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Secret Games: Circling Around

The present article was written in the process of preparing for publication the full score of Borodin’s Second Symphony in the author’s version. In the 1930s this task was already accomplished by Pavel Lamm; his work, however, remained unpublished. Though subsequently the author’s version would attract the attention of some scholars and conductors, no publications on it appeared in Russian before 2008. According to the opinion that dominated in the official music historiography, the changes introduced by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Aleksandr Glazunov in the work’s posthumous edition were authorized by Borodin himself. The analysis of manuscript sources, as well as the study of the symphony’s compositional and early performance history, show that such an opinion is erroneous.

The Russian Premiere of Massenet’s Manon: On the Opera’s Stage History, or The Caprices of Success

The article reconstructs some circumstances of the Paris and St Petersburg premieres of Massenet’s Manon (1884, 1885). Though in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the French composer was at the height of world fame, the fate of his music in Russia was not especially ‘lucky’, and this situation persists until the present. With the help of a number of little-known and unknown sources the author attempts to shed light on these important episodes of the history of Russian opera theatre of the 19th century.

The Premiere of the Second Version of the Opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District. The Dramatis Personae and the Performers

This is the first attempt to trace in detail the course of events leading to the premiere of the second edition of Shostakovich’s opera in 1963. The initiatives of the directions of Leningrad and Moscow theatres are discussed, as well as those of the Union of Composers, of some representatives of the artistic community, and of the Soviet bureaucracy. The previously unpublished documents proving that the theatre La Scala (Milan) intended to stage the work’s second version are presented; a hypothesis about the reasons of failure of these plans and about the composer’s attitude is suggested.

Commenting Upon the Musicians’ Texts: a ‘Slow Reading’ or Reading with Stops?

In this article, the author once again proposes an argumentation for his approach to the practice of commenting upon verban and musical texts. The ways for contemporary modifications of the well-known method of ‘slow reading’ and for its transformation into the method of ‘reading with stops’ are characterized. The viability of the author’s concept of commentary is proved on the materials related to different spheres of musicology and musical-cultural studies (facts from the biographies of Glinka and Pushkin, Rakhmaninov’s treatment of ancient sacred tune in his Vespers, a key moment in the creative biography of the pianist Horowitz, etc.); it is shown, in particular, that the author’s concept allows to find new meanings in the musicians’ texts.

Modal Structure of the 17th Century Znamennïy Stichera (on the Example of a First Echos Dogmatikon)

The article is dedicated to the methodology of the modal analysis of the 17th century Russian Znamennïye stichera. On the basis of the ideas stated in Yuriy Kholopov’s treatise ‘Harmony. A Theoretical Course’ (chapter ‘Modes of Modal Type’), the author of the article identifies ‘bearing’ modal polychords and analyzes the balance of stable tones within each melodic unit (popevka). The terms ‘root figure’ and ‘intermediate stable tone’ are introduced. The question of a resultant (aggregate) mode of a chant, comprising the modes of its individual popevki and poetic/musical lines is put forward. Specific conventional signs for individual modes are proposed.

The Musical Theatre of Expressionism: on the History of One-Act Opera

The article explores the evolution of one-act opera in Germany and Austria-Hungary at the turn of the 20th century. It discusses the main characteristics of this opera form and investigates its relationship to the aesthetics of expressionism. Richard Strauss’s Salome and Elektra, Arnold Schönberg’s Erwartung and Die glückliche Hand are in the focus of interest. These works are presented against a wide cultural background, in interrelation with contemporary musical composition, philosophy, dramaturgy, painting.

From Pater Noster to ‘the Father of Peoples’ and Beyond: about S.V. Evseyev’s Choral Music

The article, based on archival materials, is devoted to several unknown compositions by the famous Russian musicologist S.V. Evseyev (Yevseyev, 1894–1956). As composer, he is nowadays all but forgotten. His sacred and secular scores give rise to reflections on the development of the great Russian tradition of choral singing, on the relationship between Moscow ‘Synodal’ and ‘Conservatoire’ schools, and on the transformations of their features as applied to the ‘social commission’ of Stalin’s era.

The Wagnerian Heldentenor: from Origins to our Days

Taking into account Wagner’s writings and other documents of the epoch, as well as works by Russian and foreign scholars, the author analyzes the phenomenon of Wagnerian Heldentenor in a historical perspective: from its origins to our days. The issues discussed in the article include the formation and evolution of the Wagnerian vocal style, Wagner’s collaboration with the first performers of tenor parts in his operas and with the German singing teachers F. Schmitt and J. Hey, and the development of Wagnerian performing style from the late 19th century to our days – in particular, the process of rethinking the notion of Heldentenor.

The Music of ‘Revolutionary France’ as a Prototype of Monumentalism in Early Soviet Culture

The article deals with the history of the reception of French revolutionary musical culture during the early years of the Soviet era. The attitudes of ideological services, artistic elite and mass audiences changed with time; the character of this evolution is demonstrated on a number of examples.

Life and Music in Occupied Smolensk and in Some Other Cities of the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War

The article deals with lesser known aspects of the history of World War II. In the centre of attention is Smolensk, occupied by the Germans from July 1941 to September 1943; some attention is paid also to other occupied Soviet cities. Social, cultural and religious aspects of the life of Soviet citizens under the ‘New Order’ are discussed; the issue of ‘collaborationism’ is touched upon. The musical life in Smolensk in the years preceding the Great Patriotic War and under the Nazi occupation is investigated in detail. The paper is based on archival sources from the State Archives of Smolensk region and the Central State Archives of the High Government Bodies of Ukraine. The information from interviews with those residents of Smolensk who have survived the occupation is used. For the first time the importance of studies of the history of occupation for understanding the history of culture of Russian diaspora is highlighted.

A Soviet-Era Archbishop: Singing Repertoires of Church Hierarch Sergiy (Larin)

The article deals with the problems of Russian Orthodox Church singing in the 1950–60s on the example of the activities of one of the outstanding clerics of the epoch, Archbishop Sergiy (Larin).

