Musicologica Olomucensia XXII November 2015



Musicologica Olomucensia XXII November 2015
Universitas Palackiana Olomucensis 2015
Musicologica Olomucensia
Editor-in-chief: Lenka Křupková
Editorial Board:
Michael Beckerman – New York University, NY; Mikuláš Bek – Masaryk University, Brno;
Roman Dykast – Academy of Performing Arts, Prague; Jarmila Gabrielová – Charles
University, Prague; Lubomír Chalupka – Komenský University, Bratislava; Magdalena
Dziadek – Jagiellonian University in Kraków; Jan Vičar – Palacký University, Olomouc
Executive editor of Volume 22 (December 2015): Jan Blüml
„Zpracování a vydání publikace bylo umožněno díky finanční podpoře udělené roku 2015
Ministerstvem školství, mládeže a tělovýchovy ČR v rámci Institucionálního rozvojového
plánu, programu V. Excelence ve vzdělávání, Filozofické fakultě Univerzity Palackého
v Olomouci: Podpora časopisů vydávaných na FF UP.“
„Processing and publication of this issue was made possible through the financial support granted in 2015 by Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic
within the Institutional development plan, program V. Excellence in Education, to Faculty
of Arts, Palacký University in Olomouc: Support of the journals published on FF UP.“
The scholarly journal Musicologica Olomucensia has been published twice a year (in
June and December) since 2010 and follows up on the Palacký University proceedings
Acta Universitatis Palackianae Olomucensis – Musicologica Olomucensia (founded in
1993) and Kritické edice hudebních památek [Critical Editions of Musical Documents]
(founded in 1996).
Journal Musicologica Olomucensia can be found on EBSCOhost databases.
The present volume was submitted to print on November 30, 2015.
Předáno do tisku 30. listopadu 2015.
[email protected]
ISSN 1212–1193
Reg. no. MK ČR E 19473
Musicologica Olomucensia 22 – December 2015
Mike FORD:
Processes of spectralization: From Josquin’s Missa “L’homme armé”
Super Voces Musicales to Haas’s Tria ex Uno .....................................................................7
Mirjam FRANK:
The Lullaby of Ilse Weber: Terezín as a Mirror Image ........................................................25
Bridging Deep Chasms: The Soviet Third Direction in Aleksei Rybnikov’s
Rock Opera The Star and Death of Joaquin Murieta ........................................................39
David KOZEL:
A Musical Analysis of Mythical Thought in the Work of Claude Lévi-Strauss.....................61
Manfred NOVAK:
“Providing for the Active Participation of the Entire Assembly”:
Petr Eben’s Liturgical Music with Congregational Participation ..........................................79
Reflection on Musical Contacts of Olomouc Bishops from the 18th Century
in the Kroměříž Music Collection ..........................................................................................97
Hans Mersmann and the Analysis of the New Music .........................................................109
Václav Metoděj UHLÍŘ:
Works for Organ by Josef Förster Jr. and Josef Bohuslav Foerster
in the Context of the Transformation of the Organ Sound Ideal
in Bohemia in the Second Half of the 19th Century ............................................................121
Anastasia WAKENGUT:
A Discourse on Belarusian Music and its Role in the Construction
of Identities in Belarus.........................................................................................................135
Contributors ........................................................................................................................153
Musicologica Olomucensia 22 – December 2015
Mike FORD:
Procesy spektralizace: od Josquinovy skladby „Missa L’homme armé”
Super Voces Musicales k dílu Tria ex uno Georga Friedricha Haase..................................7
Mirjam FRANK:
Ukolébavka Ilse Weber: Terezín jako obraz v zrcadle...........................................................25
Překlenutí hlubokých propastí: Sovětský Třetí proud v opeře Zvezda i smert’
Khoakina Mur’ety skladatele Alexeje Rybnikova ................................................................39
David KOZEL:
Hudební analýza mytologického myšlení v díle Clauda Lévi-Strausse ................................61
Manfred NOVAK:
„Určeno pro aktivní spoluúčast celého shromáždění“: liturgická hudba
skladatele Petra Ebena s účastí kongregace .........................................................................79
Odraz hudebních kontaktů olomouckých biskupů 18. století
v kroměřížské hudební sbírce ................................................................................................97
Hans Mersmann a analýza nové hudby..............................................................................109
Václav Metoděj UHLÍŘ:
Varhanní tvorba Josefa Förstera mladšího a Josefa Bohuslava Foerstera
v kontextu přeměny zvukového ideálu varhan v Čechách v druhé polovině 19. století .......121
Anastasia WAKENGUT:
Hudba a její role v procesu tvorby identit v Bělorusku........................................................135
Autoři ...................................................................................................................................153
Musicologica Olomucensia 22 – December 2015
Processes of spectralization: From Josquin’s Missa “L’homme armé”
Super Voces Musicales to Haas’s Tria ex Uno
Mike Ford
What some scholars have called the school of spectral music emerged early in the 1970’s,
with composers making sound itself their object of study and their primary source of
material.1 Where many earlier composers have ignored or neglected the expressive capabilities of timbre, composers of spectral music have made it the primary element in their
works, using the overtone series as a point of reference.2 Robert Hasegawa maintains that
“the essential characteristic of spectralism is the dissection of sounds into collections of
partials or overtones as a major compositional and conceptual device. Spectral composers
use the acoustical fingerprints of sounds—their spectra—as basic musical material.”3 My
research points out an aspect of spectral music that has not been fully explored yet: the
use of musical borrowing—the application of spectral techniques to existing material. In
this paper, I discuss the spectral treatment of existing music in Georg Friedrich Haas’s
Tria ex Uno, demonstrating the distinctive spectral paradigms and techniques that Haas
has used to transform the second Agnus Dei from Josquin Desprez’s Missa “L’homme
armé” Super Voces Musicales into Tria ex Uno. These techniques include the emphasis on
timbre; a nonlinear view of musical time; the use of the harmonic spectrum, stretched
and compressed versions of that spectrum, and polyspectrality, i.e. the simultaneous
use of more two or more spectra; and organizing the music through processes instead
of progressions. The borrowing techniques and treatment of existing music used in Tria
ex Uno are found in many other quotational works by composers of spectral music, and
my aim is thus to expand the discourse on musical borrowing to include spectralization.
Joshua Fineberg, “Spectral Music,” Contemporary Music Review 19, No. 2 (2000): 3.
François Rose, “Introduction to the Pitch Organization of French Spectral Music,” Perspectives of
New Music 34, No. 2 (1996): 7.
Robert Hasegawa, “Gérard Grisey and the ‘Nature’ of Harmony,” Music Analysis 28, No. 2–3 (2009):
Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas—former lecturer at Hochschule für Musik,
Basel, Switzerland and currently professor of composition at Columbia University—wrote
Tria ex Uno in 2001. The work is in three parts and is scored for sextet comprising flute,
clarinet, piano, percussion, violin, and cello (the winds double on alto flute and bass
clarinet, respectively). Haas extensively borrows material from the second Agnus Dei from
Josquin Desprez’s Missa “L’homme armé” Super Voces Musicales, which was published by
Ottaviano Petrucci half a millennium earlier in 15024 (Ex. 1).
Ex. 1: Agnus Dei II from Missa “L’homme armé” Super Voces Musicales5
Julian Anderson argues that many composers of spectral music struggle to find ways
to write melodies or counterpoint.6 By borrowing material from the Agnus Dei, Haas
avoids this struggle by extracting melodic and contrapuntal fragments from a work that
is explicitly contrapuntal. The Agnus Dei is a mensuration canon in three parts: the three
voices simultaneously sing the same melody, but in three different mensurations. Haas
presents the canon, unchanged, in Tria ex Uno I (Ex. 2).
Ex. 2: Original mensuration canon, Tria ex Uno I, mm. 1–8
Patrick Macey, et al., “Josquin des Prez,” in Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online (Oxford University Press), accessed June 10, 2015,
Ex. 1 is taken from Heinrich Glarean, Dodecachordon (Basel: Heinrich Petri, 1547), 442.
Julian Anderson, “A Provisional History of Spectral Music,” Contemporary Music Review 19, No. 2
(2000): 15–16.
Musical Borrowing
J. Peter Burkholder has argued that three types of questions need to be addressed when
examining a work that employs musical borrowing: the analytical, the historical, and the
interpretive.7 Analytical questions inquire into the origin of the material and the way it
has been used in the new work. While Haas makes the provenance of the material clear
in the score, the answer to the second question, how it is used, or how it has been altered,
is not as clear and therefore necessitates a thorough investigation, which will occupy
a considerable portion of this paper.
The second of Burkholder’s question types, the historical, reflects upon about the history and tradition of the specific musical practices at play in Haas’s work. Joseph Straus
maintains that borrowing from predecessors “seems to be almost as old as Western music
itself,”8 but that the twentieth century saw an unusually strong interest in this technique,
partially as a result of the historical (and therefore stylistic) distance between composers
and their source material. Straus notes that Webern highlights certain motives in his recomposition of the Ricercare from Bach’s The Musical Offering, but maintains the original
pitches and rhythms; while Schoenberg and Stravinsky add material to existing music in
the then-current style.9 Richard Beaudoin and Joseph Moore distinguish between these
two borrowing approaches: they label Webern’s method “transcription,” and Schoenberg’s
and Stravinsky’s, “transdialection.”10 Elsewhere, Beaudoin defines transdialections as
“loose transcriptions that creatively reexpress the musical content of an original work in
the distinct musical dialect of the [recomposer].”11 Haas applies transdialection in many
of his works, including “In iij. Noct” (also 2001) and“…e finisci già…” (2012). The ways
in which Haas treats the Agnus Dei in Tria ex Uno are consistent with many of his other
works that employ musical borrowing.
Tria ex Uno is unusual in that it borrows from a work that makes use of musical borrowing itself (the Agnus Dei is taken from a cantus firmus mass, based on “L’homme
armé”). Although “double borrowing” has precedents in literature and philosophy, its
application to music is relatively novel.12 A notable twentieth-century precedent of “double
borrowing” is Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia, the third movement of which is modeled on the
J. Peter Burkholder, “The Uses of Existing Music: Musical Borrowing as a Field,” Notes Second
Series 50, No. 3 (1994): 864.
Joseph Straus, “Recompositions by Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Webern,” The Musical Quarterly
72, No. 3 (1986): 301–302.
Ibid., 306, 326.
Richard Beaudoin & Joseph Moore, “Conceiving Musical Transdialection,” The Journal of Aesthetics
and Art Criticism 68, No. 2 (2010): 106.
Richard Beaudoin, “Musical Borrowing and Cavell’s ‘Way,’” Journal of Music Theory 54, No. 1
(2010): 95.
Ibid., 100.
Scherzo from Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony, which is based in turn on Mahler’s
own song, “Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt.”13
As Haas does not indicate the reasons behind his choice of existing material, answers
to the interpretive questions, Burkholder’s third catergory, remain speculative as it is
unclear why the Agnus Dei was specifically selected and subjected to spectral treatment.
Successful recomposers, according to Beaudoin and Moore, pursue “a determinate musical isomorphism,”14 by taking distinct features of the original composition and presenting
them in a new dialect, while retaining their expressive functions. The source material
therefore has to have qualities that are susceptible to the composer’s transdialection.
I shall return to the interpretive questions near the end of this paper.
Haas presents an unaltered version Josquin’s Agnus Dei in Tria ex Uno I to familiarize the
listener with the material to be subsequently reworked. In Tria ex Uno II, by contrast, Haas
presents the Agnus Dei in an alternate instrumentation, highlighting motivic relationships
between parts. Tria ex Uno III paraphrases the Agnus Dei and subjects Josquin’s material
to a variety of spectral techniques.
Tria ex Uno II
In the second part of Tria ex Uno, the melodic lines of the Agnus Dei are fragmented
and passed among the various players in the ensemble; the blocks in Ex. 3 trace the path
of the Agnus Dei soprano part (cf. Ex. 2). Webern’s recomposition of Bach’s Ricercare
uses a similar method of fragmentation and reorchestration that remains at the level of
transcription. In Tria ex Uno II, each of the six players has at least one fragment of each
part of the Agnus Dei. As the lines flow between the different players in the ensemble,
the listener’s attention is drawn to the unique timbre of each instrument. Composers of
spectral music has brought timbre into focus not only by emphasizing different instrumental timbres (similar to Schoenberg’s Klangfarbenmelodie), but also by calling attention to
the inner workings of sounds themselves.
J. Peter Burkholder, “Borrowing,” Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online (Oxford University
Press), accessed September 23, 2015,
edu/subscriber/article/grove/music/52918pg13. David Osmond-Smith, Playing on Words: A Guide
to Berio’s Sinfonia (London: Royal Musical Association: 1989), 40. It is interesting to note that
Beaudoin disregards the fact that the movement from Mahler’s symphony borrows material from the
composer’s own song; instead Beaudoin focusses on the technique of adding a multitude of sources
to a fundamental source. Beaudoin, “Musical Borrowing,” 98–99.
Beaudoin & Moore, “Conceiving Musical Transdialection,” 112.
Ex. 3: Reorchestrated mensuration canon, Tria ex Uno II, mm. 1–8
Timbres can be constructed by adding specific pitches at specific dynamic levels and at
specific moments to a fundamental tone.15 This process is called “additive synthesis,” and
was first explicitly used in the field of electronic music. Most composers of spectral music
synthesize timbres with an orchestra or ensemble; however, their goal is not to recreate
the exact timbre of the synthesized tone, which is impossible because every instrument
produces its own harmonic spectrum. Instead, they aim to create a hybrid sonority, in
which the listener can perceive the various individual instrumental timbres as well as the
collectively synthesized timbre.16 Additive synthesis allows composers to blur the line
between timbre and harmony to a point of nonexistence. I discuss Haas’s use of additive
synthesis below.
