Two Gazes on the Baby Christ.
The Story of the Nativity told by H. Schütz and J. S. Bach.
Essay II. «Wie soll ich dich empfangen?» (final part)
This publication completes the examination of the first three parts of J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, written on the basis of St. Luke’s Gospel (Lk. 2:1–20). According to the interpretation suggested here these three parts form integral unity and their chief subject is acquiring of strong and conscious Christian faith through the participation in universal joy and Christmas exultation together with the Heavenly host and the whole Church. Though the authors of the oratorio rested upon the Holy Scripture, the characterization of certain personages and depiction of events were not their principal aims. They present the Bible in the light of the centuries-old experience of Christian faith, embodied in Church’s doctrine. And this is the main difference between their method and Schütz’s one: Christmas History helps to acquire the Christian faith as if through the immediate experience of the first Christmas night, sharing feelings and thoughts of persons involved in its events.
Keywords: J. S. Bach, “Christmas Oratorio”, libretto, musical semantics, sacred Baroque music
The Goldberg variations by J. S. Bach.
Essay I. To the history of composition: searching the truth
This is the first of three essays on J. S. Bach’s Aria with different variations BWV 988 (1741). This musical composition is known all over the world as the Goldberg variations. Meanwhile, the title wasn’t invented by the composer. It was taken from a critical biography written by J. N. Forkel (1802), where he noticed that Bach had written the variation cycle for a young harpsichordist J. G. Goldberg, who lived with Count Keyserlingk. Actually there is no documentary evidence to support Forkel’s statement. In addition, there is not an official dedication in its published title-page, thus contradicting the custom of the day. For another, by the time the work was published Goldberg had been only 14 years old. Such a young teenager can hardly be imagined to cope with the high virtuoso requests of skill necessary for this composition. Meanwhile, the title and the legend narrated by Forkel became part and parcel of this work forever.
In the Goldberg variations Bach presents four musical national styles that were popular in the 1740s: Italian, French, German and Polish. He could only derive this variety from Dresden — the capital of Saxony, the cosmopolitan city of «vermischter Geschmack» (mixed manners), which he visited sometimes.
Keywords: J. S. Bach,the Goldberg variations, Forkel, Dresden, vermischter Geschmack
On the Semantic Function of Genre in Chopin’s World
Examining Chopin’s oeuvre this paper raises the theoretical questions on particular position of genre and peculiarities of temporal processes in Romantic music. Without creating new genres the composer profoundly transforms existing ones; his musical intonations arise at intersections of great number of genres, giving birth to unique and inexhaustible sense. Thus the conventional phenomena of genre become powerful factors of Chopin’s personal style and of the author’s unique concept of each composition.
Keywords: F. Chopin, Romanticism, genre, style, ballade, scherzo, prelude, etude
The Metaphor of Expanse:
Romantic Concept of Sound and Schumann’s Piano
in the light of Piano Performance’s Trends
in the First Third of the 19th Century
Perfomance style and peculiarities of piano’s texture by R. Schumann are characterized in this paper as one of the impressive manifestations of Romantic aesthetics, in particular, its desire to portray the world in its eternal creation, in its unceasing changeability. Feeling of infinity characteristic for painting and literature in the first third of the 19th century also distinguishes the Romantic piano performance which has embodied the intuition of spatialness of the sound, its universal boundlessness (in contrast to style brilliant, with its clear and sharp articulation). Colouristic effects in Schumann’s piano playing recollected by contemporaries (in particular, almost uninterrupted pedalling) extended his experience as a composer. In the finest transformations of piano texture, in the alternation of sonoric clearing and fading the riches of the sound are revealed and the feeling of infinite horizon, the feeling of “immeasurable vague expanse” (Schlegel) arises.
Keywords: R. Schumann, Romantic aesthetics, piano, style brilliant, articulation,
pedalling, texture, spatialness of the sound
Robert Schumann and Sacred Music
This publication is a translation of the paper delivered on the International Scientific Conference in Commemoration of M. I. Glinka’s 200th Birthday (April 2004, Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory). Subsequently it has been included in Helmut Loos’ monograph “Robert Schumann. Werk und Leben” (Wien: Steinbauer, 2010. S. 43–51).
Keywords: R. Schumann, sacred music, oratorio, Scenen aus Goethes “Faust”
«Genovefа», «Genofejfa», «Genoveva» —
Schumann’s Opera’s Progress in Russia
This is the first study tracing the fortunes of Schumann’s only opera in Russia, from the first mentions in the press to the 1896 Petersburg première whose history is reconstructed on the basis of documentary sources and newspaper reviews.
Keywords: R. Schumann, opera, St. Petersburg, musical culture,
the second half of the 19th century
Robert Schumann in A. V. Mikhailov’s Heritage: 1960s
Some peculiarities inherent in «Schumanniana» by A. V. Mikhailov (1938–1995) — the famous contemporary philologist, historian and musicologist — are characterized in the paper. The author analyses the earlier article «Schumann» (1966) by A. V. Mikhailov (it was published in the anthology «History of Aesthetics: Monuments of World Aesthetic Thought») in detail. That article is considered in context of 1960s: the most important tendencies of development of Soviet fine arts and aesthetics are implied.
Keywords: A. V. Mikhailov, R. Schumann, Romanticism, aesthetics of music
Robert Schumann in N. S. Nikolaeva’s
Scientific and Educational Activity
In this paper Prof. N. S. Nikolaeva’s essays on Robert Schumann, printed in the textbook “The 19th-century Music of Austria and Germany”, are considered and the extremely valuable contribution of this scientist and musician on the investigation of Schumann’s music is elucidated. Expanding traditions of Schumann’s studies in the USSR which go back to D. V. Zhitomirsky, N. S. Nikolaeva has pointed at large-scale design of quite a few Schumann’s compositions, their epic essence and the significant role which the composer has played in development of various genres of the 19th-century instrumental music.
Keywords: R. Schumann, N. S. Nikolaeva, D. V. Zhitomirsky, history of Romantic
Oboe and Oboe Players at the French Court
Oboe is an instrument of the French origin and obtained its professional status at the court of Louis XIV, to be widely applied by Lully in ballet and opera performances. The most distinguished chamber ensemble Douze Grands hautbois was founded during the reign of this king. Royal oboists were to play by great court ceremonials at Versailles, by military parades and church festivities. Oboes of various types have been used, and their special music-making practices enable for us to reconstruct a vivid picture of centuries past. This paper considers the history of the instrument at the French royal court in the XVI–XVIII centuries. It is based on contemporary documents as well as on current organological and historical studies. The publication aims to inform a Russian-speaking reader about some neglected or forgotten facts and circumstances.
Keywords: oboe, cromorne, musette, organology, Musique de la Grande Écurie,
survivance, Louis XIV, États de la France