The Director of the Imperial Theatres A. M. Gedeonov: the Moscow Sources of his Career as St Petersburg Theatre Manager (Contunuation) An Unknown ‘Horn’ Project And Its Fate

The article deals with the previously unknown episode from the history of Russian horn music and the role played in it by A. M. Gedeonov. The European itinerary of the Russian horn orchestra’s 1830s tour is reconstructed for the first time; the information about the terms of the musicians’ contracts is provided. The importance of A. M. Gedeonov, I. N. Utermark and P. M. Kozlov as the tour’s initiators and organizers is shown. The performers’ concert artivities, the programmes of their concerts, as well as the attitude of the European audiences to Russian musicians and the Russian art of horn playing are analyzed.

Micro-Tone Systems in Russian and Foreign Music

The problems of history and theory of music operating with intervals lesser than semitone are discussed in five essays: “From the History of Micro-Chromaticism”, “The Micro-Space of Sound: the Acoustic and Aesthetic Foundations of Musical Systems”, “On Harmony on Miscro-Chromatic Music”, “Alois Hába’s Harmonielehre”, and “Micro-Chromatic Systems”.

Musorgsky’s Opera Boris Godunov on Its Way to Mariinsky Theatre (1874): Facts, Heroes, Versions

The history of the first production of Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov at Mariinsky Theatre (1874) is discussed from the point of view of official institutions and performers engaged in the fortune of the work by a little known young Russian composer. The comparison of facts reveals new details and unexpected turns in the development of the universally known history. A special attention is paid to the circumstances that gave birth to the popular “myth about the opera Boris Godunov and its author, Musorgsky”. The article is a part of the research project “Russian Imperial Opera: Everyday Life”.

Musical Battles in Russia

The article deals with the genre of musical battle (battaglia), which was very popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The most famous piece of this kind was Beethoven’s Wellington’s Victory, or the Battle of Vitoria. The article discusses the musical battles composed in Russia in the early 19th century. The peculiarities of the genre are described; some pieces by D. Steibelt, Pacini, and unknown authors are analysed. The article is supplemented with a catalogue of battle pieces published in Russia in 1812–28.

Orientalism in Stravinsky’s Opera The Nightingale

The article deals with the phenomenon of orientalism in Stravinsky’s opera The Nightingale (1908–1914). The work’s quasi-Chinese idiom is analysed in the context of the European tradition of chinoiserie; its evolution during the seven years of Stravinsky’s work on the opera is examined against the background of the artistic life in the early 20th century St Petersburg and Paris.

Giacinto Scelsi

This is the first Russian biography of the Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi (1905–1988) – aristocrat and “barbarian”, ultra-modernist and neo-archaist, Catholic and Buddhist. The article introduces his music of all genres and creative periods and provides information on his aesthetic views and his world outlook. The article is a part of the author’s large research project dedicated to marginal figures of the 20th century music.

A Musical Emblem in the Era of Iconic Paradigm: on the Contemporary History of a Certain Baroque Theme

The paper discusses semantic reconsiderations of Bach’s aria “Erbarme Dich” (no. 47 from St Matthew Passion) in the framework of contemporary culture. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries Bach’s theme appears in different guises in various artworks: film soundtracks, academic musical compositions and “postmodernist” synthetic projects. The emblematic essence of “Erbarme Dich” crystallises in the context of cultural oppositions, such as sacred / profane, high / low, natural / artificial, and so on.

On the Musical History and Semantics of Midnight

The article discusses the history, the semantical aspects, and the general peculiarities of the musical realization of the image of midnight from the 19th century to our times, including its contemporary “neo-Gothic” interpretations. An important reason for choosing such a topos as subject matter is the extreme character of the means commonly used for its depiction in music.

On the Reception of Mahler in Israel: his Return Home?

The article traces the evolution of the reception of Mahler’s music in Mandatory Palestine and Israel, from the initial attitude, generally rather restrained, conditioned, in particular, by ideological and religious contradictions within the Israeli society, through the tendency to conceive Mahler’s art as a peculiar symbol of the reborn State of Israel. A special attention is devoted to the works of contemporary Israeli literature whose subject matter is related to Mahler’s music.

16th Century Postcomposition: On the Path to the Author’s Opus

Postcomposition – the transformation of a musical text created earlier – was widespread in the performing (often improvisatory) practice of the 16th century and refers to the cantus-type creative method peculiar to the medieval and Renaissance culture in general. However, the 16th century practice shows that a new type of composition was germinating within it, which reflected changes in the worldview and the individual’s self-identification in the spirit of Modern Age. This article demonstrates how the unauthored, commenting type of creativity develops into the author’s one, and a rough text intended for arrangement turns into a finished author’s opus. A whole cultural layer originated at that transitional period, which has not been adequately elucidated by musical historians so far.

All Renaissance musical ranks contributed to the oncoming cultural change: performers (both professional and amateur), publishers and compilers who issued collections of music transcriptions, composers and, finally, the emerging community of music lovers who determined the aesthetic tastes of the time and showed the way to the New Music.

The postcompositional transformation of a musical work has become an actual creative method in our time, though with an opposite trend: from the author’s opus to interpretation, to a commentary on the chosen finished text.

The Comic Theatre of Georg Philipp Telemann

The article discusses the principal stylistic features of Telemann’s theatre works on the example of his comic operas.

Social Welfare for the Artists of the Russian Imperial Opera

The article discusses the development and functioning of the pension system for the artists of the Imperial Theatres. A special attention is paid to the definition of the specific character of the artists’ pensions in comparison with those for common citizens and court servants. The character and scope of the social support of an artist in case of his/her illness are analyzed, as well as the social aid provided for an artist’s widow and orphans.