Tria ex Uno III
The final part of Haas’s work is a free composition based on the Agnus Dei. Sections
in Tria ex Uno III refer to specific areas and sonorities in the movement from the mass.
Haas reexpresses the existing material in his own distinct dialect, subjecting it to various
Joshua Fineberg, “Guide to the Basic Concepts and Techniques of Spectral Music,” Contemporary
Music Review 19, No. 2 (2000): 84.
Hasegawa, “Grisey,” 351.
spectral techniques (transdialection). Tria ex Uno III is divided into two main sections,
A and B. The first section (mm. 1–76) reworks the first nine measures of the Agnus Dei,
and the second section (mm. 77–180) focuses on and develops only the first two measures.
Tria ex Uno III includes many techniques used by other composers of spectral music.
Many of these composers view music, essentially, as sound evolving through time.17 Gérard
Grisey suggests that spectral compositions should explore stretched or contracted time,
while Tristan Murail believes that composers of spectral music should favor logarithmic
or exponential organization over linear methods.18 Examples of both Grisey’s and Murail’s
methods can be seen in the music of Haas. Murail’s nonlinear organization is evident in
the proportions of subsections in Tria ex Uno III: each subsection reworks one (or in one
case four) measures from the Agnus Dei, but the lengths of the subsections are nonlinear
(i.e., irregular and unpredictable). Haas uses Grisey’s temporal method in the reworking
of Agnus Dei m. 1, stretching it from 48 seconds19 in section A to 240 seconds in section B; the reworked Agnus Dei m. 2 is 124 seconds long in section A and compressed to
44 seconds in section B. The proportions of the various subsections in the composition
are thus not organized in a linear fashion, but are governed by a different formula.
In addition to time, the idea of “process” is also central to spectral music. Composers
are interested in continually transforming sound from one state to another, and use
processes as the basis of form. Early spectral works often rely extensively on processes,
because, according to Joshua Fineberg, composers of spectral music privilege this way of
organizing music as a way to reclaim the teleological orientation that had been removed by
serialism.20 Processes usually involve gradual transformations that are perceptible rather
than underlying: in the foreground rather than in the background.21 A typical process
will either transform sound from a state of stability and order to one of instability and
disorder (distortion), or vice versa (restoration).
Each subsection of Tria ex Uno III employs a process that transforms the sound from
one state to the next. As in many other spectral works, the beginnings of subsections are
harmonically stable, with clear pitches and intervals; however, gradual transformations
create distortions within each subsection.22 In addition to these localized processes, larger
processes take place over bigger sections of the work, following Grisey, who insists on
Fineberg, “Spectral Music,” 3.
Grisey, “Did You Say Spectral,” 2. Viviana Moskovich, “French Spectral Music: An Introduction,”
Tempo New Series 200 (1997): 22.
Due to spectral composers’ treatment of music as sound moving through time, it is more accurate
to describe proportions in temporal terms (seconds) than in notational terms (measures).
Fineberg, “What’s in a Name,” 46.
Fineberg, “Guide to the Basic Concepts,” 108.
Tristan Murail, “Time and Form in Spectral Music,” in Spectral World Musics ed. Robert Reigle and
Paul Whitehead (Istanbul: Pan Yayıncılık, 2008), 250. Julian Anderson & Tristan Murail, “In Harmony. Julian Anderson Introduces the Music and Ideas of Tristan Murail,” The Musical Times 134,
No. 1804 (1993): 321.
the superimposition and phasing of contradictory, partial, or implied processes.23 Section A, which paraphrases mm. 1–9 of the Agnus Dei, is based primarily on processes
of distortion and restoration. Pitch content alien to that of a natural harmonic spectrum
and the combination of two different harmonic spectra create areas of inharmonicity.
Section B, paraphrasing only the first two measures, is characterized mainly by two processes: the synthesis of a harmonic spectrum and a process in which chords are gradually
transformed in various ways.
Section A
In the introduction of Tria ex Uno III, Haas sets up the sonority of the opening measure
from the Agnus Dei, but in a manner that suggest the synthesis of a timbre (Ex. 4).
According to Hasegawa’s representation tone theory,24 the opening sonority can be described as D(2:3:4), the second, third, and fourth partials of a fundamental D.
Ex. 4: Synthesized emergence of partials, mm. 1–5
Following this, the first subsection (mm. 7–18) introduces a process of gradual distortion
followed by gradual restoration. The piano holds the D(2:3:4) spectrum, while strings and
bass clarinet add pitches alien to the D harmonic spectrum (Ex. 5). The sense of release
or relaxation in spectral music relies on the listener’s subconscious ability to match the
various pitches to a specific fundamental tone. This is more likely to occur when the collection of notes resembles the natural harmonic spectrum.25
Grisey, “Did You Say Spectral,” 2–3.
Robert Hasegawa, “Tone Representation and Just Intervals in Contemporary Music,” Contemporary
Music Review 25, No. 3 (2006): 270.
Hasegawa, “Grisey,” 355.
Ex. 5: Process of distortion and restoration, mm. 7–9
A variety of processes in subsection 2 (mm. 19–49) add the second pitch of the melody
in the Agnus Dei, F, to the sonority (Ex. 6). The addition of F to the D spectrum recalls
the D–F dyads in the outer parts in Agnus Dei m. 2 (cf. Ex. 2). A D(2:3:4) spectrum
is initially heard, to which the alto flute adds an F; the bass clarinet and alto flute then
hold a D–F dyad. The violin and cello repeat a figure that gradually moves from D to F
by means of a glissando; they play this figure in a canon at the unison, with a following
period of two seconds.
Ex. 6: D–F processes, mm. 24–27
Note the large-scale process that the canon undergoes: Tria ex Uno I and II employ
a mensuration canon at the fifth and octave, with all three parts starting at the same time
(Ex. 2 and 3); subsection 1 in Tria ex Uno III introduces a following period (Ex. 5); only
two parts play the canon in subsection 2, now at the unison, still with a following period,
but not in different mensurations (Ex. 6).
The harmonic spectra of D and F are contrasted, creating the phenomenon known
as “polyspectrality,” in which two or more spectra are heard simultaneously. The bass
clarinet, cello, and violin produce a D(1:5:7) spectrum; at the same time, the flute, bass
clarinet, and vibraphone present an F(1:2:3) spectrum (Ex. 7).
Ex. 7: D(1:5:7) and F(1:2:3), mm. 32–3626
Ex. 8 shows the addition of the note A to the sonority, referring to the soprano part in
Agnus Dei m. 3. The function of note is ambiguous, as it falls into both the D spectrum
and the F spectrum: D(3:8) and F(5:14). The “poco vibrato” direction adds to this ambiguity, as the pitch differs between A as the third partial of D and A as the fifth partial of F:
D3 has a frequency of 146.83Hz, creating a third partial with a frequency of 440.49Hz;
while F2 has a frequency of 87.31Hz, giving its fifth partial a frequency of 436.55Hz.27
Although all five of the active instruments sound an A, the play between two possible
tone representations ensures animation and tension in a setting of low inharmonicity.
The violin’s accidentals are held from m. 30.4ff; the notes are F-sharp and C-lowered natural, marked
“5+7 partials of D.”
The frequencies of the two fundamental tones are based on an equal-tempered system, using A4 = 440Hz.
Fineberg, “Guide to the Basic Concepts,” 83.
Ex. 8: Addition of A, mm. 47–52
Stretched and compressed spectra – Wyschnegradsky chords
Thus far, my discussion has not touched upon the inharmonic material in the piano part.
The process that transforms the state of the chords from harmonic to inharmonic takes
place in subsection 1: three chords are presented in the low register of the piano, gradually distorted by being stretched out (Ex. 9).
Ex. 9: Chordal stretching, mm. 11, 15, and 17
The first chord is harmonically stable and can be described as D(2:3:4:6), derived from
the opening of the Agnus Dei; the second chord is intermediary; the third chord I label
“chord-x.” It uses simple ratios from a stretched harmonic spectrum. Chord-x' is based
on the same stretched spectrum as chord-x, with the root on the third partial, instead
of on the second. Fig. 1 shows the stretched spectrum as well as chords-x and x'. As in
tonal music, chords can be extended by adding higher octaves (harmonic or otherwise)
without changing the identity of the chord.
Haas also employs the inverse: a spectrum compressed by one semitone per octave.
I label chords based on this compressed spectrum as either “chord-z” or “chord-z' ”
(Fig. 2). Between the chord types x and z, there is an intermediate chord, which I label
“chord-y.” It is based on the natural harmonic spectrum, with the third partial and its
octave equivalents lowered by one semitone (Fig. 3 and cf. central chord in Ex. 9).
Following Haas’s own terminology, Hasegawa collectively describes the sonorities that
I have separately labelled as chord-x and chord-z, as “Wyschnegradsky chords” (chords
built from alternating tritones and either fourths or fifths). He maintains that Haas uses
Wyschegradsky chords in various compositions, including “In iij. Noct,” to emphasize the
difference in tuning systems by contrasting these chords to natural harmonic spectra.28
Fig. 1: Partials 1–4, 6, 8, and 12 in natural and stretched spectra; chords-x and x'
Fig. 2: Partials 1–4, 6, 8, and 12 in natural and compressed spectra; chords-z and z'
Fig. 3: Partials 1–4, 6, 8, and 12 in natural spectrum; lowered partials 3, 6, and 12; chord-y
During subsection 2, the piano presents two transformations: one takes place in the low
register, gradually moving from chord-x to chord-y, while in the other, the high register is
used to move from chord-y to chord-z' (Ex. 10). Two percussion instruments are used for
accentuation: tam-tam for the chords in the lower register, cymbals for the chords in the
upper register. Both instruments produce inharmonic, bell-like spectra, making it more
difficult to perceive the transformations.
Robert Hasegawa, “Clashing Harmonic Systems in Haas’s Blumenstück and in vain,” Music Theory
Spectrum 37, No. 2 (2015): 210, 218. For a general account of the significance of Wyschnegradsky
chords in Haas’s music, see Lisa Farthofer, Georg Friedrich Haas: “Im Klange denken” (Saarbrücken:
Pfau, 2007), 37–41. These authors do not distinguish between the different types of Wyschnegradsky
chords, thereby placing limits on the descriptions of the processes at play in Haas’s work.
Ex. 10: Chord-x to y and chord-y to z' transformations, mm. 25–30
The clarinet presents a rhythmically altered version of the soprano part of Agnus Dei
mm. 4–5; Ex. 11 shows the original and the altered line. The notes of the clarinet line are
the roots of various transpositions of chord-z (Ex. 12). The process used here is not a shift
between different chord-types, but rather a spectral technique (the use of chords based
on a compressed spectrum) adorning a melodic line taken from the original Agnus Dei.
Ex. 11: Agnus Dei, mm. 4–5; Tria ex Uno III mm. 59–60
Ex. 12: Agnus Dei melodic line as roots of chord-z, Tria ex Uno III, mm 59–60
Section B
The second formal section reworks material borrowed from Agnus Dei mm. 1–2. Each
portion in section B makes use of two processes: the first is the synthesis of a harmonic
spectrum, while the second builds a Wyschnegradsky chord and/or transforms one type of
Wyschnegradsky chord to another. The two processes in section B of Tria ex Uno III highlight the two contrasting tuning systems: the additive synthesis process produces sonorities
in just intonation, against which Haas pits the equal temperament of the chordal process.
The first subsection in section B (mm. 77–156) is an extended development and transdialection of Agnus Dei m. 1. Throughout this subsection, spectra with D-fundamentals
are used, referring to the D-harmonic spectrum used in the opening of the Agnus Dei. An
F-spectrum is added in the final subsection, as in subsection 2. The synthesized emergence
of spectra takes place slowly, with partials added one by one by the winds, percussion,
and strings. In addition to the synthesis of harmonic spectra, the required instrumental
techniques also emphasize the overtone series.
Spanning section B, a process governs the type of spectrum produced by the continuous triplet figure played by various instruments in the ensemble. The inharmonic spectrum
of a cymbal is heard first, followed by the strings playing at the bridge, producing partials
close to a D-harmonic spectrum, but with added noise elements. The marimba then plays
the figure, the closest semblance to the D-harmonic spectrum. The process turns back,
presenting the strings again with the same performance instructions; followed by a cymbal. This process thus shades the D-spectrum from Agnus Dei m. 1 by shifting the triplet
motive from inharmonicity to harmonicity, and back to inharmonicity. The move away
from harmonicity is continued, shifting from the spectrum created by a single cymbal to
the combination of the four different spectra produced by four cymbals; the process finds
the lowest point of harmonicity in the bell-like spectrum of the tam-tam.
Near the end of the subsection (mm. 118–131), the additive synthesis and chordal
processes are merged into a single process, thereby closing the gap between just intonation and equal temperament. After chord-x has been built by the piano, the notes are
passed to the other instruments in the ensemble. Instead of transforming one chord type
to another, the process in this subsection transforms chord-x to a D(1:3:5:7:11) spectrum
by gradually changing the chordal notes to partials, as if by another mode of additive
synthesis (Ex. 13). By combining the chordal and synthesis processes, Haas blurs the line
between harmony and timbre.29
Ex. 13: Spectral and chordal processes combined, mm. 123–131
Rose, “Introduction to the Pitch Organization,” 36. Pressnitzer & McAdams, “Acoustics, Psychoacoustics,” 39.
