The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, born in Ukraine, is a cult novel of 20th century – at once a political farce, a great romance, a retelling of Faust, a macabre burlesque and, most importantly, commentary on surviving as an artist during totalitarian regime. Celebrating her beloved novel, Inna Faliks’s Master and Margarita program and ongoing project began with commissions by the Wende Museum of the Cold War, asking composers to respond to passages of the novel in musical form. The program continues with connections to standard repertoire such as Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz and Beethoven’s transcendent Sonata opus 111, both linked to specific moments and characters of the novel.
Maya Miro Johnson’s “Manuscripts Don’t Burn” imagines Margarita after her broom flight through Moscow, and uses extended techniques, voice, improvisation, and spoken word. Veronika Krausas’s Master and Margarita Suite has nine movements, each responding to a passage of the book, structured like Debussy’s Songs of Bilitis.
Manuscripts Don’t Burn by Maya Miro Johnson (2001-present)
Master and Margarita Suite for Piano by Veronika Krausas (1963-present)
1. The 14th of the Month of Nisan
2. Night Streets of Moscow (Polonaise)
3. Yellow Flower Waltz
4. Have You Stopped Loving Me?
5. Behemoth’s Somersaults into Cognac (Bagatelle)
6. Time to Go (Sarabande)
7. Listen to the Silence
Mephisto Waltz # 1, S 514 by Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Sonata opus 111 in c minor by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Grave; Allegro con brio ed appassionato
Arietta: Adagio molto semplice e cantabile
The works were previewed in NYC at Bargemusic Here and Now Festival in January 2020, and premiered at the Wende Museum in LA in May 2022.
They will be recorded on Sono Luminus in 2023.