Bernhard Pollini as Tchaikovsky’s Impresario Abroad

The name of Bernhard Pollini, who was one of the most influential and famous figures of the late 19th century theatre, is not common in reference and professional literature on music and theatre. However, it was he who for a quarter of a century directed the musical and theatrical life of Hamburg – one of the largest cultural centres of Europe. Besides, he was one of the earliest advocates of Russian music in Germany. This is the first attempt to reconstruct the history of his relationships with Tchaikovsky. The study is based on Pollini’s unpublished correspondence from the Klin archives. A study of foreign musical periodicals of the time helped to supplement Pollini’s biography and to outline some new hypotheses.

Rakhmaninov and Gramophone Recording

The article analyzes Rakhmaninov’s interaction with the American gramophone recording industry. The development of recording in the 20th century and its importance for musicians and composers are discussed.

Jean Barraqué (1928–1973)

This is the first Russian biography of the French composer, Messiaen’s pupil Jean Barraqué (1928–1973). A devotee of serial technique and pointillism, he strived to resolve but the most complex creative tasks and, having Beethoven as a benchmark, worked only in large monumental forms. His mature legacy consists of six finished scores; three of them were inspired by Hermann Broch’s philosophical novel The Death of Virgil. The article is a part of the author’s large research project dedicated to marginal figures of the 20th century music.

M. G. Aranovsky’s Theory of Melody

The article presents the theory of musical syntax elaborated by the outstanding Russian musicologist M.G. Aranovsky (1928–2009). In spite of the theory’s merits, it has not been in demand in the Moscow Conservatoire teaching practice; the reasons for this are discussed.

Aleksandr Blok’s Free Verse and Problems of its Musical Interpretation

The article is devoted to the issue of poetic melodiousness, in particular, to the analysis of melodic meaning of A. Blok’s free verse. It is assumed that being formally closer to prose, Blok’s free verse is essentially a poem and, moreover, it is poetry to the full extent. The peculiarities of the ‘musicalization’ of free verse’s poetic intonation are shown on the examples of three composers’ settings of the poem ‘It’s night. The town is still…’ (by A. Raskatov, A. Buzovkin, G. Banshchikov).

The Russian Musical Presence in Spain: Anton Rubinstein and Igor Stravinsky

The history of Spanish concert tours of two great Russian musicians is examined in the broad context of the development of Spanish musical culture and concert life, including both artists’ contacts with native musicians and great international stars. The text is supplemented with previously unpublished illustrative materials.

Stravinsky à l’Español

In Russian musicological literature, this is the first attempt to analyze the phenomenon of “Spain in Stravinsky’s reception”, taking into account such aspects as the reflection of Spanish subjects in Stravinsky music. Stravinsky’s response to Spanish music and Spanish artistic mentality, the circle of Stravinsky’s contacts among Spanish musicians and artists.

Sergey Prokofiev’s Spanish Relationships

The article deals with various aspects of the theme ‘Prokofiev and Spain’: from Prokofiev’s childhood, his youthful studies of Spanish and his acquaintance with the music of contemporary Spanish composers through his meeting with Lina Llubera, the history of Spanish subject matters in his music, and his contacts with Spanish musicians.

Leonid Myasin’s Spanish Ballets

The essay presents the history of the great dancer and choreographer Leonid Myasin’s (also known as Massine) acquaintance with Spain. His Spanish impressions were reflected in his ballets staged in collaboration with eminent Russian and Spanish artists. Myasin’s contribution to Spanish theme is characterized as the most outstanding body of ballets ever created on Spanish subject matters.

One of the Russian Projects of Vicente Martín y Soler: Fedul and his Children in the Library of the Mariinsky Theatre

The study of the autograph score of the comic opera Fedul and his Children composed in 1791 by Martín y Soler (in co-autorship with V. Pashkevich, to libretto by Catherine II) has proved that a certain part in the work’s creation was played by Giuseppe Sarti. The manuscript contains numerous editorial corrections made by Sarti’s hand; the reasons for his participation in the project are discussed.

The opera Il dissoluto punito, ossia Don Giovanni Tenorio by R. Carnicer: on the History of Spanish Musical Theatre of the Early 19th Century

The article deals with the famous Spanish romantic composer R. Carnicer’s opera Il dissoluto punito, ossia Don Giovanni Tenorio. The author analyzes the structural features of the opera and its position in the history of Spanish musical theatre. A special objective is to examine the influence of Mozart and Rossini on Spanish music and musical life.

The Image of History in the Symphonic Oeuvre by M. A. Balakirev (“Overture on the Theme of Spanish March”)

Analyzing M. Balakirev’s piece based on a theme proposed by M. Glinka (in two versions) and comparing the piece with Glinka’s own Spanish overtures, the author shows that by mid-1850s Glinka’s tradition was substantially transformed in the oeuvre of his immediate successors. The author also pays attention to the fact that in this early piece a new, uncompromisingly tragical idea of history was formed; this allows to compare Balakirev’s vision of history with the more recent musical “historiosophy” of Musorgsky.

The Birth of Russian Carmen

The article presents the history of early productions of Carmen in Russia, preceding the opera’s translation into Russian and its triumph on the stage of the Russian Imperial Opera in 1885. Since then, Carmen has been largely perceived in Russia as a symbolic image of Spain. An information is provided about the performances, as well as about the performers of the title role: M. A. Slavina, E. K. Pavlovskaya, and M. Figner.

Carmen on the Soviet Opera Stage

The article deals with the history of the reception of Bizet’s opera during the Soviet era. The examined topics include the specifics of the symbolization of its image in mass culture, the rise of new connotations conditioned by the ideological and artistic contexts of the Soviet epoch, the most important staging conceptions of the ‘20–30s, the adaptations of the opera’s different meanings by means of ‘word about music’. The comparative analysis of the main role’s stage interpretations shows how the verbal elucidations of the opera’s substance influenced the Carmen performance canon in Soviet theatres.

A Russian Composer’s European Triumph: Stabat Mater by G. Pergolesi – A. F. L’vov

The article traces the history of performances of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater in Aleksey L’vov’s arrangement for two solo voices, choir and large orchestra (1831) in Russia and Europe. The features of the Russian version of the European composer’s work are analyzed. A hypothesis on the relation between the work’s fortune and the commission to compose the Russian national anthem, given to L’vov by Tsar Nicholas I, is put forward. The possible influence of L’vov’s ideas on European musical practice and on Wagner is discussed. 