Both the chordal and spectral processes change in the final subsection (mm. 157–180).
Chord-x' is not transformed into another chord; instead, it is gradually transposed downward so that the upper note comes to rest on an F (which is the second pitch of the
Agnus Dei melody). Instead of synthesizing a single spectrum, Haas presents two spectra
simultaneously; they compete against each other. These changes in process refer to the
D–F processes heard in subsection 2, which borrowed material from Agnus Dei m. 2
(cf. Ex. 6 and 7).
In concluding Tria ex Uno III with a D–F process, Haas refers to the final moments
of Tria ex Uno I and II, in which the mensural canon comes to rest on a D–F dyad.
Throughout Tria ex Uno III, the endings of melodic phrases from the Agnus Dei are used
at closing sections: the C–G end of the first phrase has been included in the fermatas
near the end of section A (mm. 71–72); the B-natural from the end of the second phrase,
completing the gamut in the Agnus Dei, is highlighted by the only use of the antique
cymbal at the close of section A (mm. 74–75); and the D–F close of the third phrase has
been subjected to spectral techniques to conclude Tria ex Uno III.
This study set out to determine the spectral methods Haas employs in the treatment
of Josquin’s Agnus Dei from Missa “L’homme armé” Super Voces Musicales. Haas’s emphasis on timbre is clear in the reorchestration of the mensural canon in Tria ex Uno II.
Additive synthesis has been used to create hybrid sonorities and to blur the line between
timbre and harmony. The structure of Tria ex Uno III is nonlinear, and Haas makes
use of various temporal adaptations. Throughout Tria ex Uno III, harmonic spectra are
used at points of stability. The spectra are implemented through additive synthesis and
the exploitation of various instruments’ ability to produce overtones. The natural harmonic spectrum is altered to form two inharmonic spectra, stretched and compressed by
one semitone per octave, respectively. These spectra provide the pitch material for the
piano’s Wyschnegradsky chords: stretched for chord-x; compressed for chord-z. D–F polyspectrality is used in two subsections, referring to areas in the Agnus Dei with prominent
D–F dyads, using these notes as fundamentals of spectra. Harmonicity and inharmonicity
are used to govern tension and release in a manner similar to that of consonance and
dissonance in the Renaissance.
Various processes create structure in Tria ex Uno III. The formal organization in section A is based on processes of restoration and distortion, while in section B, it is based
on the synthesis of harmonic spectra and chordal transformation processes. Processes
take place on a small scale within subsections (e.g., the synthesis and chordal processes
in the subsections of Section B); on a medium scale within sections (e.g., the inharmonic – harmonic – inharmonic process of the triplet figure throughout section B); and
on a large scale between movements (e.g., the gradual changes of the canon between Tria
ex Uno I and II, and III).
My discussion of the spectral techniques used to transform the Agnus Dei has been
framed by Burkholder’s three types of questions to be asked of any work that employs
musical borrowing. My primary aim has been to address the analytical questions; I have
also placed the work in its historical context by noting the overall frequency of musical
borrowing in the twentieth century as a result of an expanded stylistic distance, the less
frequent phenomenon of musical “double borrowing,” and the recurrence of musical
borrowing in Haas’s output.
Some possible answers in the interpretive realm arise from addressing the analytical
and historical questions. Haas takes distinct features of the Agnus Dei and presents them
in his own spectral dialect. The opening sonority of the Agnus Dei, D(2:3:4), implies the
first partials of a D harmonic spectrum, which Haas extends by adding higher partials
and contrasting this sonority with a different harmonic spectrum. He also exploits the
premise of a mensural canon, a melody unfolding in different prolations, by reworking the
original material through temporal stretching and compressing. By selecting a work from
the early Renaissance, Haas creates an extreme historical distance between his music and
its source material, thereby foregrounding his own compositional dialect.
Unfortunately, open sonorities, mensural canons, and historical distance are not by
any means exclusive to Josquin’s Agnus Dei. Neither the analytical discussion nor the
historical context sheds definitive light on the interpretive realm, but it is my hope that
this lacuna is not seen as a disappointing end of the road, but rather as a space that can
yet be filled through engagement with other fields and methodologies.
Processes of spectralization: From Josquin’s Missa “L’homme armé”
Super Voces Musicales to Haas’s Tria ex Uno
This article sheds new light on Georg Friedrich Haas’s borrowing methods through an
analysis of Tria ex Uno, which paraphrases a piece published half a millennium earlier:
the Agnus Dei II from Josquin des Prez’s Missa “L’homme armé” super voces musicales,
which employs borrowing techniques itself. I demonstrate the transformation from the
Agnus Dei II to Tria ex Uno by revealing Haas’s specific spectral paradigms and techniques
within a framework of Peter Burkholder’s and Richard Beaudoin’s work on musical borrowing. My study thus provides a means to understand the spectral treatment of existing
music within the discourse on musical borrowing.
Procesy spektralizace: od Josquinovy skladby Missa „L’homme armé”
Super Voces Musicales k dílu Tria ex uno Georga Friedricha Haase
Studie se zabývá metodou hudebních citátů Georga Friedricha Haase prostřednictvím
analýzy skladby Tria ex uno; díla, které parafrázuje hudební kus vzniklý o pět set let dříve –
Agnus Dei II ze skladby Missa “L’homme armé” super voces musicales od Josquina des
Prez, který sám o sobě vychází z principů přebírání cizího hudebního materiálu. Transformace Agnus Dei II v Tria ex uno je vysvětlena pomocí definice Haasova specifického
spektrálního paradigmatu a technik v teoretickém kontextu hudebního citování Petera
Burkholdera a Richarda Beaudoina. Studie nabízí nástroje k pochopení spektrálního
zpracování existující hudby v rámci diskurzu hudebního citování.
Georg Friedrich Haas; intertextuality; Josquin des Prez; musical borrowing; spectralism.
Klíčová slova
Georg Friedrich Haas; intertextualita; Josquin des Prez; hudební citát; spektralismus.
Musicologica Olomucensia 22 – December 2015
The Lullaby of Ilse Weber: Terezín as a Mirror Image
Mirjam Frank
Ilse Weber “Wiegala”
Wiegala, wiegala, weier,
der Wind spielt auf der Leier.
Er spielt so süß im grünen Ried,
die Nachtigall, die singt ihr Lied.
Wiegala, wiegala, weier,
der Wind spielt auf der Leier.
Wiegala, wiegala, weier,
the wind plays on the lyre.
It’s playing sweetly in the reeds,
the nightingale sings her song.
Wiegala, wiegala, weier,
the wind plays on the lyre.
Wiegala, wiegala, werne,
der Mond ist die Laterne,
er steht am dunklen Himmelszelt
und schaut hernieder auf die Welt.
Wiegala, wiegala, werne,
der Mond ist die Laterne.
Wiegala, wiegala, werne
the moon is the lantern,
he looks down to earth
from heaven’s tent.
Wiegala, wiegala, werne,
the moon is the lantern.
Wiegala, wiegala, wille,
wie ist die Welt so stille!
Es stört kein Laut die süße Ruh,
schlaf, mein Kindchen, schlaf auch du.
Wiegala, wiegala, wille,
wie ist die Welt so stille!30
Wiegala, wiegala, wille,
how still the world is!
No sound disturbs the sweet peace,
sleep, my child, sleep.
Wiegala, wiegala, wille,
how still the world is!31
I would like to thank Professor Michael Beckerman for his encouragement and invaluable advice on
the topic.
Ilse Weber, “Wiegala” (poem) in Ulrike Migdal, Ilse Weber: Wann wohl das Leid ein Ende hat, Briefe
und Gedichte aus Theresienstadt (München: Carl Hanser Verlag, 2008), 268.
Translation: Mirjam Frank.
According to the liner notes of the 2008 Deutsche Grammophon release Terezín, “Wiegala”
was the last song Ilse Weber (1903–1944) sang together with a group of sick children,
whom she had previously nursed in Terezín, while they were waiting for their death in
the gas chambers of Auschwitz towards the end of 1944.32 It is likely that her second and
youngest son, Tommy, was among these children.
The gas chambers of Auschwitz stand in stark contrast with the idea of a calming
lullaby in general, and the words of Weber’s “Wiegala” in particular: “Wie ist die Welt
so stille! How still the world is!” The effect created by the juxtaposition is powerful. Yet,
even a brief examination will show that this backdrop to “Wiegala”, presumably written
between 1942 and 1944 in Terezín, is a rather murky one. While there is a kind of eyewitness testimony recalling Weber and the children in Auschwitz, which I will elaborate on
in more detail later, the accuracy of any testimony, particularly things remembered under
distressing circumstances, cannot be taken for granted. Is it really possible that somebody
actually witnessed her singing in the gas chambers, since nobody who entered would
have survived? The source of Weber’s final performance of “Wiegala” is anything but
conclusive. There is no way of knowing if it really happened this way – or happened at all.
However, it is not only the context of this final sounding of Weber’s lullaby that has
underlying sources we cannot prove. We are also unsure about the texts themselves. In
keeping with the questionable origins of the story is a certain ambiguity regarding the surviving manuscripts of Weber’s music. As we shall see, extant arrangements of “Wiegala”
and other tunes attributed to the songwriter are somewhat arbitrary. However, the mere
existence of the “gas chamber narrative”, and the fact that it has found its way to presentday audiences, charges “Wiegala” with meaning that aims to add a darker, more desperate
side to its apparent simplicity.
In the following, I will set out to ask some central questions about the Ilse Weber
phenomenon: How and why have her songs and poems found their way into today’s music scene, and to what effect? What are the reasons for the radically differing versions of
the music ascribed to Ilse Weber, and how does this play into the modelling of manifold
notions of Terezín by individual performers? On what basis do we add to the songs, transform them, and make them our own? What conclusions, if any, can we draw both about
the music and the composer based on the material available, and what are some of the
wider issues of Terezín music today?
There are manifold ways to attempt answers to these questions. However, my main
argument shall be that the popularity of Ilse Weber’s music in Terezín commemorations
is directly related to the scarce and often unverifiable sources we have, which give room
for performers to add meaning, and to model “their own Ilse”. Of course, the notion of
re-imagining a historic site by adding to the material at hand applies much more broadly
to all kinds of retrospectives. Yet, as we shall see, Ilse Weber’s case is a particularly
powerful one in this regard because the places her works were created and performed
Ulrike Migdal in Terezín/Theresienstadt, CD liner notes (Berlin: Deutsche Grammophon, 2008),
pp. 10–11.
in – Terezín and presumably Auschwitz – do not lend themselves to straightforward and
uncomplicated truths. Nonetheless, more often than not, her tunes are appropriated to
do just that: to tell a simplified sentimental story about a woman who found herself in
a horrific place.
Before investigating Ilse Weber and her Terezín-songs in more detail, it is useful to
outline some of the functions of the ghetto itself, which, after all, provided the context
for her texts and music.
A Potemkin Village
The ghetto or Durchgangslager Terezín, which accommodated a large number of educated
and formerly well-respected Jews, amongst them composers, writers, conductors, directors
and visual artists, was selected to serve as propaganda tool, as a place through which the
Nazis could demonstrate to the outside world that they made possible a culturally vibrant
and otherwise “good life” for Jews. All of this, of course, was part of a plan to deceive
the Swiss delegates of the International Red Cross who visited Terezín on 23 June 1944.
In the months before their appearance, the ghetto underwent “beautification” and also
prepared for the production of a propaganda film titled Theresienstadt: Ein Dokumentarfilm
aus dem jüdischen Siedlungsgebiet.33 The film was to serve as a document to the outside
world to give a false image of how idyllic a place a ghetto or concentration camp indeed
was. According to a number of testimonies, during these months in 1944 prisoners were
relatively free to follow cultural activities such as participating in concerts, opera or
theatre productions and sports events.34 The inmates were allowed to schedule up to four
concerts every day, and these and other activities of the Freizeitgestaltung (leisure time
organisation) were welcomed by the Nazis as part of a strategy to demonstrate to the
world what a cultural site Bad Theresienstadt, as they cynically called it, was.35
What exactly this freedom meant for the individual is hard to say. We do have testimonies from survivors like Ruth Elias, who heard many concerts and describes a considerable
change of the everyday ghetto life.36 Nonetheless, we cannot assume that everyone was
affected in the same way. However, the fraudulent construct of the Nazis paradoxically
provided a niche for creativity, and perhaps even hope for the oppressed. Thus, the ghetto
became a Potemkin Village during the summer of 1944. Although the inmates were forced
Karel Margry, “Theresienstadt (1944–1945): The Nazi propaganda film depicting the concentration
camp as paradise,” Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 12, No. 2 (1992): 145–162.
See interviews with Alice Herz-Sommer and Coco Schumann in Refuge in Music: Theresienstadt,
Dorothee Binding, Benedict Mirow, dir., DVD (Berlin: Deutsche Grammophon, 2013).
On Freizeitgestaltung see Ulrike Migdal, Und die Musik spielt dazu: Chansons und Satiren aus dem
KZ Theresienstadt (München: Piper, 1986).
