“Vitaly Averyanov – philosopher, poet, mystic, clairvoyant.”
Chanson can be philosophical if it is truly Russian. The French one – about boulevards and a cup of coffee, love and jealousy – in Impressionist tones. We (no, not us!) Chanson, alas, reduced to prison lyrics, which became a “musical commentary” to the Penal Code. In fact, the Russian chanson could be a continuation of Chekhov and Dostoevsky, no matter how loud it sounds. It will not be possible to pass the tavern and Vladimirka, because it is part of the classic background, but crime and punishment are always accompanied by a cross, and the end of the ordeal looks like a sky in diamonds. Vitaly Averyanov occupies a narrow niche occupied by Vladimir Vysotsky, but the Soviet bard from Taganka had everything spontaneously sharp, artistic, while Averyanov was a scientist. That is a logician.
All his texts are well thought out, even if it seems to you that here is pure nonsense and merry improvisation, as in the square in front of the royal palace. Averyan’s style is an admiration for the contrast inherent in Russian culture. He makes consonances out of darkness and light, and “fools and roads” are not rebuked, but understood. Alexander Prokhanov most accurately expressed the main task of Averyanov’s poems, songs and philosophical works: “This is a removal from the darkness, a removal from the twilight of the vanished beauties of language, and with them the vanished, so characteristic of Russian antiquity experiences and emotions… A huge poetic task.”
Before me is a new album of songs by Vitaly Averyanov, whom I know as a thinker, rational and sublime; as a man of the Enlightenment era, when it was fashionable to compose poems and – to defend serious dissertations in fields not related to rhyme. The leading composition of the disc – “Apophatic Russia” is typical for Averyanov-philosopher and Averyanov-poet. The isometric cross, which he wrote about in his work on Velemir Khlebnikov and dynamic conservatism. Apophatic utterance is based on negation. On strikeout. Crosswise. Through rejection comes great love.
Averyanov does not aestheticize the Russian World and does not turn it into a fairy tale, where everything is gingerbread towers and caramel kokoshniki. On the contrary, his poems are a pain mixed with pity, and often an irrational tenderness towards a bumpy being. However, this irrationality is stable-Russian, Yesenin’s: “For the bliss of her prayers, / The folly of her battles, For the dirt of her snow” and even for “Vanity of victories”. Balancing on the verge. He praises Russia through shrill denial. He speaks of the devils in the stupa and of Christ “crowning our abyss,” rhyming the abyss with the definition of “heavenly.” In another song with the eloquent title “Unholy Russia” – a logical continuation of the theme and at some point it will seem that the author laughs not at the story, not at his childish ideals: “We were born somehow, entered the October, / Where neither the church nor the tavern – nothing is sacred”. It is the comprehension of oneself in history, and history in oneself.
Averyanov is a master of verbal juggling – in a good way. Amazingly, he beats the multi-layered mystical adverb “nothing”. It means much more in Russian than nothing or nichts. Nothing is a whole palette, including an absolute vacuum and – its practical antithesis – possibility. «Nothing “is a norm and a non-norm at the same time: “In spring and autumn we have nothing dear”and further: “Only a blizzard ahead – nothing in the chest”. Vasily Kandinsky in the doctrine of color twice repeated this “nothing” – speaking of white and black. White is “nothing” a moment before birth, while black “nothing” is emptiness without hope. Although – three times! July green, calm color is a peaceful and a little saturated “wow”, you can live, comfort. Averyanov’s songs are filled with color, as is the avant-garde painting of the 1910s and 1920s – then color became a self-sufficient quantity, so it is no accident that I weaved Kandinsky here.
Good lyrics. The simple poem “Dance” is permeated with autumn nostalgia. This is a secret confession of love, but we never know the name of the heroine. However, the poet himself is confused: “Long captive, I’m looking for her name”. Averyanov knows how to be ironic, while remaining pathetic. In his “Vaccine against Death”, he mocks the stupidity and abominations of our reality: “And for a ticket to the ball at Satan / Will pay, taking off the last pants”. It crowns the whole “Seraphim’s Prophecy” – about universal orphanhood and the feeling of “orphanhood as bliss”, which is also very Russian. Verbal connection and transition from crying to prayer: “Christ in the bosom – no one needs”. If Christ has them, then they are necessary. Or – how? Or – where?
Vitaly Averyanov has exquisitely mature rhymes based on melodies. Averyanov’s musical handwriting is recognizable. Phrases do not hang in the air, but form a bizarre pattern. Averyanov-melodist is interesting for his “not bard”, but rather, ballad aesthetics. He embodies the idea of the synthesis of the arts, adopted in the early twentieth century as a declaration. Special attention is paid to the design of the disc – the motif of light and fog, cross, lace of Slavic elm. And – the breakthrough of the sun’s rays through the dark realm … Intellectual chanson is a conversation with God, isn’t it?