VARIATIONS ON AN OLD RUSSIAN CHANT: NOSTALGIA FOR IMPERIAL RUSSIA IN THE VLADIMIR DUKELSKY’S OEUVRE

Abstract:

The article explores Variations on an Old Russian Chant for Oboe and Strings by Vladimir Dukelsky (1955) as an example of the “Russian theme” (using the term by M. Druskin) which is not typical for Dukelsky’s late works. Variations is one of the few classical compositions by Duke recorded during his lifetime. As is shown in the table, the Russian theme had been a high priority in Dukelsky’s oeuvre till the late 1930s, while during the next decade (after taking the US citizenship) the composer almost gave it up. Variations appeared in the time of historical changes. This work marked Duke’s nostalgia for the “imperial” period of Russian history. That year Duke published his first book—memoirs Passport to Paris. At the same time, he entered into the long-lasting collaboration with the Radio Liberty. As a musical text and a historical document, Variations correlate with the question put by Prof. Richard Taruskin: Is There a “Russia Abroad” in Music? Variations are modal by nature and formulaic in structure. The composer made a very flexible use of the formulaic principle in his series of variations where the initial theme changed beyond recognition. The analysis of historical documents suggests that in his late works Dukelsky sought to give his own perspective on the historical mission of the first-wave émigré.

4. Maximova article 2021-3

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Антонина Сергеевна Максимова – кандидат искусствоведения, доцент кафедры истории музыки Петрозаводской государственной консерватории имени А.К. Глазунова

Antonina S. Maksimova is a Candidate in Art Studies, Associate Professor of the History of Music Department at the Petrozavodsk State Glazunov Conservatory

E-mail: x-tonik@mail.ru

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