Ruth Elias, Die Hoffnung erhielt mich am Leben: Mein Weg von Theresienstadt und Auschwitz nach
Israel (München: Piper, 1988), 120.
to participate in creating a fake image of their everyday reality, a number of them did have
a better and culturally richer life than any of those who found themselves at Auschwitz or
another concentration camp, or war-torn places in general. Ruth Elias, who survived both
Terezín and Auschwitz, remembers that the first concert she heard in the ghetto was “one
of my most festive concerts I was ever allowed to listen to.”37 Against all odds, Terezín
became a grotesque kind of home to a number of its culturally active residents during
the time of its so-called beautification. Thus, the fake reality created by the Nazis became
real to some, even if only for a short while. Most of the participants of the Theresienstadt
documentary were deported to Auschwitz shortly after the shooting was finished.38
Ilse Weber and the “Wiegala myth”
As a consequence of Terezín’s special status, a large number of art works survived the war,
including music manuscripts, poetry, letters, and drawings. Music composed or performed
in the ghetto is central to many of the current attempts to reflect and rework its history.
Krása’s opera for children, Brundibár, is of course one of the more prominent examples.
Others are instrumental pieces along the lines of the Second Viennese School such as
Gideon Klein’s Piano Sonata, cabaret songs like “As if” by Leo Strauss, or the simple tunes
by Ilse Weber. Thus, we may ask: if anything from “serious” art music to dark-humoured
cabaret may be found among the music composed in Terezín, how is it that the nostalgic
and perhaps even naïve nature of a song like “Wiegala” is often foregrounded?39
In the liner notes to the 2008 CD Terezín mentioned above, Ulrike Migdal writes that
Weber’s songs “in their simplicity and heartfelt inwardness […] are amongst the most
moving works written in Theresienstadt.” As noted earlier, she connects her observation
with the statement that “Ilse Weber voluntarily went to her death together with the sick
children from the camp. Eyewitnesses report that in the gas chambers, she sang her song,
‘Wiegala’ (Lullaby), with the Theresienstadt children.”40 Yet, who were these eyewitnesses?
The likely source for this story is a passage from the book Ilse Weber: Wann wohl das
Leid ein Ende hat, also written by Migdal, with the following recollection by a surviving
friend of the Weber family from Ostrava/Ostrau of Ilse’s arrival in Auschwitz together
with a number of children from the sick ward (his identity is not further specified):
Sometime in the autumn of 1944, I saw a group of ten to fifteen children that had just been
transported here. Ilse was among them and tried to comfort the little ones. “Is it true that we
may take a shower after the journey?” she asked. I did not want to lie, and answered: “No,
Ibid., 104. Translation: Mirjam Frank
Margry, “Theresienstadt (1944–1945),” 146.
Songs by Krása, Haas and Ulmann of course do not explicitly address Terezín itself, but the musical
language of their pieces is much more jarring and unsettling.
Migdal in Terezín/Theresienstadt, 10–11.
this isn’t a bathroom, it is a gas chamber, and I will give you the following advice: I have
often heard you sing in the sick ward. Enter the gas chambers as fast as you can. Sit down
with the children and start singing. Sing what you have always sung with them. This way,
you will inhale the gas more quickly. Otherwise, you’ll be trampled to death once everyone
starts to panic.” Ilse’s reaction was strange. She laughed, somehow absent-mindedly, hugged
one of the children and said: “So we won’t shower then –.”41
As opposed to the Grammophon text we encounter the voice of an eyewitness here. Although this initially seems like clear evidence, it is information that comes to us through
recollection. It is a retelling of an event that may or may not have taken place that way;
we have no way of knowing.
While the story of Weber’s encounter with a friend just before the gas chambers may
well have happened along the lines outlined above, is it really possible that anyone could
have had the chance to hear her sing inside the chambers, given that no one who once
went in would have survived? According to Migdal, the family friend who told Weber to
sing songs with the children was appointed by the Nazis to transport corpses from the
gas chambers to the crematoria. Nonetheless, it remains unclear whether she did follow
his advice and, if she did, which song(s) she chose. Yet, despite its unverifiable nature, the
account of Weber singing in the gas chambers has become firmly attached to “Wiegala”.
But what do we actually know about the song, the music itself? In order to illustrate
how fragmentary the music sources are, I would like to investigate two of Weber’s songs
more closely: “Wiegala”, which is one of the few songs for which we may actually have
a handwritten manuscript of the melody line by Weber herself, and “Ich wandre durch
Theresienstadt”, which has probably been subject to more contrasting arrangements than
any of her other works.
“Wiegala”: the manuscript and its performances
Fig. 1: Transcription of the manuscript of “Wiegala” as found in Migdal, Ilse Weber, p. 269
The manuscript shows that the melody of “Wiegala” was originally written in 3/4 and in
the key of E minor. Further, the words of the first verse are placed underneath the melody
Migdal, Ilse Weber, 326–327. Translation: Mirjam Frank
line. A caption of the manuscript can be found in Ulrike Migdal’s book Ilse Weber: Wann
wohl das Leid ein Ende hat, and seems to have been verified as Weber’s own handwriting.42
From the information given in the score, we cannot draw conclusions about how the tune
was harmonized, or what tempo and instrumentation might have been like.
A literal performance of this manuscript, absent any accompaniment or indications
of harmony, may have sounded like a 2014 recording by Delilah Gutman, an Italian musician and composer.43 We get a certain sense of fragility and perhaps even loneliness in
Gutman’s performance because the lack of accompaniment leaves the melody “hanging”;
it is devoid of a foundation, as it of course would have been had Weber sung it in the gas
chambers. Gutman chooses a relatively slow tempo and often decelerates or even pauses,
which makes her performance somewhat eerie because it interrupts the rocking motion of
the lullaby. Although simple and straightforward at first, Gutman’s version also suggests
solitude and disruption. Can we thus hear Terezín somewhere behind the simple tune,
or is such an association a mere figment of our imagination, after having been informed
about the song’s background? Do the recurring downward leaps of a fifth, from B back to
its E minor tonic, enforce a darker, more desperate mood? Aside from musical considerations, the song’s last line “how still the world is” can of course also be read as a metaphor
for death and forgetting. Might we thus say that Gutman’s recording provides us with an
authentic representation of “Wiegala”, with the real Ilse, because she more or less closely
sticks to what we find on the page and the fact that there certainly was no guitar available
in the gas chambers? Or may her performance perhaps lend itself all too easily to notions
of loneliness and sorrow, as if intended to create a present-day memorial?
I learned from several sources (among them Weber’s son Hanuš and Ulrike Migdal) that all letters and manuscripts were donated to Yad Vashem by Hanuš. Even after multiple requests I have
not been able to access more than four digitized files. Thus, the current location of the music and
other manuscripts I am looking for is unknown to me. It has therefore been impossible for me to
substantiate Migdal’s claim of the handwritten “Wiegala” score by means of the sources available
to me. The mentioned manuscript as well as any other handwritten sources seem inaccessible at
this point. The original files I was able to investigate were typewritten (Weber often mentioned her
preference for the typewriter over the use of pens in letters to her friend Lilian). Ulrike Migdal
included in her book a last postcard written by Weber from Terezín. Since she chose block letters
here, a comparison to the supposed manuscript (cursive) seems impossible. Addition (15 December
2015): After the submission of this article and three previously made attempts to obtain information from Yad Vashem regarding Ilse Weber’s Nachlass, I finally managed to get information about
the files containing manuscripts and other material. Given the short notice, I have not evaluated or
even received any of it yet, but am looking forward to doing so and presenting any issues raised by
these documents at some point in the future. Although I did not have a chance to look at all of this
material when I worked on my article, I still suspect the collection to be fragmentary, and thus still
suggest that the lack of easily accessible original sources (and/or a thorough evaluation of these)
present ideal conditions for the creation of all kinds of Terezín memorials by allowing for manifold
notions of Ilse Weber.
Italya Isola Della Rugiada Divina, Delilah Sharon Gutman, Rephael Negri, perf., CD (Milan: Stradivarius, 2014).
Deutsche Grammophon’s Terezín with Anne Sofie von Otter as singer of “Wiegala” is
perhaps the most widely known release of Ilse Weber’s music. Even though the arrangement made for the renowned Swedish mezzo-soprano goes far beyond the information
provided by the manuscript, it carefully considers possible “authentic performance practice” by using a guitar as sole instrument of accompaniment. Ruth Elias for instance, who
became a close friend of Weber’s in Terezín, recalls how the young songwriter and poet
managed to smuggle a guitar into her so-called Kumbalek:44
A lute (which is what Ruth Elias called Ilse’s guitar) had a special place on one of the
walls in her Kumbalek, which one of the Czech gendarmes had “filched” for her, i.e., he
had smuggled it into the camp.45 Musical instruments of any kind were confiscated as
“contraband” during the first years of the ghetto, owning them was strictly prohibited. But
Ilse was lucky that her Kumbalek was never searched by the SS, for had they discovered
this lute, she would have immediately received orders for the East-transport. […] It may
sound paradoxical, but we spent unforgettable hours in Ilse’s Kumbalek, in which she sang
songs with the lute.46
According to the above, it thus seems likely that the songs Weber wrote in Terezín were
accompanied by guitar (or perhaps, as Elias called it, a lute, which may once more challenge our interpretation of Weber’s music). Of course, we still cannot know what Weber’s
singing voice and style sounded like, and how she would have harmonized the piece. In
contrast to Gutman, von Otter’s lullaby stays more true to what we imagine its original,
traditional use to be: the tempo is faster and steadier in a way that allows the piece to flow.
Also aided by the evenly strummed chords in the guitar accompaniment, this “Wiegala”
could indeed rock a baby to sleep. Von Otter sings the tune with sensitivity to the musical
demands, but still manages to present “Wiegala” somewhat matter-of-factly, i.e., without
sentimentality, without adding dramatic layers to hint at the song’s suggested backstory.
This assessment, of course, is a result of my own subjective listening, and other listeners
might have different views.
A Kumbalek is a tiny room, which Weber shared with her sister-in-law, Erna. See Migdal, Ilse Weber,
Annotation in brackets inserted by Ulrike Migdal.
While it is most likely that Weber, who was largely a self-taught musician, had a guitar at her disposal
in Terezín, it still seems odd that Elias would refer to it as a lute. A photograph taken in 1928 shows
Weber with a lute (Migdal, Ilse Weber, p. 2). Of course, it must have been a different instrument
than the one she used in Terezín. In letters Weber wrote to her friend Lilian in Sweden, she also
talks about playing the lute. However, the kind of lute shown in the 1928 picture is played and tuned
like a guitar, and merely adopts the visual aspects of the early instrument. This “quasi-guitar” seems
to have been rather common around the time (I would like to thank lutenist Axel Wolf for his assessment of the matter). We also know that Weber was given a balalaika by a Gypsy when she was
a young woman. She thus might have had access to yet another style of music making.
Ruth Elias quoted in Migdal, Ilse Weber, 323. Translation: Mirjam Frank.
Knowing that Weber played her songs on a guitar does of course not answer the question of how she might have performed them had she had more instruments at her disposal.
A recording suggesting yet another approach to interpreting “Wiegala” is Bente Kahan’s
from her album Stimmen aus Theresienstadt (voices from Terezín). Kahan is a Norwegian
cabaret singer who grew up in Tel Aviv and New York. She made herself known as an
artist committed to keeping up and continuing the traditions of European Jews.47 For this
reason, it is not surprising that the arrangements and instrumentation of songs presented
in her album allude to Jewish folk music, particularly klezmer styles. In addition to the
guitar, we also hear a violin part that is both used to complement the harmony and as an
independent voice. Kahan sings the lullaby a fourth down from its original key, which allows her to employ the speech-like vocal quality often found on the theatre stage because
the singer can stay in chest voice. Stylized glottal stops and a heightened sense of emotive
expression underline the “folksiness” inherent to her interpretation. Like Gutman’s solo
recording, Kahan’s “Wiegala” has a much more dramatic turn to it than von Otter’s. The
singer presents us with a theatrical, colourful version of Ilse Weber, one that we might
imagine on the cabaret stages of Terezín, and thus in line with the supposedly original
version of another one of Weber’s songs, “Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt”, as will be
shown later. Most striking however is the fact that, unlike any other performance, Kahan’s
changes the metre from a waltz to common time.48 Weber’s surviving son Hanuš was
involved in compiling the liner notes of this particular album, and as far as I understand
from an email conversation I had with him in December 2014, he is on friendly terms with
the Norwegian singer. Unfortunately, my attempts to get in touch with Kahan herself in
order to enquire about the change of metre and her arrangements of Weber’s song more
generally have remained unsuccessful. We may consider the possibility that she did not
have access to the autograph discussed above at the time the album was produced in 1997,
but perhaps either heard a rendition of the song by someone else, or encountered a copy
made by a survivor of Terezín after the war.
Almost all of the other recordings of “Wiegala” I could find were made in 2008 or
later, which is when Deutsche Grammophon released Terezín and Ulrike Migdal published
her book with the caption of the “Wiegala” manuscript. Assuming that Kahan might have
used a score or recording that was brought to her by one of Weber’s surviving inmates
after the war, how would we treat such a source compared to “the original”? Is it possible at all that a transcription from someone else’s memory might be more “authentic”
than a composer’s own notation? We must keep in mind that Ilse Weber was a poet and
writer of folk tunes, not a composer of classical art music. Concepts like accuracy and
detail seem much more flexible here. Who knows if the composer always cared to follow
her own manuscript? Maybe she even sang it in common time herself from time to time?
“The official page of Bente Kahan,” <>.
Bente Kahan, Stimmen aus Theresienstadt: Lieder nach Gedichten von Ilse Weber & Songs aus den
Kabaretts (Dortmund: Pläne, 1997).
