefore, sometimes he played better at rehearsals and gave out more than at concerts.

It is no coincidence that he played in a pillowcase: he did not want the public to overpower him. Could be furious at the click of the camera. But the most important thing for him was to get away from what he called “zhitukha.” When he went on stage, it was important for him that not a single scale from this philistine skin was on it. It cost the string connecting it to the “upper world” to break off – that’s all. That is why he often called himself a mediator – a transmitter of music, the key to which he saw in “higher spheres”.

I do not set myself the task of exposing or confirming certain myths and legends that have developed around his life. The Apocrypha of Karavaichuk is more interesting than dry facts: in them the image of Oleg Nikolaevich is displayed more fully and truthfully. For example, instead of a story with a diploma, I’ll rather tell you how he played his own instead of music at Skilabin’s final exam, but gave him up as Scriabin. Deception revealed, and there was a scandal.

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