Dmitri Smirnov was a Moscow-trained composer, whose fluent, sumptuous and elegiac music owed much to his admiration for his teacher and mentor, Edison Denisov * Together with his wife Elena Firsova, achieved prominence in the 1970s as one of the leading Russian modernist composers of his generation * His life-long fascination with the work of William Blake led to innumerable pieces including two operas, vocal and choral settings of Blake’s poetry and colourful instrumental pieces based on Blake’s paintings * Was fascinated by the arcane and mysterious, often basing his pieces on hidden codes and alphabets spelling out in notes the names of friends and heroes * In his later years, especially after settling in England in the early 1990s, he demonstrated a more neo-romantic side, heard most powerfully in orchestral works.
Works by Dmitri Smirnov include:
Symphony No.1 "The Seasons" (1980) for orchestra
The Lamentations of Thel (1985/86) Chamber opera in 4 scenes
Jacob's Ladder (1991) for ensemble
Works by Smirnov are represented by Boosey & Hawkes/Sikorski for the United Kingdom, the British Commonwealth (excluding Canada), the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey and Israel.
"Sometimes obstacles themselves generate strong and powerful impulses towards overcoming these challenges, and Russian contemporary music is a good example of this" — Dmitri Smirnov