From Elias, we also know that the songwriter was a keen improviser, which may mean
that different “Wiegalas” might have already existed then.49
The concept of Terezín music: “Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt”
Music composed in Terezín is almost exclusively performed in memorial concerts today;
concerts which devote themselves to a hearing of the music through the historic lens of
the Holocaust. We do not hear songs like Weber’s paired with compositions by Brahms,
Schubert or Bach. Instead, we hear them as a re-enactment of the creative efforts that
were made at the same time as others went into gas chambers. Through testimonies, we
know that the soundscape of Terezín was by no means exclusively defined by the pieces
we hear in many memorial concerts today. Indeed, an “authentic” Terezín performance
could have included pieces by Bach, Beethoven and Mozart, alongside cabaret and opera
productions, folk music sessions and jazz concerts.50 Of course, the question remains what
an authentic Terezín performance might be and whether we would want to re-create it.
As is perhaps the case with all commemorative events, there can be a danger of projecting sentimentality and perhaps even nostalgia into a programme consisting of music
exclusively written in camps, nestled in its crass historic background. In order to illustrate
my concern here, I would like to point to Ute Lemper’s emotionally charged performance
of Weber’s “Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt” (I wander through Terezín).51
First of all, just like with “Wiegala”, there are a number of choices that can be made
when performing the song. Composer and arranger Winfried Radeke published two versions in his 2008 edition of songs to poems by Ilse Weber.52 All of the texts in this volume
were written by Weber herself, the origins of melodies and accompaniments however
are mostly unclear to the reader.53 Rather surprisingly, the version that is directly attributed to Weber has a march-like accompaniment. The second-beat triplets add a tone of
mockery or sarcasm to a text that talks about a walk through Terezín with “the heart as
heavy as lead” (Ex. 2 bars 1 and 5), somewhat reminiscent of the grotesque cynicism of
Berlin cabaret.
Elias in Migdal, Ilse Weber, 323.
See Joza Karas, Music in Terezin 1941–1945 (Stuyvesant, N.Y.: Pendragon Press, 1985), 37–62.
“Holocaust Memorial Concert,” Rai 5, Rome 26 January 2015, accessed via YouTube <https://www.>.
Winfried Radeke, ed., Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt: Lieder für Singstimme und Klavier (Berlin:
Bote & Bock, 2008), pp. 6, 16.
The editor, Winfried Radeke, explains in a foreword that most of the sources of the accompaniments
to Weber’s songs are unidentifiable. Yet, it is not always apparent to the reader where exactly he (or
someone else) added to Weber’s poems and/or manuscripts.
Fig. 2: “Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt” as composed by Ilse Weber, according to Radeke, Ich
wandre durch Theresienstadt, p. 6
The song as arranged by Radeke imitates guitar-arpeggios, perhaps deriving from our
knowledge that Weber had a guitar in the ghetto. Nonetheless, the change of rhythmic
action in the accompaniment here of course suggests an atmosphere of resignation, which
stands in stark contrast to the rather provocative, march-like variant attributed to Weber.
Fig. 3: “Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt” as arranged by Radeke in Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt, p. 16
Ute Lemper’s arrangement is much more like the one provided by Radeke, and she
heightens the sentimentality of the blissfully rippling arpeggios we hear from the piano
by giving an introduction to the song and calling it “a proof of life, a proof of the spirit,
the compassion and the love of Ilse Weber and all those others […]”. Lemper closes with
the words “[…] never ever again”, alluding to a time in history that has passed and left
behind its terror. Her performance has the potential to suggest that we are a morally
superior audience – because we “understand”.54
Lemper’s audience learns little about the context, i.e., the actual circumstances under
which the songs were written, performed and passed on. Instead, we are presented with
the larger concerns: the camp, the death of millions. In the case of “Ich wandre durch
Theresienstadt”, we hear a sweet and mellow tune and, at the same time, are lead to think
about gas chambers and crematoria. The chasm between these two thought processes
could not be bigger and the kinds of reactions that are triggered in an audience by the
juxtaposition of such contrasting images are variable, ambiguous and poorly understood.
“Holocaust Memorial Concert,” Rai 5, Rome 26 January 2015.
Yet, despite the number of performances and recordings that were made of “Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt”, we do not even know whether the song was actually composed
by Ilse Weber herself. The first, march-version is attributed in its entirety to Ilse Weber
by the editor Winfried Radeke. However, it is known that Weber was primarily a guitarist
(or “lutenist”) and not a pianist, which makes it rather unlikely that the accompaniment
was written by her. Deutsche Grammophon attributes only text and melody to Weber.
The liner notes to Stimmen aus Theresienstadt only credit her as the writer of the lyrics.
Moreover, we have no way of knowing when the songs of Weber were written down, how
and by whom they were remembered, or whether they might be post-war compositions
altogether as long as original manuscripts and other sources from the Nachlass remain
unlocatable – or lost.
Why Ilse Weber?
As demonstrated above, the case of Ilse Weber is a particularly interesting one regarding
the “Terezín commemoration concerts”. Reconstructions of her music are anything but
straightforward, owing to the small amount of surviving source material. According to
Radeke, 11 songs survived, eight of which were brought to us by Weber’s fellow inmates
after the war. Apart from “Wiegala”, there supposedly are manuscripts of “Schlaf, mein
Püppchen” and “Emigrantenlied”.55 Information provided by Ulrike Migdal, who perhaps
has more insight into the texts and music written by Ilse Weber than anyone else, states
that only eight songs survived, and the songwriter’s own son, Hanuš, also mentioned
eight songs to me in an email. However, the pieces he lists slightly differ from Migdal’s
account.56 Although the state of Weber’s song collection is rather fragmentary, we also
have to keep in mind that her pieces were not so-called art songs, which are notated in
a far more detailed manner, offering much less freedom to the performer. If anything,
they belong in the category of folk music or popular song, which means that, with or
without a complete surviving manuscript, the songs are much more likely to be adjusted
by the performer. Thus, the nature of Weber’s songs, and the fact that their origins remain
unclear to us, somehow make Ilse Weber ungraspable as both woman and songwriter,
and an ideal figure for the creation of manifold notions of Terezín.
On the surface it seems that through the inwardness and simplicity of songs like
“Wiegala” and “Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt”, we as an audience are granted access
Radeke, Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt, 3.
In Ilse Weber, p. 338, Migdal lists “Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt”, “Und der Regen rinnt”, “Ade,
Kamerad”, “Kleines Wiegenlied”, “Wiegenlied (Ukolébavka)”, “Emigrantenlied”, “Gebet (Modlitba)” and “Wiegala”. Hanuš Weber lists the same songs with the exception of “Gebet”. Instead,
he names a piece called “Dobrý den”. Further, Migdal informs us that compositions by Ilse Weber
to the texts of these eight songs have survived, but we do not learn what the scores might look like.
Migdal also states that a lot of material, perhaps including music manuscripts, was confiscated (and
destroyed) during house searches in the communist era in Prague.
to the inner world of the songwriter Ilse Weber. Although none of us had to experience
the inhumanity of WW2 in Central Europe, we can all somehow connect to a nostalgic
longing for a place of hope, calm and peace. In the two pieces discussed, Weber does
not give a vivid account of the horrific reality at Terezín, and, accompanied by the “gas
chamber narrative”, offers us a much more universal notion of Weltschmerz than a graphic
depiction would do. Depending on how it is harmonized, a simple song like “Wiegala”,
that seems to be caught in its minor key, alongside imagery of the moon as lantern, the
wind that plays on the lyre and the stillness of the world, is both sad and consoling at
the same time.
At the 2014 Canberra International Festival of Music, for instance, a programme titled
Triumph of the Heart: Music from the Camps included two pieces by Weber, among them
“Wiegala”.57 A member of the audience expressed the effect this particular song had on
her as follows: “[…] The audience were unable to move at the end. Many, like me, sat
with tears rolling down their faces as we processed what we were hearing. Chris Latham
had earlier explained that this song was written for the children of Terezín as a lullaby,
but that it had finally been sung to them […] in the gas chamber at Auschwitz.”58 What
would their reaction have been had they not been introduced to the background story?
The rediscovery of Ilse Weber’s songs has certainly enabled a Terezín-story that introduces a kind of simplicity and quietness into a place that is mostly associated with noise,
uncertainty and existential angst. It could even be said to add a lighter, maternal facet to
the Terezín canon that otherwise consists of works by male composers. Yet, the stillness
and simplicity are deceptive, both in the song “Wiegala” that, as noted above, repeatedly
falls a fifth back to its dark minor tonic, and in the way singular notions of Ilse Weber
and Terezín are shaped.
That Weber indeed was an unusually strong and caring woman who tried to uplift the
spirits of others through songs and poetry is beyond doubt. However, it becomes clear
through her large collection of letters and poems that she was a much more multi-faceted
woman. Weber was politically engaged and forward thinking. She was a mother of two,
a writer of radio plays and poetry, and engaged in socialist thought. Further, Weber had
a sharp sense for the developments in central Europe in the 1930s.59 In an interview
from 2008, Weber’s eldest and only surviving son Hanuš reveals that, through her letters
and poems, he discovered sides of his mother he had never known, and is unsure how to
“Canberra International Music Festival: The Fire and the Rose,” 9–18 May 2014, programme,
Post by “Wild Voices Music Theatre” seen on Facebook <>, 13 May 2014.
Migdal, Ilse Weber, 13–31.
reconcile them.60 We might take Hanuš’s ambivalence, along with the many versions of
“Wiegala”, as a caution against creating a unitary picture of Weber and, instead, embrace
a multi-faceted persona comprising contradictions and unresolved questions.
Although nostalgia was certainly one of many survival modes within the walls of
Terezín, we have to remind ourselves that Terezín itself must never become a place of
nostalgia for us. Many of the performers introduced above have done important and valuable work. They make us listen to the words of a woman who was silenced in Auschwitz
in 1944. Her music deserves to be heard in all kinds of contexts, and certainly does not
have to be restricted to memorial events. “Authenticity”, of course, can by no means be
a criterion for today’s performances. Not only because a re-enactment of Terezín cannot
be in anybody’s interest, but also to keep her music alive and prevent it from becoming
a museum exhibit. It may well speak for itself. Daniel Hope poignantly points out that
“this music does not need its history; but has it.”61
Yet, as we have seen, “Wiegala” or “Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt” seem to lend
themselves particularly well to evoking emotional responses. Sentimentalizing Weber’s
lullaby poses the danger of transforming Terezín itself into a nostalgic place for its audiences. Of course, it is hardly a coincidence that “Wiegala” is readily used for such a transformation, for lullabies in general function particularly well regarding softer and more
sentimental appropriations. This form of nostalgia, in turn, creates a mirror image of
what the Nazis had had in mind: a model concentration camp for visitors. Because we
are not made aware that the compositions we are hearing have been altered and given
different meanings ever since they were found and sung for the first time, memorial
events may run the risk of creating yet another Potemkin Village, a “Potemkin Concert”,
a place that avoids direct and uncomfortable confrontation with a historic event that
will always pose more questions than it can provide answers. Some of these memorials
may even provide a platform for moral whitewashing, perhaps blended with a little bit of
voyeurism, at the expense of (musical) variety. Terezín served as a model camp in 1944
to create a false image of concentration camp reality; Terezín serves as a model camp
today, 60 years after the war, where some of the ostensibly most sentimental and accommodating tunes are a vehicle for nostalgic sentiments in a world where we would do well
to make such performances relevant for present times, where – to some – genocide and
war are a present reality.
Interview conducted by Yasemin Ergin for NDR Kulturjournal; accessed via <http://www.zwockhaus.
Refuge in Music: Theresienstadt, Berlin 2013, [50:00]. Translation: Mirjam Frank
The Lullaby of Ilse Weber: Terezín as a Mirror Image
Although Ilse Weber’s compositions have become central to the “Terezín canon”, very few
of her musical manuscripts are available. My study argues that the lack of sources actually
serves Weber’s popularity, as her Terezín songs can be tailored to the needs of individual
performers to represent manifold notions of Terezín. Furthermore, my research juxtaposes Terezín’s current status as a memorial site with its original function as a “Potemkin
Village.” Considering that much of the complexity of Terezín’s original soundscape has
been ignored or suppressed, I argue that it has become a simplified mirror image of the
“model ghetto” it originally was.
Ukolébavka Ilse Weber: Terezín jako obraz v zrcadle
Ačkoliv se skladby Ilse Weber staly středem „terezínského kánonu“, jejich rukopisy jsou
stále těžko dostupné. Studie tvrdí, že právě tato skutečnost přispívá k popularitě Ilse
Weber, neboť interpretace jejích písní takto zůstává otevřená různým pojetím, potažmo
představám reprezentace Terezína. Studie dále srovnává současný status Terezína jako
pamětního místa s původním určením tzv. Potěmkinovy vesnice. S ohledem na současný
reduktivní obraz hudebního života v Terezíně studie nachází paralely se zjednodušeným
obrazem daného místa jako „vzorového ghetta“ v minulosti.
Auschwitz; Freizeitgestaltung; Ilse Weber; Lullaby; Memorial; Mirror Image; Potemkin
Village; Sentimentality; Terezín/Theresienstadt.
Klíčová slova
Auschwitz (Osvětim); Freizeitgestaltung; Ilse Weber; ukolébavka; památník; obraz v zrcadle; Potěmkinova vesnice; sentimentalita; Terezín/Theresienstadt.
