Slavic Harmony and Disharmony

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Slavic Harmony and Disharmony
A Czech Abroad
• Bedřich Smetana (1824–84)
– first important nationalist composer of Czech
lands
– 1856: emigrated to Göteborg, Sweden
– influence and contact with Liszt
• Symphonic poems
– Richard III (1858)
– Walensteins Lager (1859)
– Macbeth (1859)
Bedřich Smetana
• Return to Prague in 1862
• Braniboři v Čechách (The Brandenburgers in
Bohemia, 1862–63)
• Má vlast (1872–1879)
• Českost (“Czechness”)
Má vlast
(My Fatherland)
• Cycle of six symphonic poems [Anthology 255]
– Vyšehrad (The Castle on High, 1872–74)
– Vltava (The Vltava River, 1874)
– Šárka (1875)
– From Bohemian Fields and Groves (1875)
– Tábor (1878)
– Blaík (1879)
The Fate of a Tune:
From Folk Song to Anthem
• Vltava
– main theme based on Swedish folk tune
– tune has been readapted for other uses
Competing Reputations at Home
and Abroad
• Libuše and Má vlast
– honored at home
• The Bartered Bride (1866)
– popular abroad
Slavic Disharmony
• Russian music
– group centering around Miliy
Alexeyevich Balakirev (1837–
1910)
• supported progressive aesthetic
– Anton Rubinstein (1829–94)
• represented the purportedly
conservative faction
Slavic Disharmony
• Vladimir Stasov (1824–1906)
– “the New Russian School”
– moguchaya kuchka “Mighty Five” or “Mighty
Handful”
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•
•
•
•
Balakirev
César Cui (1835–1918)
Alexander Borodin (1833–87)
Modest Musorgsky (1839–81)
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844–1908)
Kuchka Music
• Balakirev, Overture on Russian Themes (1857–
58)
• Balakirev, Sbornik russkikh narodnikh pesen
(Anthology of Russian Folk Songs) (1866)
– 40 arrangements of Russian folk songs
– unique harmonizations
Modest Mussorgsky’s Realism
• Mussorgsky
– Boris Godunov
• realism
• mimesis (“imitation of nature”)
• set conversational prose
Art and Autocracy
• Russian autocratic state
• Pushkin’s Boris Godunov (1825)
– banned by censors until 1866
The Coronation Scene in
Boris Godunov
•
•
•
•
•
[Anthology 2-56]
Prologue, choral procession
Russian folk song
“Solemn peal of bells”
Static chord progression
Revising Boris Godunov
• Completed in 1869
• Revised version in 1874
• Reorchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakov in 1896,
revised in 1908
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
(1840–1893)
• Part of the first graduating class of the St.
Petersburg Conservatory (1866)
• Ballet
– Swan Lake (1875–76)
– The Sleeping Beauty (1889)
– The Nutcracker (1892)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
(1840–1893)
• Opera
– Eugene Onegin (1879) [Anthology 2-57]
• based on a work by Pushkin
• melodic sixths
• bïtovoy romans (“household romances”)
Russian Symphonies
• Balakirev circle
– Borodin, Second Symphony (1869–76)
• St. Petersburg and Moscow Conservatories
– Tchaikovsky, 6 symphonies and the Manfred
Symphony
Russian Symphonies
• Fourth Symphony [Anthology 2-58]
– suite of character pieces
– Autobiography in Music?
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