(b Moscow, 8 Jan 1952). American pianist of Russian birth. The son of Oskar Feltsman, a composer of popular music, he studied at the Moscow Conservatory from 1969 to 1976 with Yakov Fliyer, and in 1971 won first prize at the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris. His repertory is centred on Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms, but extends to contemporary music; he has given the first performances of Schnittke's First Sonata (1989) and Karetnikov's Piano Pieces (1990), both of which are dedicated to him. His emigration to the United States in 1987 after eight years of detention in the USSR was highly publicized, and was the subject of a television documentary. His first performance in America was at the White House, and his Carnegie Hall début, in September 1987, was issued as a live recording. Critics have praised the technical authority and colouristic flair of his playing, but have also noted a tendency towards idiosyncratic distortions.
L.Gerber: ‘An Interview with Vladimir Feltsman’, Fanfare, xi (1987–8), 365–74
C.Montparker: ‘Vladimir Feltsman: the End of an Eight-Year Odyssey’, Clavier, xxvii/1 (1988), 10–15
(b Odessa, 16/29 May 1905; d Odessa, 30 Oct 1931). Ukrainian composer. He graduated from the Odessa Institute of Music and Drama in composition (under V.A. Zolotaryov and P. Molchanov) and conducting (under H. Stolyarov). An extremely gifted musician, he was also a good writer and actor. ‘He had a very great talent for composing’, recollected Shostakovich, ‘he composed quickly and very skilfully. For the most part he didn't write sketches but composed directly into score. Soviet music lost an outstanding composer’. His brief, but intense, creative life covered almost all genres and was musically significant. He achieved considerable success with the première of his first symphony, the ‘Jubilee’, on 6 November 1927 in Odessa – the third movement had to be immediately repeated. In it, certain pertinent characteristics became readily apparent. As many artists of the mid-1920s, Femelidi seemed very much committed to the construction of a new proletarian culture and was enthusiastic about the achievements of the Revolution, which he proceeded to extol in a number of works, such as the opera Razlom (‘The Break’) and the ‘Jubilee’ Symphony. The music is frequently permeated with impetuous energy and is dominated by song and dance elements. In the case of the symphony, the main thematic material is made up of Russian and Ukrainian song and dance themes, revolutionary hymns – Vy zhertvoyu pali v boyu (‘You have Sacrificed Yourself in Battle’) – and marches – Smelo, tovarishchi, v nogu (‘Bravely, Comrades’). Although his ethnic roots were Greek and Ukrainian, he essentially was a Russophile and cosmopolitan, relying mostly on Russian models for inspiration. He died before he could complete his second opera, Tsėzar i Kleopatra; unfortunately, out of the 19 works he wrote, four are considered lost.
Dramatic: Razlom [The Break] (heroic op, after B. Lavrenev), 1929; Carmagnole (ballet), 1930; Tsėzar i Kleopatra [Caesar and Cleopatra] (op, after G.B. Shaw), 1931, unfinished
The melodic termination of a phrase on a weak beat (ex.1a), the weak part of a beat (ex.1b), or the weak part of a bar (ex.1c). The term derives from prosody, where it describes a rhyme of two syllables of which the second is unstressed (e.g. ‘mustard’ and ‘custard’). The term entered musical theory with Heinrich Christoph Koch's discussion of ‘the mechanical rules of melody’, that is, of phrase structure, a discussion steeped in the terminology of grammar and rhetoric. For Koch, who used the terms ‘overhang’ (Überhang), ‘feminine ending’ and ‘weak ending’ synonymously, the feminine ending was a source of variety in cadential formulae. His examples indicate that it was particularly at home in the melodically elaborate, cadentially saturated galant and empfindsamer styles, in which feminine endings arise from frequent cadential appoggiaturas and other ornamental cadential figures. Prior to these mid-18th-century instrumental styles, the feminine cadence (not yet so named) would have arisen through the improvised cadential appoggiaturas of vocal recitative.
The feminine cadence was not arbitrarily named. The connotations of (rhythmic) ‘weakness’, of melodic ornament and elaboration, and of sentiment or expression that attend these later 18th-century uses and definitions, set the new term in the broader context of an emergent discourse on the characteristics of the sexes and related discussions of music's gendered styles, genres and performance techniques (see Head). Recently the term was reappropriated by Susan McClary as a telling instance of assumptions about gender underlying the apparently neutral vocabulary of musical analysis and theory.
H.C.Koch: Versuch einer Anleitung zur Composition (Leipzig, 1782–93/R), vol.ii trans. N.K. Baker as Introductory Essay on Composition: the Mechanical Rules of Melody (New Haven, CT, 1983)
S.McClary: Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality (Minneapolis, 1991)
M.Head: ‘“Like Beauty-Spots on the Face of a Man”: Gender in North-German Discourse on Genre’, JM, xiii (1995), 143–67