Dating back to 1994, "Little
Tragedies" were formed around
the graduate of St. Petersburg Conservatory, composer Gennady Ilyin, in
the city of Kursk. Their early music focused on the genres of instrumental suite,
variations, different combinations of classical, contemporary and rock
music. According to Gennady Ilyin, it was more like improvisations without lyrics and
vocals - he was just interested in working with 'pure' music.
in the beginning the band consisted of four musicians, it was still
"Emerson, Lake and
Palmer"- oriented, with a reliance on the soloing keyboards. However,
not an imitation, it was just a hint at the starting point. In fact, it
was quite a heavy art-rock with an improvisation
accent. The first album, called "Little Tragedies I" was not
properly recorded in a studio and exists only on an amateur
videotape made at
the band's single concert at that time.
Since 1995 until 2000, the band was a trio: Gennady Ilyin - keyboards; Yuri Skripkin
- irreplaceable -
drums; Oleg Babynin -
After visiting Paris in April 1995, which impressed Gennady
very much, he started working on "The Paris Symphony". The climax
of this almost 45-minute work is the three-part opus
"NAPOLEON" which, in a way, is the heel post of the 'symphony: it
determines the structure and intonation of the other
parts: "House of Invalids", "Notre-Dame de Paris", "Luxemburg
Garden", "Montmartre" and "Triumphal Arch".
major themes of "The Paris Symphony" are based on the tunes of and
allusions to the
Easter worship service in the
Notre-Dame Cathedral. It is true that "Little Tragedies" of that period
very much reminded of E.L.P.: a battery of keyboards - drums - bass;
rhythm section against the soloing keyboards. "The Paris Symphony" was
played a few times in music schools and concert halls of Kursk.
The Christmas season of 1997-1998: it took G. Ilyin a month to compose
fairytale ballet "Magic Shop" with a story about a little
girl's adventures on Christmas. Three years later, with a
renewed line-up, Little Tragedies played the "Magic Shop" in Kursk.
1998-1999, G. Ilyin recorded his solo albums "The Sun of the Spirit" and "Porcelain
Pavilion" to the poems of N.Gumilev, and instrumental
albums "Christmas Music" and "Passions For Titanic" at the "ART-TECHNOLOGY" studio in
Moscow. "The Sun of the Spirit" and
Pavilion" were released by the label "Boheme Music" in 2000 with the
name "Little Tragedies" thanks to the great help of Igor Mikhel
(guitar) and Evgeny Shchukin (sound engineer). At that period,
"Little Tragedies" were a project of an affinity group rather than
musicians, that is why it was decided to keep the original name, as
there was still a feeling of a band, though studio-like. There is a
video clip left from those times featuring one of the most powerful
songs of "Porcelain Pavilion" - "The Road" (The Way).
summer 2000, Alexander Malakhovsky (guitar) and
Aleksey Bildin (saxophone)
joined the trio. With the full line-up, the band worked on the last album of the
trilogy to the poems of N.
Gumilev - "Return" (the first were "The Sun of the Spirit"
Pavilion"). The band did a few shows with this music in Kursk, and
in spring 2003 presented this project at "SKIF" - the international
music festival in memory of Sergey Kurekhin - in St. Petersburg.
In September 2005, “Return“ was released by Musea
Records (France), and in March 2006 the MALS label (Russia) re-issued
it with a Russian booklet.
Since the end of 2003, Gennady Ilyin worked on the double album called
‘draft’ material (5 hours of music) with the themes
of New Faust was composed back in 1997-1998. These
were improvisations sketching the musical language of the future album.
“New Faust” was not intended as an illustration of
Goethe’s Faust. Here Faust is not the character of a
national drama who is conflicting with the society, but rather a man of the
universe seeking ways to cleanse his soul and acquire spirit.