A. F. L’vov’s Opera Bianca E Gualtiero

This article is the fi contemporary study specially dealing with Aleksey L’vov’s fi opera Bianca e Gualtiero and its fate. The history of its success in Europe and the reasons of its failure in Russia are analyzed.

Akimov and Shostakovich’s Hamlet: a ‘Shakesperiment’

Shostakovich’s incidental music to Nikolay Akimov’s notorious Hamlet staged at the Vakhtangov Theatre, Moscow, in 1932, is analyzed in detail with due attention to its often contradictory relations with the director’s ideas which, judging from archival documents, for different reasons could not be realized to the full extent. Obviously, Akimov had no intention of turning Hamlet into a comedy or farce, though his staging was perceived (and is still described in special literature) as a parody of Shakespeare’s tragedy rather than as ‘a creative interpretation of Hamlet using methods and devices of our theatre, taking into consideration the concrete situation of Shakespeare’s era’, as Akimov himself put it. Shostakovich’s music, on the contrary, was largely perceived as the most ‘Shakespearian’ aspect of the whole enterprise. By composing a self-contained score for Hamlet, Shostakovich stuck to his earlier manifesto (published 1931) of not submitting to the instructions of theatre directors. Could we perhaps go further and say that in avoiding compromises and following his inner light, Shostakovich composed music that was simply too good for the production, and hence inadvertently exposed its shortcomings? The only way to test this hypothesis would be a reconstruction of the entire production — a project which faces almost insuperable difficulties.

An Old Secret of an Orchestrion

The article describes the history of Tchaikovsky’s ‘orchestrion’ purchased by the P.I. Tchaikovsky Museum-Estate in Votkinsk. Disproving the instrument’s involvement in the composer’s childhood, the present study has at the same time discovered many interesting facts concerning the origin of the instrument and its appearance in the exposition.

Biographic Writings on the Composers of the Era of Catherine the Great: Correlation Between Documents, Legends, And Myths

The article deals with the biographics of major Russian composers of the era of Catherine the Great, whose life stories have been cluttered with riddles, ambiguities, and inaccuracies. The elements of mythologization in their biographies are revealed. Especially noteworthy in this respect is the biography of Maksim Berezovsky. The most controversial moments of writings dealing with his life are analyzed, arguments pro et contra some theses found in scholarly literature are discussed. The importance of context for understanding a biographical text is emphasized.

Two tables are proposed, dedicated to life and work of two greatest composers of that epoch, Berezovsky and Dmitriy Bortnyansky. The data in both tables are distributed among three columns: 1) information from documents and autograph manuscripts (high level of reliability); 2) information from the testimonies of contemporaries and close descendants (medium level of reliability); 3) information from fi tion and scholarly writings lacking a documentary confirmation (low level of reliability).

Gandharva Sangita: the High Music of India of the First Millenium B.C.

The three-thousand-year-old history of Indian music culture is unique owing not only to its long-term continuous existence but also to its faithful observance of traditions. A study of Gandharva Sangita (6th—5th centuries B. C. — 2nd—3rd centuries A. D.) — the ‘high’ music that has become a theoretical basis for Rag Sangit (the raga-based music), which is thriving in our time — provides a possibility to penetrate to the depths of this ancient, thoroughly elaborated musical system and to comprehend the essence of the logically substantiated, organic evolution towards the next phase of the historical development of Indian music. The materials pertaining to that remote epoch have not been sufficiently studied due to a limited availability of treatises and the specificity of their texts. In particular, the notations of stage songs, found in the treatises and done with the help of the original Svara Lipi system (Devanagari alphasyllabary), still remain all but unexplored. Several examples in original notation and in my ‘translation’ to European notation are published in the present article.

Krzysztof Penderecki’s Offering

The article is dedicated to Penderecki’s Psalm 3 for choir a cappella – a piece composed in 2015 specially for the centenary of the Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Empire.

On the Application of the Term ‘Micro-Thematic’ for the Analysis of Chamber Works by Rakhmaninov and Brahms

The article points out to structural and compositional similarities between chamber works by Rakhmaninov and Brahms. The analogies are based on both composers’ use of the so-called micro-thematic Method.

Origins of the Rakhmaninov Chord

The article is dedicated to the ‘Rakhmaninov chord’ — the only element of Rakhmani-nov’s harmonic language that has acquired the status of his ‘personal’ chord. The chord’s scholarly interpretations and contradictions between them are discussed; a special attention is paid to the chord’s origins and to the reasons why it has occupied so important place in Rakhmaninov’s oeuvre.

Prokofiev: Reflections on an Anniversary, And A Plea for a New Critical Edition

This article looks at how censorship affected Prokofiev’s later Soviet works and in certain instances concealed his creative intentions. In the first half I discuss the changes imposed on his three Soviet ballets; in the second half I consider his little-known, pre-Soviet Things in Themselves and what these two piano pieces reveal about his creative outlook in general. I also address his Eighth Piano Sonata in this context. Prokofiev, I argue, thought of his music as abstract, pure, even when he attached it to words and choreographies. A new Prokofiev critical edition would peel away the layers of censorship to ascertain how his original thoughts changed, under different kinds of influence. This is more than a question of historical fidelity, but instead a matter of aesthetic urgency, one that relates to the Prokofiev celebrations held last year across the Russian Federation and elsewhere in 2016.

WRITING ON MUSIC IN RUSSIAN DIASPORA: annotated catalogue of articles published in russian-language press of the late 1910s and the first half of the 1920s

The present publication of the catalogue of materials from the Russian-language Belgrade newspaper Novoe vremya (‘New Time’) of 1922 opens the project ‘Writing on Music in Russian Diaspora: an
Annotated Catalogue of Articles Published by Russian-Language Press Abroad’.

