Sofia Gubaidulina with fellow Gold Medal winner Dame Janet Baker at the RPS Awards

Gubaidulina Playlist

At the RPS Awards in November 2019, we were pleased to present our highest honour – the RPS Gold Medal – to composer Sofia Gubaidulina.

In the new edition of the RPS Magazine, Members can read more about this remarkable composer in an article by Gillian More CBE, Director of Music at London’s Southbank Centre and a longstanding Trustee of the RPS. In it, Gillian suggests several of Gubaidulina’s works with you may find particularly captivating. We’ve duly collected those tracks in a Spotify playlist linked below.

Gillian writes: Gubaiduina’s huge output covers a vast range of expression: there’s the austere religious ritual of her St John Passion; the impassioned struggle of the Violin Concerto In Tempus Praesens which ends triumphantly in a blaze of Wagnerian glory; the playful fireworks of her solo piano miniatures Musical Toys; and then there’s the bewitchingly mysterious String Quartet No.4 in which the four players, and a recorded version of themselves, bounce rubber balls on the strings ‘as though conversing with another world’. It’s such an extraordinary, beguiling, weird sound that it’s hard to imagine how a musician could have thought it up. But Gubaidulina talks elsewhere about how a piece of music first comes to her: as one single sound which she, as the composer, has to untangle. ‘It’s as if I hear many things at the same time, all bound together like a knot – I can’t notate it. Then I have to gradually make it clearer and clearer, this original sound’.

The playlist also include the orchestral work Fairytale Poem which, as Gillian’s article mentions, the Philharmonia is set to perform at Southbank Centre in March 2021.