Category: 4/2021

ANTONIO VIVALDI’S GROUP OF CONCERTS THE FOUR SEASONS: FROM BAROQUE SYNTHESIS OF ARTS TO NEW 20TH-CENTURY FORMS OF ARTISTIC SYNTHESIS

Abstract: The article examines Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons concerts from the perspective of baroque culture. We believe that baroque culture reflects the key general cultural trends characteristic of this era, in particular, such issues as time and the synthesis of arts. These trends manifest themselves in The Four Seasons. The topic of changing seasons is generally very interesting in terms of its choreographic production. The article discusses two choreographic productions based on the music from Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons: the ballet by Roland Petit (captured on video in 1984) and the screen ballet by James Kudelka (2003). Petit’s concept evolves around the idea of ​​eternal repetition. He focuses on the general and the objective, which is in line with the artistic principles of neoclassicism. This becomes manifest in the objectivity of statements and the preference for crowd scenes. The representation of concerts is suite-based with no continuous development between them. Petit’s concept tends towards the epic genus. The ballet is not devoid of certain symmetry due to the repetition of two parts of the concert Spring after the end of Winter. Thus, Petit’s production views time as cyclical, while the correlation between music and choreography indicates a parallelism of texts rather than their synthesis. The ballet by J. Kudelka is the drama of an individual human life. Here, the artistic time resembles a vector, it is irreversible, which is typical of drama. This is achieved by the acceleration of movement towards the end of the production with the pantomime gradually replacing the dance. The title The Four Seasons allows two possible interpretations and in Kudelka’s case the allegorical one comes to the fore. His concept is the life course of a person from birth to death. The ballet does not reveal a parallelism between music and dance, on the opposite, it is a synthesis of texts, an intertext. Download the article

CHRONOTOPIC METAMORPHOSES IN BÉLA BARTÓK’S MINOR SECONDS, MAJOR SEVENTHS

Abstract: Despite time and space are inseparable in music, they are sometimes explored separately. The term ‘chronotope’ unites both categories and has found an extensive use in musicology. However, musicologists use the term to denote quite different concepts. The article proposes a new definition of ‘сhronotope’. It draws on the framework and aims of the suggested method of сhronotopic analysis of piano music. Together with the semantic analysis, this method ensures in-depth comprehension of all the elements of musical fabric and its semantic and emotional ‘vibrations’. This approach has proved effective to study both classical music and music of later eras. The article reports the results of the application of the analytical method to explore B. Bartók’s Minor Seconds, Major Sevenths, for piano (Mikrokosmos Vol. 6/144). On the one hand, Bartók’s piano work exemplifies all kinds of changes in temporal and spatial structure of the chronotope, with the spatial structure taking the lead. Not all the changes (metamorphoses) are noticeable at first glance. On the other hand, Minor Seconds, Major Sevenths develops as a dialogue of intervals, i.e., their relations and transformations. It is filled with micro-meanings and may be referred to as an interval-based dramaturgy of the composition. This is characteristic of Bartók’s creative method. He was extremely careful about the sound material and tended to explore its small structural units. Скачать статью

IMMANUEL KANT ON MUSIC: PARADOXES OF AESTHETIC RATIONALISM

Abstract: The article explores the reasons behind the inconsistency of Kant’s perspective on the art of music. Kant’s aesthetics is a strict and harmonious system underpinning the analysis of aesthetic consciousness. His views produced a huge impact on the subsequent development of aesthetic thought. Despite certain contradictions, the Kantian philosophical system and, in particular, his aesthetic views are of timeless value. In this respect, it is paramount to explore these contradictions and understand their role in the Kantian philosophy. Kant was repeatedly reproached for his formal approach to aesthetics that disregards artistic practice. However, it was not criticism but, rather, direct apologetics of Kant’s philosophical vision promoted among his followers that led to aesthetic formalism. In other words, the rationality of thinking was transferred on the very object of exploration—the art. Kant’s comments on music, as an integral part of his aesthetic theory, are formal and sparing. They contrast with a growing role of music in the cultural landscape at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries and the scope of Kant’s commentary given to other arts. Nonetheless, the aesthetic value of music was still recognised as music was listed in Kant’s classification of arts. Our research has concluded that the reasons behind Kant’s inconsistencies are not limited to the well-known gap between the aesthetic object and the judgment about it. Another reason is his conscious detachment from contemporary musical practice, and, more broadly, from the irrational essence of music which he implicitly felt. Kant’s rejection of sensory and emotional perception of music in favor of its rational interpretation identified one of the key issues for the future research agenda in aesthetics. The question of whether it is possible to perceive music as a non-conceptual art with the help of rational thinking alone emerged from the contradictions of Kant’s aesthetic. This issue has not lost its relevance. In fact, it has created the basis for modern transformations of musical art towards pronounced intellectualism. The identification of the essence and grounds for Kant’s contradictions will allow to fend off accusations of formalism put forward by his followers and critics. Download the article