Reception of Alban Berg’s Music in the USSR

Reception of Alban Berg’s music in Russia of the 1920–30s is determined by the Leningrad premiere of his opera Wozzeck. This event was studied by I. A. Barsova and O. A. Bobrik. However, they did not touch upon a number of materials, mainly from foreign archives, including private correspondence, memoirs, critiques, and reviews. The topics that need clarification include unrealized plans for productions of Wozzek in other Soviet cities, Soviet performances of other works by Berg, as well as some circumstances related to Berg’s articles written with an intention to publish them in Russia. The article represents an attempt to comprehend the currently available range of sources and to outline prospects for a further study of the reception of Berg in Russia.

The Armenian Octoëchos and Khaz Notation as Phenomena of Medieval Christian Culture

Though the medieval Armenian hymnography is based on the same general principles as the hymnography of other churches, the Armenian hymnody has retained some archaic traits which, obviously, disappeared from other traditions. The most important categories of medieval hymnography include the neumatic (in Armenian, khaz) notation and the octoëchos – a system of eight canonized melodic models, serving as source material for the whole body of hymn tunes. The article, on the example of the Armenian neumes and the Armenian version of octoëchos, reveals some essential characteristics of the archaic hymnody. It is shown that during the late Middle Ages the initial, strictly organized and canonized system disintegrated, giving way for individual creation. The article is intended to ‘demythologize’ the so-called khaz problem, which has been inadequately interpreted in the Armenian literature.

The Mystery of an Old Photograph

Among numerous rarities stored in the Manuscript Office of the Russian Institute for Art History and related to the history of Russian music, there is a rare photograph from a little known oil painting depicting the choristers of the Court Chapel, led by its director Aleksey (Alexis) Fëdorovich L’vov (1798–1870), in the presence of numerous listeners, among whom Pauline Viardot-Garcia is particularly notable. A detailed investigation of this photograph enabled us to identify several persons depicted in the concert hall, as well as to discover the original painting in the collection of the State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg and to clarify some points related to the history of the painting during the twentieth century.

To Sing or Not to Sing: the Signification of Operatic Mode of Utterance in Sergey Prokofiev’s Betrothal In A Monastery

From the very beginning of his operatic career Sergey Prokofiev positioned himself as a proponent of through-composed opera, uninterrupted plot development, and blurring of traditional division between aria and recitative. In this sense Betrothal in a Monastery (1940) represents an interesting exception in Prokofiev’s operatic oeuvre. Along with a typical opera buffa plot, the composer adopted some of the stylistic features of the eighteenth-century opera. By giving a semiotic analysis of the operatic mode of utterance, I aim to uncover the appropriate range of meaning associated with the part of each character. Prokofiev’s approach to the operatic singing as old-fashioned, unnatural, and conventionalized allows to view this opera as a sort of musical manifesto of his operatic credo.

Nikolay Sidelnikov’s School of Composition

Nikolay Sidelnikov (1930 – 1992) was one of the leading composition teachers at the Moscow Conservatoire; his pupils include a number of the most noteworthy Moscow composers representing various stylistic directions. The phenomenon of Sidelnikov’s school has not been explored yet. His pedagogical method has been called unique. The present article makes an attempt at analyzing wherein lies Sidelnikov’s unique methodology of teaching the theory and practice of composition.

Opere Semiserie by Gioachino Rossini

The article deals with Rossini’s four opere semiserie — L’inganno felice (1812), Torvaldo e Dorliska (1815), La Gazza Ladra (1817) and Matilde di Shabran ossia Belezza e Cuor di Ferro (1821). Their genre and structural features are analyzed in detail. A special objective is to examine La Gazza Ladra as a classic example of opera semiseria and to demonstrate the impact made by it on the formation of the genre canon.

Portrait of an Unknown Musician from Ostankino Museum-Estate: New Findings

Preserved in the collection of the Moscow Museum-estate Ostankino, an anonymous portrait of an unknown musician at the harpsichord (also known as a portrait of the composer Yevstigney Fomin) for a long time has been a matter of a special interest for Russian 18th century music and painting researchers. Our recent study of the music line written down on the canvas has made it possible to reveal some unique handwritten sources containing the tune from the picture in music libraries of Europe and USA in versions for different instruments. Despite the fact that the identity of the pictured musician cannot be established decisively, new data allows us to make some assumptions about the origin of this mysterious portrait and to clarify the circle of possible sitters. 


The annotated translation of the chapter from a monograph by the great German philosopher, sociologist and musicologist Theodor Adorno (1903–1969), who for some time was a composition student of Alban Berg. One of the most intelligent and subtle connoisseur of the Berg’s music, Adorno was the author of numerous articles about his work, which subsequently merged into the book Berg. Master of the Smallest Link. The ‘Reminiscence’ is based on the obituary written by Adorno in 1935 and on his memoirs completed 20 years later. Translation from German and notes by Yu. S. Veksler. Previously unpublished in Russian.

The Musical Chronicle of the Patriotic War of 1812

The article is dedicated to the virtually unexplored topic of immediate musical reactions to the events of the Patriotic War of 1812 in the oeuvre of Russian composers and of foreign musicians working in Russia.

Bibliography as a Reality and as a Source (Exploring Some Theoretical Aspects of Rakhmaninov’s Oeuvre)

The article reflects its author’s long-standing interest in the investigation of Rakhmaninov’s harmony and orchestration. Trying to establish the priorities and historical continuity in connection with the use of some theoretical terms and notions, the author had to enlarge the scope of bibliographical sources by students’ writings (term papers, degree works), which are usually disregarded in scholarly literature. Having studied the whole body of texts enumerated in the supplements to the present article, the author comes to conclusion that the time for a generalizing fundamental study of Rakhmaninov’s musical style has not come yet.

Euphony and Paraphony as Music-Theoretical Categories

The present text is an excerpt from the large work in progress, provisionally entitled Theoretical Foundations of the New Music: from Debussy and Schoenberg to Our Days. Studying some stylistically heterogeneous phenomena of the music of recent past, we have come to conclusion that there are good reasons to include the notion of euphony and its antonym, here termed ‘paraphony’, in the contemporary music-theoretical lexicon. Both notions can be useful as categories, characterizing something essential for an important part of new music and defying adequate description by means of more traditional methodology and terminology.

