On the Trail of «People’s Faith» (N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov’s «The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya» and I. F. Stravinsky’s «Les noces»)


In the paper the works of the two great Russian composers, the pupil and the teacher, are considered as the attempts to convey the images of people’s faith: Belsky and Rimsky-Korsakov seek for it in the darkness of people’s consciousness and recreate it as a whole with the help of far-reaching amendments; Stravinsky represents the people’s faith as it may seem to a sober-minded and a little bit cynical observer. However, in both cases, with all the author’s desire to stick precisely to the style of Russian folklore (spiritual poetry in the opera, wedding songs in the dance cantata), the artistic whole expresses meanings relevant to the philosophical and religious explorations among the Russian intelligentsia. Rimsky-Korsakov and Belsky offer educated public faith more perfect than the customs and dogmas of the established church (the beauty of a transformed world in their work bears the mark of the tragic escape from reality). Stravinsky and Diaghilev present Les Noces to foreigners as the pictures of the true Orthodoxy, possibly in a hidden polemic against nihilism of the older intellectuals.