MAXIM BEREZOVSKY’S CONCERTO DO NOT REJECT ME IN MY OLD AGE: A PERSPECTIVE FROM JOHANN JOSEPH FUX’ SCHOOL OF FUGUE
The fugues in the 1st and 4th movements of Maxim Berezovsky’s sacred concerto Do Not Reject Me in My Old Age, created no later than 1768, are probably among the first ones composed by him. Fugues differ in their texture. Written for four voices, the fugue of the first movement is, in fact, two-voice. Here, solo and ensemble statements alternate with choral interludes. The form of the 4th movement is a four-part fugue without solo episodes. At the same time, fugues have the same compositional structure: four sections delimited by cadences on the principal scale degrees V, III, and I. The uniformity and, at the same time, uniqueness of the structure of both fugues suggests that they follow a certain pattern or reproduce a scholarly model.
An attempt to track this model in the 17th-18th century treatises by G. Karissimi, J. A. Reincken, G. Bononcini, J. Mattheson, J. J. Fux, J.A. Scheibe, M. Spiess, and F. W. Marpurg leads to Gradus ad Parnassum (1725) by Johann Joseph Fux—the most sought-after treatise on composition back in the 18th century. Two-part examples from the first part of Gradus ad Parnassum may have served as a hypothetical model of fugues from Do Not Reject Me in My Old Age. They also consist of sections completed by cadences on the V, III and I degrees. At the same time, cadences in the fugue Let Them be Ashamed (the 4th movement of the Concerto) are consistent with Fux’ remarks about the use of cadences in the conditions of polyphony. However, Berezovsky’s approaches are not always consistent with the ideas of Gradus ad Parnassum. This is partly due to the difference in the modal systems used by Fux and Berezovsky, and, partly, due to the difference in their ultimate goals: educational and artistic, respectively.5. Diskin article 2022-1