Puccini’s La Bohème in Russia: 1897-2018

The article’s subject matter is the reception of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème in Russia — from the 1897 Russian première realized by Savva Mamontov’s private opera to the Bolshoy Theatre production of 2018. The Russian interpretations of La Bohème have their specific traits conditioned both by the peculiarities of the national character and by the attitude towards the social status of ‘bohemians’ (in Soviet times such people were referred to as ‘artistic intelligentsia’). The characteristic features of the opera’s Russian stagings include the striving to impart more spirituality to the bohemians’ frivolous mode of life and to highlight the anti-bourgeois pathos in their behaviour and in their life conditions. Typically for Russian stagings, Mimi is shown as a tragically doomed heroine, and the parts of both Mimi and Rodolfo are treated in an emphasizedly serene, lyrical mode. These and other features of the Russian La Bohème are discussed in the present article.

The Director of the Imperial Theatres A. M. Gedeonov: the Moscow Sources of his Career as St Petersburg Theatre Manager

This is the first attempt to throw light on the Moscow period of the life and career of A.M. Gedeonov (1791–1867), who is remembered as highly authoritative director of the Russian Imperial Theatres. The examined topics include Gedeonov’s Moscow environment, his experience of managing the Italian opera company, his participation in the city’s important cultural events, his immediate contacts with the organizers of the Moscow theatrical life. All this had an impact on his future activities as an outstanding theatre manager.

E. A. Stark and his Works on Music and Theatre

The article deals with the figure of E. A. Stark – a remarkable music and theatre critic, historian of opera productions at the Russian Imperial Theatres, author of biographical essays on the singers who were active at the Imperial Theaters during the second half of the 19th and the early 20th century. New data on his life, articles and books, as well as rare photos are presented. Though E. A. Stark’s life and activity was strongly affected by the fateful turning point of 1917, the cultural tradition of theatre and music criticism of the Russian Silver Age persisted in his works until the very end. 

Richard Wagner’s “Stage Festival Play”. a Revolutionary Festivity and the Religion of Art

This annotated translation of the article by the great German scholar Carl Dahlhaus (1928–1989) is to be published in the collection of his selected articles on music history and theory, translated and commented by Stepan Naumovich (St Petersburg: N. I. Novikov publishers). Dahlhaus’s last Wagner-related article is especially rich in fascinating turns of the author’s thought and in unexpected perspectives on the seemingly well-known music-historical material. This makes the translation of Dahlhaus’s work especially important for Russian “Wagneriana” and, more generally, for the opera-related scholarship in Russia.

Theatricalization and Dramatization of Chamber Genres in Robert Schumann’s Vocal Music

This publication is an excerpt from the forthcoming book on Robert Schumann’s song theatre. The article deals with Schumann’s late chamber vocal music and its connections with poetry and theatre. The genre evolution is studied on the example of works that are transitional between vocal cycle and mono-opera (opp. 104, 117 and 135) and between vocal cycle and cantata (opp. 74 and 138). A definition of the term ‘theatricalization’ is proposed.

Theory of Intonation and Musical Gesture Studies: Perspectives of Interaction and Synthesis

Among the recent musical gesture studies, a number of theories are quite close to the theory of intonation, founded by outstanding Russian scholars B. Asafiev and B. Yavorsky (Jaworski). The article’s main purpose is to reveal analogies between them and to outline the ways of their possible interaction and synthesis. The article contains a brief overview of the 20th century thinkers’ ideas and statements on gesture. It also provides a general panorama of music-related gesture studies of the last three decades. A special section is devoted to the role of gesture in the oeuvre of contemporary avant-garde composers. The central part of the article focuses on the analysis of R. Hatten’s, A. Cox’s, and M. Imberty’s theories. The last two sections deal with my own concept of ‘imprint’ of gesture in musical space and the resulting possibilities for the analysis of the historical development of art music in the 20th century.

Women’s Musical Education in Russia in the Early 20-th Century and the Role of A.V. Nikolsky in Its Formation

Due to the reform of the Russian secondary school conceived by D. A. Tolstoy and M. N. Katkov, the Russian society began to pay more attention to the problems of musical education. Music was assigned a crucial role in rearing the young people’s aesthetic sensibility, especially through the lessons of singing as the most democratic form of musical tuition. In the present article, the measures directed towards the realization of this task are listed; the statistics of the growth of public, departmental and private female schools and gymnasia are given. A. V. Nikol’sky’s role in the formation of the women’s musical education is described. The archival data concerning the teachers of sacred and secular singing in the Moscow schools and privileged educational institutes are cited. Nikol’sky’s ‘Programme of singing for the Moscow municipal primary colleges’ is characterized. The conclusion runs: on the eve of the October coup d’état, the general musical education in Russia was on an unusually high level, and women not only became firmly established in choral groups, but also began to direct church choirs.

In Air Clear and Unseen (1994): Texts, Sub-Texts and Intonations Within the Piano Quintet of Alexander Knaifel

In Air Clear and Unseen: Stanzas with Tyutchev for Piano and String Quartet (1994) is a work that can be regarded as seminal within the mature oeuvre of the Russian composer Alexander Knaifel. Compositionally ascetic and harmonically static to the point of inertia, the work comprises, paradoxically, a complex array of significations as its intended semantic import. In connection, it demonstrates a wide variety of both musical and linguistic strategies not only to convey and facilitate these intended significations, but also to obscure them, with many of the strategies employed appearing radical and/or aiming to extend the role of both performer and listener. With much of Knaifel’s later oeuvre currently unpublished, what follows is the first published analysis of the work; the first in-depth examination and critique of these strategies, discussed within the context of Knaifel’s approach to meaning.


