The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sviridov, Georgii (Iurii) Vasil’evich


Born Dec. 3 (16), 1915, in the city of Fatezh, in what is now Kursk Oblast. Soviet composer and public figure. People’s Artist of the USSR (1970); Hero of Socialist Labor (1975).

In 1941, Sviridov graduated from the Leningrad Conservatory, where he studied composition under P. B. Riazanov and D. D. Shostakovich. From 1962 to 1974 he served as secretary of the administrative board of the Composers’ Union of the USSR. Simultaneously, from 1968 to 1973, he held the post of first secretary of the administrative board of the Composers’ Union of the RSFSR.

Sviridov’s creative originality and talent as a composer are most vividly manifested in his vocal compositions. These include vocal chamber and symphonic works to texts by A. S. Isaakian (Land of Our Fathers, a poem for tenor, bass, and piano, 1950), R. Burns (cycle of songs, 1955), S. A. Esenin (Poem in Memory of Sergei Esenin for tenor, chorus, and symphony orchestra, 1955–56, and the cycle of songs My Father Is a Peasant for tenor, baritone, and piano, 1956), and V. V. Mayakovsky (Oratorio Pathétique for bass, chorus and orchestra, 1959; Lenin Prize, 1960) and choral works to texts by Russian poets (1958 and 1967). These contain the most important theme of the composer’s creative work—the motherland. Using his extensive knowledge of the poetry of various epochs and peoples and, above all, Russian poetry, Sviridov has breathed new life into many vocal genres. His style, which is firmly rooted in the traditions of Russian classical and Soviet music, is highly original. Much of it is shaped by the composer’s broad use of peasant folklore together with the techniques of 20th-century music. Sviridov’s music is distinguished by a refined simplicity, the national characteristics of song melodies and modal harmonies, the brilliance and coloration of his orchestration, and the very selective and economical use of expressive means.

Sviridov’s tendency toward laconism and compositional conciseness is manifested in such works as Kursk Songs (1964; State Prize of the USSR, 1968), the minor cantatas Wooden Rus’ (text by S. A. Esenin, 1964), It Is Snowing (text by B. L. Pasternak, 1965), and Spring Cantata (text by N. A. Nekrasov, 1972) and the choral Concerto in Memory of A. A. Iurlov (1973). Among Sviridov’s other compositions are musical comedies, including Little Flames (1951), a trio for violin, cello, and piano (1945; State Prize of the USSR, 1946; revised version, 1955), and music for films and dramatic works.

Sviridov was a deputy to the seventh and eighth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. He has been awarded two Orders of Lenin.


Georgii Sviridov: Sb. statei. Moscow, 1971.
Sokhor, A. Georgii Sviridov, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1972.
Person, D. G. G. V. Sviridov: Noto-bibliograficheskii spravochnik. Moscow, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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