Musicologica Olomucensia 22 – December 2015
Bridging Deep Chasms: The Soviet Third Direction in Aleksei Rybnikov’s
Rock Opera The Star and Death of Joaquin Murieta
Alexandra Grabarchuk
Soviet rock opera was an anomaly among official, state-approved music for at least two
reasons. First, it clearly borrowed from “bourgeois” Western sources – even more so
than regular Soviet popular music, generally called estrada.62 While the latter ranged in
ideological conformity from the pro-Soviet civic songs of Aleksandra Pakhmutova to the
apolitical and progressively tinged concept albums of David Tukhmanov, rock opera owed
its very existence to such Western models as Jesus Christ Superstar.63 Yet that wasn’t the
only bold characteristic of this genre. Another – and potentially even more significant –
process elucidated through examining Soviet rock opera is an unprecedented mixing of
academic music and estrada in what the Composers’ Union retrospectively called the
“Third Direction.” In 2005, Ukrainian scholars I. Stetsiuk and M. Abakumov described
the Third Direction as having roots in “several tendencies in academic Eastern European
music of the 1950s to the 1980s, including cinematic and electronic music.”64 This article
will argue that Soviet rock opera was allowed to exist and evolve in part because it was
another prime example of this “optimization between serious and light music.”65
Borrowed from the French estrade, the term literally means “small stage.” Refers to cabaret, circus,
popular music, and other small-scale forms of art intended to be performed on stage. For further
discussion of Soviet estrada, see Alexandra Grabarchuk, “The Soundtrack of Stagnation: Paradoxes
within Soviet Rock and Pop of the 1970s,” (Ph.D. diss., UCLA, 2015).
A detailed account of JCSS circulating in composers’ circles can be found in Peter J. Schmelz, “From
Scriabin to Pink Floyd: The ANS Synthesizer and the Politics of Soviet Music between Thaw and
Stagnation,” Sound Commitments: Avant-Garde Music and the Sixties, ed. Robert Adlington (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2009), 254–276.
I. O. Stetsiuk & M. A. Abakumov, “Tret’e napravlenie” i kinomuzyka Eduarda Artеm’eva (Kiev: Ukraine
National Musical Academy, 2005), 8.
Although estrada also engaged with classical forms (see David Tukhmanov’s 1975
album On the Wave of my Memory for both aural and visual examples), the union of opera
and rock music had previously neither been recognized nor lauded in an official capacity.
With rock opera, just as with film or other collaborative art forms that rely heavily on
institutionalized support, nationally funded theaters and artists needed the backing of
government organs in order to produce any large-scale spectacle. The fact that such backing, however conditional or fraught, was found in the Soviet 1970s is a phenomenon worth
exploring; it speaks to the peculiar flexibility of a Soviet aesthetic. This article will briefly
touch upon the genesis of rock opera in the Soviet Union, and then examine the production of one of the first rock operas in the USSR –Aleksei Rybnikov’s The Star and Death
of Joaquin Murieta (Звезда и смерть Хоакина Мурьеты, 1976). Through examining the
role of composer – the auteur of the Third Direction – I will argue that the transposition
of rock music to the stage helped to improve its status in the Soviet Union, where theater
was prized for its educational and artistic potentials.66
The term “Third Direction” was coined in the 1980s, toward the very end of the period
it describes. Various sources give conflicting information on which composer used it first
(Rodion Shchedrin and Vladimir Dashkevich are just two of the names mentioned as
possible progenitors of the phrase). As it so often happens, the terminology began appearing only when the movement itself was in full swing, “uniting the gestures, technology,
and aesthetics of serious, classical contemporary music on the one hand, and the accessibility, simplicity, and unpretentiousness of light music that was meant for purposes of
entertainment, and even more precisely – commerce – on the other.”67 This term soon
started appearing in musical publications, lent its name to a theater studio, and ultimately
engendered a Third Direction creative laboratory within the Composers’ Union.68
The goal of this movement was not only to bring together diverging aesthetics, but
perhaps even more importantly, to reconcile “two almost feuding audiences who were
fiercely antagonizing one another.”69 Russian-born ethnomusicologist Izaliy Zemtskovskiy
discerned qualities such as stylistic variability, a multiplicity of sources, and a tendency
toward theatricality as intrinsic to the Third Direction philosophy.70 It is the latter, “thespian” characteristic that enabled rock opera to flourish in the Soviet Union under this
movement’s aegis. The popularity of this aesthetic trend is partly attributable to “a well-
The notion of “theatricalization” of music is common in Russia; in 2005, it was even addressed in
the realm of popular song in O. Deviatova’s Teatralizatsiya pesni v otechestvennoi massovoi kul’ture
poslednei treti XX veka (Ph.D. dissertation, Ural State University, 2005).
Rodion Shchedrin, “Nepovtorimost’ talanta i lichnosti,” in Anatoliy Tsuker, Mikael Tariverdiev (Moscow: Sovetskiy kompozitor, 1985), 87.
“Tret’e napravlenie: chto eto? Zachem? ‘za’ i ‘protiv’…” Sovetskaia muzyka 1 (1990): 22–23.
Anatoliy Tsuker, Mikael Tariverdiev, (Moscow: Soviet Composer, 1985), 6.
Izaliy Zemtsovskiy, “I. Egikov,” in Kompozitory moskvy 3, (Moscow: Sovetskiy kompozitor, 1988),
chosen metaphor, rather than [to] any theoretical distinction.”71 A somewhat vague attribution, the deliberately imprecise talk of a “third way” enabled musical hybridizations,
chief among them the rock opera and the rock ballet. It is among this company that we
find the names most frequently associated with the Third Direction: Aleksei Rybnikov,
Eduard Artem’ev, and the composer of the USSR’s first rock opera, Aleksandr Zhurbin.
The Song of Orpheus
Like many estrada songwriters in the Soviet Union, Zhurbin was trained and worked
in “academic” genres, writing symphonies and concertos, as well as working in more
contemporary and popular styles. In the late 1960s, after graduating with honors from
the Tashkent State Conservatory’s cello studio, he garnered a PhD in musicology from
the Leningrad Conservatory with a dissertation on Mahler.72 In this sense, he was well
equipped to bring rock music into the opera hall at this opportune moment. Soviet musicians and publishers had been “worried by the deep chasm between music designed for
entertainment and serious music” since the Fourth Congress of the Union of Composers
in 1968.73
A. M. Tsuker’s 1993 book-length study on this tension, suitably entitled Both Rock
and Symphony…, distinguishes between classical and commercial, popular modes in a telling fashion. Rock is described and dealt with as a mere “lifestyle,” whereas a symphony
is deemed to be a formal achievement. This subjective and problematic generalization
nonetheless helps us to understand the often incompatible discourses or debates within
the Soviet Union regarding “light music.” Much of Tsuker’s book is therefore dedicated
to a possible synthesis of mass and academic musical enterprise, citing rock opera –
somewhat surprisingly – as a possible mélange of two opposites. Although other Soviet
composers followed this path and composed rock operas, Aleksandr Zhurbin would be
the first.
In 1973, he became involved with the Vocal-Instrumental Ensemble The Singing Guitars (Поющие гитары), setting Russian Futurist or avant-garde poetry of the early twentieth century to estrada songs.74 By that time, however, British rock opera Jesus Christ
Anatoliy Tsuker, Both Rock and Symphony… (Moscow: Kompozitor, 1993), 44.
“Biografia,” Kompozitor Aleksandr Zhurbin: Ofitsial’nyi sait (2005). <http://www.alexanderzhurbin.
Tsuker, Both Rock and Symphony…, 4.
For Russian accounts of the Vocal-Instrumental Ensemble (VIA) phenomenon, see V. K. Yashkin’s
Vokal’no-Instrumental’nye Ansambli (Moscow: Znanie, 1980); B. P. Sokolovskiy’s Samodeyatel’nye
VIA i diskoteki (Moskva: Profizdat, 1987); and V. Shchëlkin & S. Frolov’s Legendy VIA, (Moscow:
Grifon, 2007). A fascinating description from within the VIA scene itself, Ariel’ frontman Valeriy
Yarushin’s autobiography has also proven very informational: V. Yarushin, Sud’ba po imeni ‘Ariel’’
(Moscow: Russkaia nov’, 2005).
Fig. 1: Aleksandr Zhurbin in 2010
Superstar was already being widely circulated within knowing circles of Soviet musicians.75
Head of the Leningrad Union of Composers Andrei Petrov – who would later use his pull
to aid Orpheus’ premiere – brought a recording of the Webber musical back to the USSR
and organized a listening session for other composers. Zhurbin found the British rock
opera immediately compelling, and even began to learn English after his exposure to it.76
In dialogue with front-man and guitarist of The Singing Guitars, Anatoliy Vasil’ev, the two
men agreed on their mutual desire to see something similar done in the USSR. In 1974,
Orpheus and Eurydice – with his score and a libretto by playwright Yuriy Dimitrin – was
presented to the band.77
After some changes in personnel, the producers found their Orpheus in the figure of
Al’bert “Alik” Asadullin – a young architect from Tatarstan who had already gained a reputation as “the best amateur rock singer among faculty music groups” upon his arrival in
Leningrad.78 Zhurbin and Vasil’ev convinced Asadullin to join The Singing Guitars, and
for the next five years he toured with the group. Eurydice was found right within The Singing Guitars in Irina Ponarovskaia, daughter of famous jazz musician Vitaliy Ponarovskiy.79
Fig. 2: Irina Ponarovskaia and Al’bert Asadullin as Eurydice and Orpheus
See Peter J. Schmelz, “‘Crucified on the Cross of Mass Culture’: Late Soviet Genre Politics in
Alexander Zhurbin’s Rock Opera Orpheus and Eurydice,” Journal of Musicological Research 28.1
(2009): 61–87 for an account of Soviet reception of Webber’s musical, and its effect on Zhurbin’s
rock opera. Despite its taboo themes, stagings of the work were not consistently banned, and it was
widely heard and even performed by groups such as the jazz-rock band Arsenal.
Ibid., 69.
“Orfei i Evridika,” Kul’turnyi sloi, 5-yi kanal, TRK St. Petersburg, 10 May 2009. <http://www.5-tv.
Valery Shchëlkin and Sergey Frolov, Legendy VIA (Moscow: Grifon, 2007), 28.
For more biographical details on Irina Ponarovskaia, see her site:
Orpheus and Eurydice premiered in the summer of 1975 at the Leningrad Estrada Theater
(now the Raikin Estrada Theater in St. Petersburg). It was originally marketed as a Song-opera –
from the German der Song – because the term “rock” caused a predictable problem within
the Soviet Ministry of Culture.80 A rock aesthetic was dampened somewhat, or made more
palatable with allusions to Brechtian theatre, “where songs are woven into the fabric of
the narrative, summarizing and ultimately acting as a moral injunction.”81 The issue was
then complicated by other concerns:
The theatrical term der Song, originating with the German playwright Berthold Brecht,
needs to be understood not just as song, but as a [specific form of] “song” from the author,
during which the actors turn to the audience, breaking the fourth wall. This [combination of
techniques] both illuminates the author’s subtext and provides commentary for the events
on stage. This Brechtian principle found its reflection in Orpheus.82
According to librettist Yuriy Dimitrin, once censors were informed of this connection
to the work of the “anti-Fascist” Brecht, the production could then be considered an
artistic success.83 Although Brecht may have been chosen as a specific figure with which
to forward this idea, Zhurbin cites other theatrical genres, including ancient Greece, as
containing the “rock opera” concept.84 In this way, rock opera was born in the Soviet
Union under the cover of more acceptable art forms. Despite any sleight-of-hand, however,
the show’s immense popularity would make any such quibbling a moot issue. Subsequent
projects in the same style were widely referred to – in more open terms – as rok-opery.
Zhurbin himself has been inconsistent over the years in labeling the piece’s genre.
In retrospect from the twenty-first century, he considers rock opera as a subgenre of the
musical – in much the same way as Jesus Christ Superstar is considered an example of
both today. In a 2011 article for Izvestiya [News], the composer expressed indignation that
another piece, Solomennaia shliapka [The Straw Hat] (1974) – a “cute vaudeville film, yet
without any distinguishing characteristics” had been labelled “the first Soviet musical.”85
Yet initially, Zhurbin was unwilling to refer to Orpheus and Eurydice as either a musical
or a rock opera. From our vantage point forty years hence, Zhurbin’s production is simultaneously a representative of all of the debated forms – a “Song-opera,” a rock opera,
and a musical. However, it wasn’t until Raimond Pauls’ 1976 Sister Carrie, produced in
Peter Pchelintsev, “Edintsvennyi v Rossii,” n.d. <>.
Valery Iashkin, ““Poiyushchie gitary.” Sovetskaia estrada i tsïrk 3 (March 1978), 19.
“Orfei i Evridika.”
Aleksandr Zhurbin, Orfei, Evridika, i ya (Moscow: Eksmo, 2006), 475.
