2018 ¹ 18

The present issue is dedicated to some topical problems of Russian and foreign musicology. S. Petukhova and G. Bériachvili examine the peculiarities of musical intonation on the material of works by Rakhmaninov and Brahms (Petukhova) and by some relatively ‘advanced’ contemporary composers (Bériachvili). Yu. Veksler’s article introduces unknown materials related to the reception of Alban Berg’s music, especially of his opera Wozzeck, in the USSR. Th. Adorno’s reminiscences of Berg, translated into Russian and commented by Yu. Veksler, considerably enriches our knowledge about the composer’s human and creative image. The British scholar T. Wilson provides a detailed analysis of a still unpublished major composition by the outstanding contemporary Russian composer Aleksandr Knaifel. The large-scale paper on the shortcomings of contemporary education of music historians, written by the leading specialist in ancient and Byzantine music E. Gertsman, is published as a matter for discussion.

The issue contains also a summary of the recently published new volume of the encyclopaedic edition ‘Musical Saint Petersburg. 19th Century. 1801–1861. Vol. 14: Materials for an Encyclopaedia’.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Education of Music Historians: Past, Present and Future

The situation in the realm of education of music historians is assessed by the author as catastrophic — first of all because the conservatoire programmes do not pay due attention to the music of Antiquity and the Middle Ages, as well as the music of non-European cultures. As a result, the notions and categories pertaining to the European music of last three or four centuries are often interpreted erroneously, since their relation to the musical thinking of remote past remains either obscure or misunderstood. The author traces the historical developments that brought to such a situation, outlines the possible ways to overcome it, and brings positive examples from the recent practice of the St Petersburg Conservatoire.