POETIC INTONATION IN THE POEMS BY ALEXANDER BLOK AND SERGEI YESENIN: MORE ON THE METHODOLOGY OF ANALYSIS

Abstract: In poetry, like in music, the poetic sounding has a semantic meaning and the meaning captured in a poem is “incapable of being renamed”, that is, expressed in any other way. This is what A.V. Mikhailov defines as “musicality”. Based on the concept of musicality in poetry, the article puts forward an original method of analysing poetic intonation. It can be used to identify individual features of the sound structure in a verse and, as a consequence, its emotional tone. The comparative analysis of two poems by A. Blok and S. Yesenin found the difference between the poetic intonation—a sound meaning—chosen by the authors. The manifestation of verse (rhythmic) and conversational (phrasal) intonations shapes the form of the poetic text either closer to the immanent musical or speech patterns. The analysis of the sound meaning in a verse combines linguistic and musicological approaches. This methodology facilitates the retrieval of deep “musical” patterns of the poetic text and their “reincarnation” in a composer’s interpretation. The two traditional types of verse recitation, i.e., conventional, done in an actor’s fashion (expressively declamatory), and authorial (monotonously melodious, rhythmised) are fundamentally different approaches to the sound embodiment of the text, which also applies to the interpretations made by composers. The poetic (“rhythmic”) intonation is used to show the difference between poetry and prose; hence, it is a fundamental condition for the emotional, semantic and musical unity of the poetic text.  In this connection, the article attempts to find a functional equivalent to the poetic intonation in music written to this poetic text so that the words absorbed by music regain their artistic unity. Download the article

AN EXPERIENCE OF NARRATOLOGICAL ANALYSIS: EVIDENCE FROM THE SKETCHES FOR THE SYMPHONIC POEM BY RICHARD STRAUSS A HERO’S LIFE

Abstract: Based on the sketches for the symphonic poem A Hero’s Life, the article examines how Richard Strauss developed its concept. The analysis of Strauss’ drafts identified four stages in his work on the composition. It was found that over the course of the four stages the original composition underwent significant changes. According to the composer’s original idea, the movement about the hero’s adversaries and critics (the development section of the poem) is followed directly by a love scene thus romanticising the symphonic action. According to Strauss, love was the Hero’s source of power and inspiration. However, the original plan of the composition changed: the love scene became part of the exposition section and preceded the battle, while the Hero found his ‘lifeblood’ in creativity. Strauss used quotes from his own works to deliver this message to the audience. The analysis revealed the dynamics of changes in the development of the author’s concept. The findings provide a new perspective on the relevance of compositional elements in the final version of A Hero’s Life. Download the article

J.S. BACH’S CANTATA NO. 150: COMPOSITIONAL FEATURES AND AN INTERPRETATION OF THE LITERARY TEXT

Abstract: The article focuses on Bach’s musical interpretation of Psalm 24 ‘Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich’ (For Thee, O Lord, I long) in Cantata No. 150 for choir, soloists and chamber orchestra. The approaches to research may differ depending on the artistic effect associated with the composer’s embodiment of a word. At the same time, a study of artistic features should not limit itself to the literary text selected by the composer alone. It should consider what was discarded, since the unselected enhances the meaning of what is chosen. This approach to study a work that involves a literary text is feasible as it facilitates a more effective understanding of the author’s arrangement of semantic accents. In our case, the composer discarded the verses about human sins that comprise most of Psalm 25. Instead, he laid an emphasis on the idea of ​​salvation. What is even more important is the composer’s way to translate words into music: he transforms the material from the conceptual sphere into sound and the discarded literary material finds its embodiment in music forming a new kind of holistic utterance that is different from the biblical text. D0wnload the article

“EVERY TEACHER IS THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND SCIENCE AND EDUCATION”. An interview with Irina S. Stogniy

Abstract: Irina S. Stogniy is Doctor of Art Studies and Full Professor of the Analytical Musicology Department at the Gnesin Russian Academy of Music. She is also Editor-in-Chief of the journal Uchenye Zapiski of the Gnesin Russian Academy of Music. Prof. Stogniy is the leader and a regular participant of international research projects in musicology. She is the author of a series of research papers focusing on important theoretical issues in musicology. Among them is the monograph Connotation in Musical Texts (2013). Prof. Stogniy developed a new elective course Musical Semiology for musicologists and composers. The course is delivered in higher music education institutions. She is also the author of a number of educational programmes. The interview focused substantively on the projects initiated and lead by Prof. Stogniy. They include two research conferences: Semantics of the Musical Language and Christian Images in Art. In her interview, Prof. Stogniy shared her teaching experience with the former students and now teachers of the Gnesin Russian Academy of Music: Olga O. Moskvina and Svetlana A. Pavlova. Download the article