Aleksandr Zhurbin, “Tezisy o muzykle v Rossii,” Izvestiya (8 May 2011).
the somewhat more liberal Baltics, that a Soviet composer willingly and openly labelled
his or her work with that title.86
One stepping-stone between censorship and acceptance was another form of classical
narrative: myth. The choice of ancient Greek myth as subject for the USSR’s first rock
opera was clearly a legitimizing act on the part of its producers. One critic wrote: “This
is a show about love – love that helps an artist keep his soul alive. Not about the kind of
love we frequently hear of in estrada: assertive, optimistic, and aggressive – even when it
seems to be unhappy. Here, however, we have a genuinely lofty and sacrificial love.”87 This
idea of thematic purity was a purposeful choice on the composer’s part, who pronounced
the rock opera’s chosen topic “entirely chaste and beautiful.”88 Zhurbin’s experiment, as
it was labelled in press reviews of the time, contained echoes of another canonical experiment, as it were: Monteverdi’s 1607 L’Orfeo. The early Baroque favola in musica, one of the
first surviving operas, moved theatrical music beyond any traditional intermedio position
(i.e., between the acts of a play) and into a complete, self-contained musical drama. In
some ways, Zhurbin’s and Monteverdi’s works have more in common than the operatic
canon (including Gluck’s Orfeo) that lies between them chronologically: both were composed at transitional points in European history, both employed instrumental groups that
had the freedom to improvise (Zhurbin’s score speaks of “adlibbed numbers in the style
of the latest hits”), and both had a librettist who adapted to the sociopolitical pressures
of the times.89
In Zhurbin’s case, the incorporation of a rock group and contemporary lyrics from
Yuriy Dimitrin meant the libretto had to be set in modern times. Subsequently the core
myth was updated within the context of a rock singing contest. This allowed rock music to
exist within the new opera, but to be safely contained within this plot device. Tsuker sums
it up: “Rock in Orpheus occupies a sufficiently localized, albeit dramaturgically important
place.”90 Other pieces in the opera, as Peter Schmelz notes, were more “indebted to the
aesthetics of art song, or more likely the Russian romance, than to the pop tunes that were
Lloyd Webber’s models.”91 Only some formal schemas of the Greek plot remain: the love
of its titular characters, together with their subsequent separations and reunions. The original myth ends gruesomely, with Eurydice taken back to Hades and Orpheus torn apart
by Maenads, frenzied followers of Dionysus. Monteverdi’s librettist, Alessandro Striggio,
shies away from Orfeo’s death – instead having the Maenads berate the hero – but leaves
his destiny uncertain. In Monteverdi’s 1609 score, however, a semi-happy ending prevails
See Grabarchuk (2015) for a discussion of Pauls’ musical, and for an analysis of what other factors
might have enabled him to do so.
Yuly Smelkov, “Liuboviu rozhdaetsya pesnya,” Komsomol’skaya pravda (29 August 1981).
Zhurbin, Orfei, Evridika, i ya, 467.
Tsuker, 186.
Ibid., 178.
Schmelz, 73. See Schmelz’s article for a deeper analysis of musical genre and stylistic distinctions
in Zhurbin’s rock opera.
as Orpheus is borne up to heaven by Apollo, who encourages him to see Eurydice’s
likeness in the stars.92 In Dimitrin’s tale, something similar takes place at the end of the
opera, as her voice remains with Orpheus as if to represent their eternal spiritual union,
while a new couple takes the stage to symbolize a tale of eternal love.
Zhurbin and Dimitrin’s musical – despite any hesitant, lukewarm reactions from the
press – enjoyed tremendous popularity. In 2003, it entered the Guinness Book of World
Records as the longest-running original cast musical (at that time, 2,350 performances
had been staged in eight different productions).93 Even in 1976, despite never having
been performed abroad, it garnered the British Musical Award from industry publication
Music Week.94 Looking back on their hard work and surprising success, both composer
and librettist reminisce about the burden of daily performances:
That had never happened in Russia before. For plays or musicals to run every day was
unheard of. Then we started touring. We were sold out for two, even three months. You
couldn’t even get a friend or your relatives into the hall. But even the show’s fantastic popularity couldn’t absolve it of “ideological sedition.”95
The opera’s staging – despite that official grumbling in high places – got off to a remarkably smooth start, for which Aleksandr Zhurbin could thank aforementioned fellow composer Andrei Petrov. Zhurbin’s friend and colleague had intervened on the show’s behalf
during a meeting:
The artistic council convened. Andrei Pavlovich [Petrov], an experienced diplomat, thought
that everything depended on who spoke first. He immediately took the floor and said:
“I consider this a huge success. It is a colossal step forward. Our socialist culture has
achieved new dimensions.” Then he started saying things no one could oppose, especially
since he was a member of the Regional Committee [of the Communist Party], chairman of
the Composers’ Union, and so on. After a few of Petrov’s comments, I could already see that
the officials were somehow deflated. They had wanted to ban the show. [Thanks to Petrov,
however], it turned out it to be nothing more than a love story without anything anti-Soviet.
And so they [the high-ranking bureaucrats] resentfully told us that we had permission.96
Some problems, however, proved rather stubborn. At a later date, the opera was – again –
denounced, this time as “ideologically vicious and aesthetically helpless.”97 Librettist
Dimitrin recalls getting a phone call from a ministry connection warning of a commission
Mark Ringer, Opera’s First Master: The Musical Dramas of Claudio Monteverdi (Newark, N. J.: Amadeus Press, 2006), 39–40.
Irina Vorob’eva and Artur Gladyshev, Velikie miuzikly mira (Moscow: Olma-Press, 2002), 400.
“Orfei i Evridika.”
designed to reach Leningrad and close down Orpheus. Apparently, the Russian Minister
of Culture himself – Yuriy Melent’ev – had found something wrong with the piece. Yet
at the last minute, Zhurbin and Vasil’ev recount in a 2009 interview, the Minister had
a chat with an old friend, who happened by good fortune to be an admirer of the show.
As a result, the members of the commission received last-minute instructions to support
the opera upon their arrival in Leningrad.98
Fig. 3: Composer Andrei Petrov, who helped support Orpheus and Eurydice’s
In other words, the first Soviet rock opera came into existence thanks both to a number of
chance accidents within the censorship network, and huge public approval. Once official
approval was begrudgingly given, the press then had to somehow justify its enormous
popularity. Rhetoric was needed to echo an ideological volte-face. Newspapers’ justifications frequently came in discussions of Soviet theater’s power of communication, which
unlike the small stage of estrada, allegedly had the capacity to both reach and deeply move
observers of all ages. By way of observation, music journalist M. Provorov wrote in 1976:
“The sound of an electric guitar is very pictorial, textural, and theatrical; not surprisingly,
many directors have started using it in their dramas.”99 Slowly yet surely in the mid-1970s,
the instrumentation and performance style of the VIA were gradually considered to be in
M. Provorov, ““Obratnyi put’ poterian,” Iunost’ 5.252 (May 1976), 108.
sync with youth culture across the Soviet Union. Orpheus and Eurydice’s original director
Mark Rozovskiy puts it thus in his discussion of the opera’s themes:
The youth lifestyle of the 1960s and ‘70s engendered a contemporary “musico-theatrical”
form. In our show, opera’s traditional form is transformed into an energetic and carnivalesque spectacle. And carnival doesn’t always mean celebration. Ironic comedy and
tragedy always coexist in carnival, constantly and invisibly flowing into one another.100
This genuine movement toward a Third Direction – particularly its educational potential
through operatic tradition – meant that as the show went on, press reviews became more
positive, acknowledging the hybridization of previously separate genres:
We still recognize the VIA ensemble’s performance style; it has not changed, but rather
been filled with new and more significant content… Estrada is usually called a “light” genre,
although neither pathos nor civic themes are alien to it. And now, the modern estrada fan
is offered shows that, although composed in this same light genre, are quite serious. That
is to say, these shows not only entertain, but also offer an aesthetic education in the direct
sense of the word, because for a certain youth demographic (and estrada spectators are
predominantly young people), music begins with an estrada song.101
The song-opera Orpheus and Eurydice – the first such experiment on our stage – will
undoubtedly acquire a noteworthy place in our country’s musical theater life. It will also
play its role in the creative destiny of The Singing Guitars, and – let’s hope – in the education of Soviet youth, too.102
It is the elevation of popular music to the Soviet stage that allowed The Singing Guitars
to “transcend their estrada past, their long-time repertoire of hits, their own selves of
yesterday. And the force which elevated them was theater.”103 Opera allegedly shaped and
saved rock music – even though the latter style was clearly ascending and using opera
to gain acceptance. The inclusion of rock within Zhurbin’s project was justified by the
show’s large-scale impact on young audiences:
If we remember the fact that estrada is one of the most popular forms of art, and that
its audience is comprised of mainly young people, then we understand that the price of
Orpheus and Eurydice’s success is especially high. This play invites spectators to experience
thoughts and feelings to which theatergoers are rarely accustomed.104
Ibid., 108–109.
Yuri Klimov, “Chto na estrade?” Pravda 197 (15 July 1976): 6.
“Poyushchie Gitary staviat operu,” Smena 173 (25 July 1975): 3.
Provorov, 109.
Such a perspective demonstrates the spreading “reappraisals of popular music instigated
by Zhurbin’s Orfeus and Eurydice.”105 The authorities and state-run media increasingly
concurred with one another, and by 1980, the rock opera’s creators had been given permission to record. A troublesome stage show was allowed to create a permanent, endlessly
replicable document of itself. The resulting double album sold over a million copies,
surviving even the demise of the group who started it all – The Singing Guitars.106 Since
the fall of the Soviet Union, the show was revived in 1999 by Vladimir Podgorodinskiy,
the founder of the Rock Opera Theater. This St. Petersburg (initially Leningrad) organization was founded in 1975 simultaneously with the genesis of Orpheus and Eurydice. Its
mission was to serve as an “antipode to classical opera, a theater by young people – for
young people.”107 The R.O.T. has, since that time, enjoyed productive relationships with
contemporary Russian composers as well as established figures of the Soviet past, such
as Andrei Petrov, Zhurbin’s influential contemporary who helped set the rock opera on
a course toward approval in the mid-1970s.
Needless to say, not everyone was convinced of the validity of combining estrada
with art music. Avant-garde composer Edison Denisov expressed his displeasure with
this trend in the mid-1980s: “There isn’t any ‘third direction!’ That is a false movement
which has gathered around itself people incapable of writing good estrada, jazz, or rock
music. And because they can’t compose any of them, they’ve chosen something in the
middle.”108 Ticket sales and popularity, however, told a different story. Aleksandr Zhurbin’s philosophy, despite these enduring hassles, would always remain more inclusive:
“Some people think that rock music is something of a lower order; they insist that a serious composer would never engage with it. I think that’s said out of ignorance.”109 In the
same spirit, Zhurbin is remembered today as one of the first composers to endorse and
work toward that elusive Third Direction. Ultimately, this opera “embodies the shifting
nature of Soviet taste, both musical and otherwise, both ‘official’ and unofficial,’ and
both young and old, during the final decades of the USSR.”110 Once that door was open,
others drew inspiration from Zhurbin’s foray into generic synthesis – in realms where no
Soviet composer had gone before.
Schmelz, 67.
“Orfei i Evridika.”
More information about the theater can be found at
Тatiana А. Kurysheva, Muzykal’naia zhurnalistika i muzykal’naia kritika (St. Petersburg: Vlados
Press, 2007). Accessed 31 July 2015 at
Provorov, 109.
Schmelz, 67.
Splendor and Death
One such fellow composer of equally intrepid interest was Aleksei Rybnikov. Born on
July 17, 1945 – only a few weeks before Zhurbin – he remains a direct peer, compatriot,
and product of the same cultural environment. Rybnikov was a precocious child of two
creative parents, and wrote his first pieces for piano at age eight. Like many of the composers discussed so far, he attended the Moscow Conservatory and studied with Aram
Khachaturian, going on to teach in the Conservatory’s composition department. In 1979,
he was recognized as the most popular Soviet composer of the year.111 Another classically
trained member of the Third Direction, he is remembered today for his film and stage
music, including the two rock operas The Star and Death of Joaquin Murieta (1976) and
Juno and Avos (1979).112
Fig. 4: Aleksei Rybnikov in the studio
We turn now to the former, one of the very first Soviet rock operas along with Orpheus
and Eurydice. Whereas Zhurbin’s work was explicitly inspired by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s
“Rybnikov Aleksei L’vovich,” Muzhdunarodnyi ob’edinënnyi biograficheskiy tsentr, n.d., accessed
7 November 2015. <
As Peter Schmelz mentions regarding Rybnikov’s later opera: “Alexei Rybnikov’s Juno and Avos (Iunona i Avos’, 1981; libretto by Andrei Voznesenskiy) is often mentioned as the first instance of the genre
in the USSR, although it postdates Zhurbin’s composition and also postdates Rybnikov’s earlier
rock opera, The Splendor and Death of Joaquin Murieta (Zvezda i smert’ Khoakina Mur’ety, 1976;
libretto by Pablo Neruda). See S. Frederick Starr, Red and Hot: The Fate of Jazz in the Soviet Union
1917–1991, With a New Chapter on the Final Years (New York: Limelight Editions, 1994), 374 n. 78;
Alexei Rybnikov, Juno & Avos, Melodiya CD, 60 00327 (1996; the back cover proclaims it as “Russia’s First Rock Musical”); and Carol Pratl, “A Russian Rock Opera: ‘Junon and Avos’,” The Drama
Review 28/2 (1984): 125–128.”
Jesus Christ Superstar and conceived within an incipient rock music environment, Joaquin
was first conceived as a stage show. Film and stage director Mark Zakharov, who was
appointed artistic director of the Moscow Lenkom Theater in 1973 (and still holds the
position), had been urged by Vladimir Panchenko – the director of the Culture Sector of
the Communist Central Committee – to stage an “ideologically flashy action show.”113
General Pinochet’s recent coup d’état and the death of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda mere
days after the overthrow influenced Zakharov’s thinking, and he chose Neruda’s 1967
poetic play – an “insurrectionary cantata” – as the basis for such an endeavor.114 The
director’s intention was to “somehow adapt Neruda’s free verse, which is beautiful but
somehow not ours.”115
For a libretto, he turned to poet Pavel Grushko, who had translated Neruda’s play
in 1971 for publication in the journal Foreign Literature. This introduced some major
changes into the story – including altering the title from The Splendor and Death of
Joaquin Murieta (Fulgor y Muerte de Joaquin Murieta) to The Star and Death of Joaquin
Murieta (Звезда и смерть Хоакина Мурьеты). Grushko recounts this titular change as
not posing “too much of a boon in the [original] translation of the cantata,” but reports
that “it really helped” when transitioning to a libretto.116 It allowed for the creation of
eponymous characters of Star and Death, played respectively by the same actors who
played Teresa and the perverse sideshow announcer who opens the show. The most crucial
change, however, was pairing Neruda’s text with the popular VIA Araks – which by this
time had garnered a reputation for covering songs by Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and
Santana.117 Other popular ensembles Rok-Atel’e and Integral joined the soundtrack of
the rock opera’s 1982 film version.
