Myaskovsky. Dialogues

Olga A. Gumerova: Spiritual Verse on Parting of the Soul with the Body and the Dies Irae Sequence in the Adoption of Nikolai Yakovlevich Myaskovsky

11 March 2021
11 March, 2021

Olga A. Gumerova, Art History PhD, Chelyabinsk State Institute of Culture.

The Old Believer Russian spiritual verse «On the parting of the soul with the body» and the medieval Catholic sequence «Dies irae» (Day of Wrath) share space, time, and confessional differences. But both hymns bring together the content that results from the doctrine of the end of the world, the afterlife, and the posthumous existence of the soul. Myaskovsky, N. Y., used them in the Sixth Symphony (1921–1923) to convey the eschatological moods prevailing in the country during the years of the revolution and the civil war.
This article is devoted to revealing the semantic content of the symphony, arising from the citation of the spiritual verse and Dies irae. The analysis of intra and inter-textual connections of musical themes, as well as of the verbal series, made it possible to reveal more deeply the essence of the ideological-dramaturgic conception of the work of Myaskovsky’s. Revealing the semantics of quotation allows you to get an idea of the composer’s views on historical events and their author’s assessment.
Features of the implementation of the conflict are revealed through a comparative analysis of intonational, rhythmic, timbre, and genre features of quoted tunes. There are points of contact between spiritual verse and «Dies irae» at the semantic, intonational, and functional levels. Their inclusion in the symphony extends its genre boundaries, brings together the Orthodox funeral liturgy and mass for the deceased.
In the course of the study, universalism and objectivity of Myaskovsky’s symphony are justified, in contrast to the previous interpretation connected with the disclosure of the tragedy of individualistic consciousness dominating music studies of the Soviet period. The problematic aspects of the article correspond to the tendencies of revision of the ideological foundations of Myaskovsky’s creative work and its characteristics through the prism of the spiritual paradigm that has appeared in recent decades.

Read the full article (Russian)

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