Dissertations defended in 2008–12


Theory and Practice of New Music in the Academic Courses of the Moscow State Conservatoire

Papers delivered by Russian scholars at the conference ‘Musicians and Musicologists as Teachers’, organized by the University of Bologna in collaboration with the journal Il Saggiatore musicale and the International Musicological Society (Bologna, May 2014).

The New Music occupies currently an important place in the Conservatoire’s curriculum, including the fundamental courses of music history, harmony, counterpoint, musical forms, etc. Since the early 2000s some new special courses have been added. They are given by the members of the Conservatoire’s Contemporary Music Department. The contents of the courses are related to the specialization of students. For example, the future composers are studying especially new composition techniques, while for the future performers new repertoires and new techniques of playing are more important. There is also a post-graduate class on contemporary orchestra, offering a specialization in the field of New Music performance practice and serving as a base for the internationally renowned ensemble of soloists Studio for New Music.

Musiktheoretische Studie der Arienform in Italienischer Opern des 18. Jahrhunderts und die Umgestaltung des Formenlehrekursus

Papers delivered by Russian scholars at the conference ‘Musicians and Musicologists as Teachers’, organized by the University of Bologna in collaboration with the journal Il Saggiatore musicale and the International Musicological Society (Bologna, May 2014).

The paper focuses on the question of the place occupied by the 18th century Italian aria in the general system of musical forms. This question is relevant for both music theory and pedagogy. Whether aria influenced instrumental genres or this process was inversed?

Throughout the history of professional musical education in Russia (since the 19th century to the present day) both the general music theory and courses of musical form were usually based on instrumental music. However, studies in recent decades show that in the crystallization of a number of structures and principles of composition in the first half of the 18th century aria takes the priority position . The principles in question include that of ritornello underlying the Baroque concerto; the principles of recapitulation and ternary form established in the Italian arias in the 1680s (earlier than in the instrumental genres); the principle of thematic contrast . The Italian opera played a key role in the formation of the attributes of classical musical theme, including its lexical topoi, its homophony treatment, its metric and syntactic periodicity, and the fractionality of its motivic structure. The establishment of the two-subject sonata form took place in the framework of da capo aria simultaneously with instrumental music (1720–50s). The Italian aria played a decisive role in the birth of sonata form with double exposition, which is typical for the classical concerto.

In my course of musical form for musicologists and performers at the Russian Gnessins Academy of Music I discuss the theory and history of the 17th and 18th century musical forms taking into account all these factors . This introduces significant adjustments in the traditional practice of musical form teaching in Russia and thus brings the students’ understanding closer to the real processes that occurred in the music of the 18th century.

25TH Anniversary of the Tchaikovsky Society Symposium in Tübingen (Eberhard Karls University, 7–9 June 2018)

On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, the Tchaikovsky Society in cooperation with the University of Tübingen organized an international symposium devoted to the analyse of Tchaikovsky’s music (“Tchaikovsky Analyses – new strategies, methods and perspectives”). The review of the symposium papers is accompanied by a brief description of the activities of the Society, as well as some observations on the status of analytical studies of Tchaikovsky’s work in Germany and Russia. 


Bibliographic News
Presentation of new editions: N. Yu. Plotnikova’s monograph on Russian partesnïy (polyphonic) chant, collection of articles and materials in memory of Yu. V. Keldïsh, new issue of the series ‘Russian Orthodox Church Singing in the 20th Century’.
A review of recent publication on Russian Orthodox musical culture
Review of the book: Vlasova Ye. S. The Year 1948 in Soviet Music. A Documented Study. Moscow: Klassika XXI. 2010. 456 p.
Once more about Glinka’s tourism and its consequences

The review of the book Glinka’s Wanderings. Commentary to “The Memoirs”. Part III. Journey to the Pyrenees, or Spanish Arabesques by S. V. Tyshko and G. V. Kukol’ (Kiev, 2011) consists of three parts. The first part considers a novelty of the authors’ answer to the question: why did Glinka travel to Spain? The second part is devoted to methodological aspects of the study. The third part includes comments on the book from the leading Ukrainian scholars Nina Gerasimova-Persydska, Maryna Cherkashyna-Gubarenko and Elena Zinkevich.

New editions on the 18th century music
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Evolution and Metamorphoses of Traditional Musicological Categories in the New Music. Chapter 2 – Melody

The present text is an excerpt from the large work in progress, provisionally entitled Theoretical Foundations of the New Music: from Debussy and Schoenberg to Our Days. The work will consist of two parts: 1. ‘Evolution and Metamorphoses of Traditional Musicological Categories in the New Music’; 2. ‘Tendencies, Movements, Leaders of the New Music: a Historical Survey’. Here is presented the 2nd chapter of Part 1, ‘Melody’, in three sections: 2.1. ‘The Melodic Writing of the New Viennese Classics; 2.2. ‘The Melodic Factor under the Conditions of Serial Rhetoric’; 2.3. ‘The Development of the Idea of Klangfarbenmelodie. The Melodic Writing in New Contexts. The Universal Features of a “Good” Melody’.

Sonic Ruins of Modernity: Folksongs in the Post-Tradition Era

The present text is an introduction to the forthcoming book Sonic Ruins of Modernity: Folksongs in the Post-Tradition Era by Israeli musicologist Edwin Seroussi. The author comments on the substantial changes in the concept of tradition in the 20th century and suggests his own approach to the folk song tradition in the modern era, i. e. hypothesis of viewing a folksong as a place, a site of ruins that is visited and revisited during any utterance of and exposure to it. Taking folksongs in Judeo-Spanish as a case study, Seroussi proposes a methodology that was created to explore the interactions of the minute interplay of the individual memories, artistic initiatives, political manipulations, media policies, and scholarly undertakings that shape the ‘cosmic game of tradition’ (Richard Taruskin) in the 20th century.

