Contacts On the eve of fate
Alexander Korotko:

«There is no need to look for the reader…»

– Alexander Shimonovich, how do you generally feel about public reading of your poems by other performers?

– There were no other performers in essence. Kievans, however, saw a poetic composition created by the People’s Artist of Ukraine Alexei Kuzhelny. It was somewhat contrived built as a lyrical dialogue between a young poet and a girl – his muse. Frankivtsi Alexei Bogdanovich and Tatyana Oleksenko worked sincerely, but frankly, I was deeply disappointed by the staging decision, and I would not like to return to it. But with Yursky, as the actor himself put it, “it happened.” Ideally, as far as creativity is concerned, everything is absolutely simple – the author should read the poetry himself. All the rest has an approximate character and is correlated as a script and a copy. Although other reading looks more accurate than translation from another language, where, according to Joseph Brodsky, even with luck, only seventy percent of the original source remains. I do not believe in it at all.

As for Sergei Yursky – he is a terrific actor, a large-scale personality, and I have no disappointment. If you really speak frankly – when I first auditioned the CD, he terribly annoyed me, but then the reader’s idea became closer, attracting more and more. And indeed, there was an amazing combination: Rachmaninov, the performance of pianist Ratzer, Yursky, and it must be objectively sayed that many poems to him, of course, were a success. His reading is ambiguous, uneven, because in order to immerse yourself in the world of the artist, you must go along with it, which is hardly achievable in principle. Perhaps, the truth, the capture on the intuitive, emotional and philosophical levels, and similar, fortunately, takes place in this work. At the end of time, it surprises me in an amicable way, and for this product, I mean speech performance, is not ashamed.

– In Russia, poetry reads: Mikhail Nozhkin, Alexander Lazarev, Gennady Bortnikov, Mikhail Kozakov, Sergei Yursky, Vladimir Recepter. Which of the readers are you singling out?

– Mikhail Nozhkin is a very cute graphomaniac. He, I remember, compared poetry to some part of the body. Kozakov went a long way, although, in my opinion, remained mannered. Of course, I would single out the brilliant Smoktunovsky with his Pushkin, and in today’s space Yursky, which is evidenced by his reading of Joseph Brodsky, the amazing reading of the early Mayakovsky, Mandelstam and the work we are talking about today.

– But the problem of mediation between the poet and the public is real …

– I remember meeting with Yursky in Moscow, while our only meeting. He asked: “And for whom do you write?” I was so impressed by the question – by its openness, defenselessness, naivety, that I frankly did not know what to answer. The fact is that the main task of the artist and, in my opinion, his only task is not to look for his reader. And do not think about the reader. The reader is the one who finds. Because reading as a process is an absolutely creative thing, and those who consume serious artistic values, do a huge, huge job, crazy work on themselves. The analogy is simplistic, but accurate – one can not go out to the giants of professional boxing without going through rating fights. It’s rude, but true. And, by the way, Yursky about addressing all understands well. After a playwright, when he writes, a priori knows that it is intended for performance, for the stage. And the poet writes in a different way. I’m currently working on a play about Van Gogh, and I see in it the actor Sergei Yursky. I see ruffled hair, the red head of Van Gogh, and this is a completely different creative conflict.

– How valuable is Yursky in the project “Along the Silence”?

– He went to work as a very mature man and did two things. The simplicity of presentation and the crazy inner concentration are striking. Yursky decided here the main task, he managed to express the main quality of great poetry – detachment. In the beginning, he is still struggling with himself, with his skills, but at a certain stage everything turns out. He managed to avoid embellishment, pathos, and most importantly, beauty: in reading, writing, intonation.

– You have not mentioned one more experience in connection with your poetry. There is a performance of the Kiev Theater on Podol “Quarter of the Celestials” …

– Yes, director Vitaly Malakhov amazed me kindly. Although I do not consider this to be a poetic reading, I remain true to my conviction: poetry is a deeply intimate thing, it should not be listened to, but read (except for the author’s reading where the image and the poet unite, which in itself is very interesting). And Malakhov has an interesting director’s decision, and I came out of the performance dazed. For me it was a revelation.

By the way, on May 17 this performance will be shown on the stage of the National Drama Theater named after Ivan Franko, we look forward to our audience and we hope for an exciting theater evening.
The winged expression “To go to Moscow for songs” received a recent flattering sequel – “… and for the verses – to Kiev.” It is in our city that the poet Alexander Korotko lives, on whose poems the Moscow firm “Knigochey-audio” recorded a CD “Along the Silence”. The performer is a brilliant interpreter of many outstanding masters, People’s Artist of Russia Sergei Yurievich Yursky. This is an extraordinary event not only for Ukraine, and today we introduce our readers to this work, offering two express interviews with the creators of the project.

Sergei Yursky :
«He is a rare poet…»

It was not a commercial project, I never take part in such things at all. And it arose because of two circumstances. The Moscow “Knigogichy” company has resumed in Russia a remarkable, in my opinion, tradition of producing speech and, in particular, poetic records. I recorded there Vladimir Mayakovsky, Osip Mandelstam and now – Alexander Korotko. With his poems I met about two years ago in Kiev, during the tour of my entreprise, although with himself I did not meet at the time.

His poetry interested at once, but how to solve it, I did not really imagine. After all, I’m a lycee, I need positions, events, characters, but there was nothing ordinary about it. I also could not explain to myself – where did this come from? I repeat – I did not know Korotko, we had only one meeting, already before recording the disc. And I asked only one thing: did he have in his life a tragic event, some sharp breakdown, which determined his poetry. Alexander replied that no, it was not. That is, the source is different there. Then I worked on his poems for a long time, until the program’s plan was formed. I will not explain it. I will only say that the editing of the composition belongs to me, and it was created in the hope that the cryptography of Korotko will nevertheless be clarified.

He is rare poet. From his poems there is a feeling of philosophical spontaneity. In the letter – it is easy, although he writes about things that are not at all obvious.

I must say that this line in modern Russian poetry is very strong. Poets of this direction, and powerful poets, are here, in Israel, where I am now. But Korotko, of course, the best of all. That’s why I singled it out and recorded. I really wanted these poems to feel in the utterance.

I was just given a finished disc here, but I’m in a medical facility, and there’s nowhere to listen to it. But I, of course, will listen to it without fail. I just want to add that for this series the musical design is being considered and created by pianist-virtuoso Dmitry Ratser. Usually he picks up the music, and then, hearing the poems, decided to perform it himself and recorded for the disc some amazing preludes and sketches by Sergei Rachmaninov. And after a while, I can confidently say that the poems are kept in such a neighborhood.

In communication, Alexander is no less original. Strong attention to the interlocutor, depth, reactivity, awareness of its price – all this is evident at the most fleeting meeting. But first of all he attracts attention as a thinker, an original creator. Korotko is a poet of high note. And I’m glad that this work with me and Alexander happened.

(By phone from Tel Aviv)