Boris Asafiev (1884-1949)
Boris Asafiev was perhaps the most important musicologist, critic and writer in the Soviet Union during the early decades of the century. His writings in books and articles such as "Musical form as a process", "Glinka," "Studies for the Symphony," "The Book About Stravinsky" were the main foundation for an entire epoch in Soviet musicology. He was also a prolific and inventive composer. He was known mostly for such ballets as "The Flame of Paris" (1932), based upon the French Revolution, "Bakhchisaraisky Fountain" (1934), based upon A.S. Pushkin's poem. Asafiev was introduced to the guitar by Andrés Segovia, during the latter's 1926 tour of the Soviet Union. After hearing the Spanish guitarist, Asafiev published a review of the concert which became the corner-stone of the re-emergence of the six-string guitar in Russia. Moreover, this review, by a musical critic who already enjoyed then a world-wide reputation, was in no small part a principal factor in the career of Segovia, not only in the Soviet Union to where he was to be invited again and again, but also in many other countries. Probably with Segovia's encouragement, Asafiev set to write music for the guitar. Unfortunately, he only got around to it some 13 years after his first meeting with Segovia, and three years after Segovia's last visit to the Soviet Union in 1936. The result of his work in this direction were the Six Romances and 12 Preludes for Solo Guitar, and the present guitar concerto in G Major, all written in 1939.