Spain as Seen by Glinka: Travel and Stopover

This text is a chapter of the forthcoming book from the series entitled “Glinka’s Wanderings”. Trying to comprehend the spirit of the epoch and to give a meaning to the forgotten or little known ideas and images croping up from the pages of Glinka’s memoirs, the authors explore texts by writers from different countries, depicting their reception of Spain. The travelogues of A. Dumas, V. Botkin, R. Ford, Th. Gautier, W. Irving, P. Mérimée and G. Sand, as well as the letters of F. Chopin and F. Liszt not only provide rich information about Spain, but also allow to sense the enthusiasm of pioneers in the face of new and uncommon land, which until the mid-19th century remained a kind of terra incognita for the most part of Glinka’s contemporaries.

“Russian Wagner” on the Pages of Doctor Zhivago

This article is a part of the monograph Classical Music in the Soviet Era Myth Making, due for publication in Moscow (“Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie” publishing house). The article examines the influence of symbolist aesthetics, mediated by Wagnerian motives, on Pasternak’s novel Doctor Zhivago. The functioning of the motives in question in the novel has its roots in the reception of Wagner’s oeuvre by the culture of the Russian Silver Age.

Models of Musical Speech

This publication – an excerpt from the forthcoming book “Music in the Mirror of Philosophical Reflection of Islamic Civilization: Classical Theory and Contemporary Practice” – discusses the architectonics of musical speech as an image of the world. The main attention is paid to the heterogeneity of the philosophical reflection and classical theoretical thought of the 10th – 15th centuries and to the explanation of the differences in onthological principles, revealing to us two different musical images of world. Therefore our special objective is to establish the system-making factors of the interaction between musical language and musical speech, allowing to clarify the notion of “Islamic music” in the light of the special behavious of the basic structure known as maqām.


Konstantin A. Kuznetsov’s Work for Moscow News (1934–39)

The article deals with the history of collaboration of the outstanding Russian musicologist Konstantin Kuznetsov with the American-Soviet printed media project Moscow News. The analysis of his numerous articles and reviews written in English adds new facts to his bi-ography and throws new light on his activities, as well as on his personality. The article is supplemented with lists of Kuznetsov’s publications in Moscow News and Moscow Daily News, as well as with original English texts of some of his writings (see Publi-cations).


WRITING ON MUSIC IN RUSSIAN DIASPORA: annotated catalogue of articles published in russian-language press of the late 1910s and the first half of the 1920s

The present publication of the catalogue of materials from the Russian-language Belgrade newspaper Novoe vremya (‘New Time’) of 1922 opens the project ‘Writing on Music in Russian Diaspora: an Annotated Catalogue of Articles Published by Russian-Language Press Abroad’. 

Writing On Music In Russian Diaspora: annotated catalogue of articles published in russian-language press of the late 1910s and the first half of the 1920s

The present publication of the catalogue of materials from the Russian-language Belgrade newspaper Novoe vremya (‘New Time’) of 1925 continues the project ‘Writing on Music in Russian Diaspora: an Annotated Catalogue of Articles Published by Russian-Language Press Abroad’.

Stepan Anikievich Degtyarev. Catalogue of His Church Concertos

The catalogue embraces the entire available information on Stepan Anikievich Degtyarev’s church concertos. Links to the editions of his newly discovered works, to audio and video recordings, as well as to bibliographical materials are provided. Each work is described in detail; the incipits of all concertos are given. 

Stepan Anikievich Degtyarev. Catalogue of His Church Concertos. Part 2

The catalogue embraces the entire available information on Stepan Anikievich Degtyarev’s church concertos. Links to the editions of his newly discovered works, to audio and video recordings, as well as to bibliographical materials are provided. Each work is described in detail; the incipits of all concertos are given.


The Musical Classics in the Myth-Building of Soviet Era

This book is the first attempt to reconstruct the history of the reception of classical musical heritage during the Soviet era. The book’s materials include various documents interpreting the meanings of classical music: music-critical and musicological writings, political documents, musical and literary works, films, and sources on the history of Soviet theatre.

As a result, the book’s ‘heroes’ include not only the classical composers, whose music is mirrored in the interpretations of the Soviet era, but also politicians, philosophers, historians, writers, poets, theatre and film directors and actors, ballet masters, artists and, naturally, musicians and musicologists. The study is centred upon the principles and mechanisms of the ‘reduction’ of classical heritage that took place during the Soviet era; it surveys the influence of such a reduction on the perception of music by mass audiences and on the Soviet art in general, and reveals its role in the formation of the concept of ‘Soviet culture’. The historical context of the popularization of classical music in the Soviet culture is analyzed, as is the formation of the image of classical music that still affects the present-day mass consciousness.

Music and literature at the time of Soviet Union


Alexandr Glazunov’s Letters to His Daughter

This is the first publication of Glazunov’s letters to his foster daughter Elena Günther-Glazunova, dating from January to December 1933. The letters throw additional light on many details of Glazunov’s artistic and private life in emigration and on his relationships with Russian and foreign musicians.

K. A. Kuznetsov. Selected Articles (1934–37)

A selection of articles written by the outstanding musicologist Konstantin Kuznetsov (1883–1953) in English for the weekly Moscow News and the Moscow Daily News in the mid-1930s and lists of publications is presented.

Sergey Vasil’evich Evseyev. Fragments of Notebooks: 1922–32

The notebooks of the outstanding music theorist Sergey Evseyev are of great interest as a document of the Soviet era, evoking many pages of the history of the Moscow Conservatoire, of the capital’s opera and dramatic theatre, and of the everyday life of the musical community during a turbulent decade in the history of the Russian musical culture.
Introductory article, publication and commentaries by Olesya Bobrik.

Unknown Versions of Several Episodes from Shostakovich’s The Nose

Among the manuscript materials pertaining to Shostakovich’s opera The Nose, kept at the Russian State Archive of Literature and Arts and at the Shostakovich Archives, several previously unknown excerpts have been found: entr’actes between the 3rd and 4th scenes of Act I and between the 1st and 2nd scenes of Act II, as well as a version of the beginning of Act III. The autograph manuscripts and authorized fair copies are described; they will be published in the New Collected Works by Shostakovich (Moscow: DSCH publishers).