Category: 3/2021

“…SUPPORT IS EVERYWHERE”. An interview with Irina P. Susidko

Abstract: Irina P. Susidko, Full Professor, Doctor of Art Studies, Head of the Analytical Musicology Department at the Gnesin Russian Academy of Music, is one of the leading musicologists in Russia. She is a Chair of the Academy’s Dissertation Council. She supervises graduate theses and doctoral dissertations. She also leads a range of international research projects: an online journal Contemporary Musicology and two regular conferences— Opera in Musical Theater: History and Present Time and Musical Composition. Musical Composition was initiated by professors of the Analytical Musicology Department. The conference focuses on current issues in studying music, its internal canons, the development history of its idiom and material, as well as state of the art in the technique of musical composition. The goal of the research forum Opera in Musical Theater is to explore opera as a synthetic phenomenon in all its multiple dimensions: music, poetry and literature, scenography, vocal performance, and the director’s vision. In her interview, Irina Susidko spoke about the conferences taking place in 2021 and new opportunities that opened up for the Academy due to its victory in the “Priority 2030” program. Download the article

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 As a musical text and a historical document, Variations correlate with the question put by Prof.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. Download the article

MUSIC IS AN ARCHITECTURE REVIVED: A GOTHIC CATHEDRAL AS A MODEL FOR A PERFECT MUSICAL COMPOSITION AS SEEN BY VINCENT D’INDY

Abstract: Vincent d’Indy developed his own understanding of the ideal algorithm of constructing musical forms. In support of his concept, he took a general artistic perspective. His aim, apparently, was to confirm the special status of the suggested compositional strategies as universal for different kinds of art. These strategies are grounded in such categories as rhythm, order, proportionality, and symmetry inherent to any kind of spatial/temporal art with architecture and music representing the extremes of the spatial/temporal continuum. D’Indy established the correlations between the spatial/temporal arts by embracing the ideas of Hegel, Ruskin, and Lévesque. To explore these ideas, the article resorts to the cultural and historical analysis. D’Indy argues that the “cyclic principle” is the most mature historically and the most perfect constructively. The principle applied exclusively to multi-movement compositions has its basis in the translational symmetry of the initial pattern-cell together with its variant renewal. The “cyclic principle” finds its supreme realization in the “cyclic sonata” and the Gothic cathedral. The article is the first attempt to analyse how the “cyclic principle” is used per se, while its particular implementation in music has repeatedly been discussed. The latter was initiated by d’Indy himself in his Cours de Composition Musicale. A step-by-step method of putting the cyclic principle into practice, regardless of the artistic material, is derived by applying the comparative analysis, which helps to develop universal models for working with repetitive patterns in spatial and temporal arts. The analysis revealed the following: first, a “cyclic element” is represented by a syntactically articulated structure which may function as an initial compositional unit (from musical cells to sculptural details); second, the elaboration on the artistic material in music and architecture is done through rhythmic transformations of patterns resulting in the new internal structure with the core preserved. The latter ensures the implementation of the aesthetic maxim “unity in diversity”, seen by d’Indy as crucial in constructing the artistic whole. Download the article

APPROACHES TO RECAPITULATION IN THE MUSICAL FORMS OF CLASSICAL STYLE AND ROMANTICISM

Abstract: The article explores recapitulation as a specific musical phenomenon which is rare in the arts that exist in time. The article reveals a deep dialectic of the recapitulation as an agent of development and affirmation which drives changes even with literal repetition. Recapitulation is a convincing proof that academic music tends to produce complete and substantive musical forms. The analysis is deliberately limited to ternary and sonata forms. They are associated with the most effective use of recapitulation as well as with the organic combination of several approaches to form building. Based on the system of views developed primarily in Russian musicology, the article reveals a specific role of recapitulation and its characteristics. It further explores the role of repeatability which is manifest in the arts with high level of generalization (“pure” instrumental music, architecture, choreography). The recapitulation in classical and romantic music is analyzed through its perception by a competent listener with a developed “sense of recapitulation”. This approach allows to focus on the effect of “frustrated expectations” as well as various interpretations and unique artistic solutions offered by composers. Theme and harmony are seen as the foundations of form (as a type of composition). They are used to approach retransition as well as a more or less significant reworking of the recapitulation which is sometimes expected at its very beginning. A special focus is given to individual approaches to recapitulation in the works by W. A. Mozart, L. Beethoven, J. Brahms, and S. Rachmaninoff. In view of the above, the author concludes that recapitulation is a complex phenomenon, which, to a certain extent, accumulates some essential qualities of European academic music of the second half of the 18th-19th centuries. Download the article

RESEARCH IN THE GNESSINS RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF MUSIC: PRIORITY 2030 PROGRAM. Interview with A.S. Ryzhinsky and T.I. Naumenko

Abstract: The article discusses the results of the interviews with Alexander S. Ryzhinsky, Rector of the Gnessins Russian Academy of Music, and Tatiana I. Naumenko, the Academy’s Vice Rector for Research. The questions were related to the program “Priority 2030”. The year 2021 was named the Year of Science and Technology in Russia. In this regard, “Priority”, described as an “academic leadership program”, is one of the key initiatives of the Russian Government. The program aims “to form a large group of universities that will become the leaders in creating new scientific knowledge, technology, and developments for introduction into the economy and social sphere in Russia”. The program will provide 106 Russian universities with solid funding to conduct large-scale research including international projects. The program funds may be allocated to enhance research and laboratory facilities or to implement new research programs. The Gnessins Russian Academy of Music is one of the winners of the “Priority 2030” program. In his interview, Professor A.S. Ryzhinsky, Doctor of Art Studies, Rector of the Academy, spoke about the participation in the program. In particular, he focused on the following: the original idea to join the program, the team that designed the Gnessins Academy development program, the Academy’s policies and strategies as part of the “Priority” program. Professor T.I. Naumenko, Doctor of Art Studies, Vice Rector for Research, spoke about further development of research and the support provided to the Academy’s current initiatives and new projects that became possible due to the participation in the “Priority” program. Download the article