As for the historical figure of Joaquin Muerieta, it is entirely possible he never actually
existed. Considered the Robin Hood of the California Gold Rush, Murieta – real or otherwise – captured the imagination of artists starting with the Native American novelist John
Rollin Ridge in the mid-nineteenth century and continuing with Twentieth Century Fox in
the late 1960s. Ridge, writing under his Cherokee name “Yellow Bird,” published The Life
and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta: The Celebrated California Bandit in 1854. According
to Ridge scholars, this novel – the first published by a Native American, and one of the
first written in California – was intended as a work of fiction, yet taken as documentary
truth by historians of the time.118 Due to its mass popularity and the low social status of
Pavel Grushko, “‘Khoakin Murieta’ dvadtsat’ let spustia,” Ogonëk (9 June 1996).
Pablo Neruda, Splendor and Death of Joaquin Murieta, trans. Ben Belitt (New York, NY: Farrar,
Straus & Giroux, Inc, 1972), viii.
M. Tereshchenko, “Vsë perevod, dazhe rech – s iazyka myslei,” Liudi (2 February 2002).
For a history of the ensemble, see their site:
For more information on the Native American author, see James W. Parins, John Rolling Ridge: His
Life and Works (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2004).
its author, the book suffered from widespread plagiarism, which robbed John Rollin Ridge
of any deserved income – yet helped spread the tale of Joaquin Murieta.
The legendary bandit was allegedly born in northwestern Mexico and went to California to join the Gold Rush in 1849. Ridge’s fictional account has Murieta and his family treated poorly by racist miners jealous of his success, who rape the hero’s wife and
horsewhip him.119 Other sources tell of Murieta’s paramilitary band, made up of friends
and relatives who illegally traded horses with Mexico and helped Murieta avenge his attackers.120 Most agree on the fact that he was as highwayman who attacked both wagon
trains and settlers with his posse. In 1853, a group of California State Rangers – formed
specifically to deal with Gold Country outlaw gangs – came upon Murieta’s gang, the
Five Joaquins, and killed him. The California State Military Museum tells of the Rangers
decapitating Murieta and displaying his head throughout the state, along with the threefingered hand of an accomplice.121 Nonetheless, newspapers of the time cast aspersions
on the official “identification” of the head as Murieta.122 In short, a cattle thief with that
name probably lived during the 1850s, but there is no consensus on whether he was Chilean or Mexican; an ethical Robin Hood or a manic beast. What is clear, however, is that
the story was compelling to writers and readers alike.
Neruda took creative license with an already muddled tale. His 1967 play opens with
a foreword describing the approach:
These pages are not concerned with confirming history or validating fantasy. On the contrary. Between the fantasy and the history of things, I have interposed my personal identity.
Around it whirls a maelstrom of fire and blood, avarice, outrage, and insurrection.123
The cantata begins with a choir, telling of the renowned bandit Joaquin Murieta, a bold
Chilean whose spirit haunts California to this day. We then find ourselves in the port of
Valparaíso, where the aforementioned Three-Fingered Jack persuades a customs agent to
come to California with them in search of gold. During the trip, Joaquin weds his beloved
Teresa – although at this point in Neruda’s cantata, they are only silhouettes on the stage.
Upon Teresa’s arrival, she is raped and then murdered by local rangers who proclaim
the White race to be superior to all others. Joaquin returns home and promises revenge;
from that day forth, he will live as a bandit. He is ultimately captured and beheaded. The
play ends with Murieta’s severed head lamenting his love, death, and the passing of time.
John Rollin Ridge, The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta, The Celebrated California Bandit
(Fresno, CA: Three Rocks Research, 2005).
Frank Latta, Joaquín Murrieta and His Horse Gangs (Exeter, CA: Bear State Books, 1980).
For more information on the California State Rangers and Murieta, see
(under California Militia and National Guard Units, then California State Rangers).
“The Los Angeles Fruit Crops – The Head of Joaquin Muriatta not taken – A strange story!” The
Daily Alta 4.23 (23 August 1853): 2.
Neruda, vii.
Like other fictional depictions of Murieta, Neruda’s grants both depth and feeling to
the title character – while adding a clear authorial presence (in fact, the disembodied voice
opening the prologue and narrating throughout is labelled “The Poet’s Voice”). Indeed,
the translator’s notation highlights Neruda’s presence:
The poet is constantly present in his drama of “splendor and death,” meditating the occasion of his poem, appraising the morality of his hagiography of violence, vindicating the
banditry of his hero, mediating, justifying, disclosing: the theophanic god-in-the-machine
of his contrivance.124
In the same way, the creators of this Russian rock opera left their own indelible mark on
the legend of a charismatic bandit. The pitiful story expressed in Neruda’s poetry – and
amplified by Aleksei Rybnikov’s heavy soundtrack – became downright grim in its Soviet
guise. He recalls: “I decided to do ‘The Star and Death…’ as symphonic rock, a combination of big symphonic form and rock rhythms.”125 Much like the creators of Orpheus and
Eurydice, so the composer of Joaquin Murieta was also partaking in the aesthetic and
philosophical aim of the Third Direction movement.
Fig. 5: Aleksei Rybnikov (2nd row, 4th from L), director Mark Zakharov (2nd row, 4th from R),
VIA Araks, and other performers
Neruda, xvii.
L. Guzeeva, “’Yunona’ proshla rify na Avos’,” Novaya Gazeta (9 July 2001).
Although there were some similarities with Zhurbin’s narratively contained version of
rock ‘n’ roll, Joaquin Murieta went a little further in its embracing of rock onstage. As
Peter Schmelz breaks it down:
Jesus Christ Superstar was hybrid on many levels: low/high, political/apolitical, religious/critical of religion, rock/classical, “entertainment”/“art.” Zhurbin’s Orpheus and Eurydice was
a diluted version of this hybridity. It was seen as provocative by its composer, its listeners,
and many (but not all) Soviet officials, but its musical style was relatively orthodox for 1975,
especially since it featured one of the better-known officially sponsored VIAs.126
Rybnikov’s piece exhibited a less-watered down hybridity that allied it more closely with
Western models such as Jesus Christ Superstar. Where Orpheus and Eurydice kept the rock
aesthetic paired with “clear ‘classical’ signifiers” such as “the running scales that each singer
performs while warming up for the contest,” Joaquin Murieta expanded its range of appropriate use.127 Through an examination of musical style and narrative in this quasi-Western
rock opera, I hope to demonstrate how Rybnikov continued the development of the Soviet
rock opera genre – while simultaneously taking another step toward the Third Direction.128
The opera begins with a cabaret-style announcer, who advertises the spectacle of Murieta’s head and the three-fingered hand of his accomplice, on display at this macabre
sideshow. In the 1982 film version of the piece, the announcer’s mask is stripped off to
reveal the unsmiling face of Death – a visage the viewer doesn’t yet recognize, but will
come to associate with everything gruesome and horrible by the end of the production.129
At 1:50, the credits launch into an action theme with a serious, driving affect and instrumentation (frantic percussion reminiscent of Mitch Mitchell circa Jimi Hendrix Experience
era, heavily distorted ascending electric guitar riff, intermittent brass punctuation). Such
a musical opening warns of dark things to come.
A few minutes later (at 3:38), the driving assemblage of riffs lets up and melts away
into what I call the “Chile theme.” This style of music simultaneously indexes a folk
aesthetic – complete with strummed strings, lively (although not overly wild) percussion,
and a ballad feel – as well as stereotypical “South American” signifiers such as the pan
flute. The Chile theme grounds any action taking place in the homeland, and also serves
to call up a sense of nostalgia for home later in the opera. The Chileans’ relationship to
their homeland is a complex one, as witnessed by “Song of the Organ Grinder” (beginning
at approximately 8:00 in the film version). This creepy, carnivalesque tune – speeding up
cartoonishly as it goes – relays that “we’ve been taught since childhood that there is no
Schmelz, 84.
Ibid., 74.
For work explicitly naming Aleksei Rybnikov as one of the pioneers of the Third Direction, see
Stetsiuk & Abakumov (2005), as well as Kurysheva (2007).
Zvezda i smert’ Khoakina Mur’ety. Dir. V. Grammatikov. Tsentral’naia kinostudia detskikh i yunosheskikh fil’mov imeni M. Gork’ogo, Yaltinskiy filial, 1981. The film can be viewed at https://www.
country more wonderful than Chile,” and lists the country’s many charms, yet finishing
each list by declaring that “there is no life” to be had there.
The first “diegetic” appearance of rock music, aside from the overture, comes with
the appearance of the capitalistic sirens who entice the Chileans with promises of gold.
This is similar to Orpheus, where Zhurbin gives “conventional rock songs, with bluesy
electric guitar solos to indicate their authenticity” to the other participants of the singing contest.130 Their repetition of the word “gold” [золото] acts as a rhythmic driver and
compels its listeners to pack up and head to California. When Joaquin and his friends are
talking alone after this barrage, however, he does not mimic their obsession with gold, but
rather sings a simple pop ode à la Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Everything’s All Right” to the
things that really matter – “a house by a pond…a garden with cherry trees…and roosters
singing at dawn.” Thus it is established from the get-go that while folk music belongs to
the Chileans, and affable pop to Joaquin and his Soviet-approved values, rock music is
the provenance of capitalists.
The most striking and systematic use of rock in Joaquin Murieta, however, comes inextricably tied to the character of Death. After the appearance of Joaquin’s Star – his guiding
force and, it seems, guardian angel – we see and hear Death for the first time (around 22:30
in the film version). In contrast to the Star’s tuneful aria, his almost-spoken vocal delivery
has no real melody to speak of and is reminiscent of the lower ranges of Capitan Beefheart’s
gravelly tessitura. The lyrics warn of the dangers of “following the Star without looking under their feet,” foreshadowing that “the path to the Star is littered with hundreds of heads.”
His rhythmic repetition at the ends of certain phrases (“в пропасть упадет, в пропасть
упадет!”) recalls Jesus Christ Superstar’s accentual irregularities (as in on the words “Nazareth, your famous son…” in Judas’s opening number, “Heaven on Their Minds”). Each
time Death appears subsequently, his tuneless assertions are underscored with the same
frantic percussion and driving bass ostinato. Each of his appearances is also marked by
some sort of vocal anomaly, whether it is the funk/soul-style grunts in “Death’s Aria” or
the distorted, rhythmical “hee-hee-hee, ha-ha-ha, ho-ho-ho” in the aforementioned “Budet
zavarukha,” where he predicts a time when “son and daughter will fight” and “mother will
rob daughter.” Although such vocal manipulations can occur as borderline comical, such as
in VIA Ariel’s “Komnata smekha,” or surrealistic, such as in the Beatles’ “I am the Walrus,”
in this context the distortion takes on a morbid affect that is not subject to human rules.131
The narrative apex of the opera, Teresa’s rape and murder, is marked by the boogiewoogie tinkling accompanying the white gold-panners’ unexpected appearance in her
home. The juxtaposition of this innocuous, almost good-natured music, and the horrible
crime that is to occur (“I’ll need help for this business… We’ll help you, get in line, boys!”)
comes off as jarring and unsettling, eventually giving way to a hectic rock beat reminiscent
of a Led Zeppelin jam. As Joaquin returns and vows revenge, mourning Teresa’s death,
Schmelz, 74.
Ariel’, “Komnata smekha,” Kazhdyi den’ tvoi, Melodiya, 1982. The song can be heard here: https://
singing stops in the show altogether and harsh, driving rock takes over. In the shoot-out
that follows (Chileans vs. Americans), the distorted ascending guitar riff from the overture returns again, identifying itself as the revenge motif. As opposed to the mixed-meter
deviations of Death’s songs, Joaquin’s revenge music is in 4/4, stable and grounded in its
destructive certainty. Interspersed with quiet, poignant moments of the Chile theme, we
see Joaquin’s band slaughtering the Americans – and vice-versa – to this unrelenting beat.
After the bloodbath calms down, we hear Death’s final aria (again in an irregular rhythm),
where he breaks his previous monotone declamation style and sings of “red fountains” of
blood in a dramatic, soaring voice more reminiscent of Webber’s Judas than any Soviet
estrada performer. This is not the golden voice of Orpheus; it is the hoarse screech of
Death – and in some ways, it gets the final word.
Fig. 6: L-R, Aleksei Rybnikov, director Mark Zakharov, poet Andrei Vozensenskiy, and performer
Nikolai Karachentsov in 1981
Despite the neat “good Chileans versus bad Americans form of the story,” as well as
Rybnikov’s avoidance of the term “rock opera,” Joaquin Murieta still encountered bureaucratic meddling that reminds us of Zhurbin’s experience. Librettist Pavel Grushko
recalls the show being banned – a mythological eleven times! – before finally premiering
in May 1976 at the Lenkom Theater.132 Yet the public had already been primed by seeing
rock opera on the Soviet stage, and Joaquin grew to enjoy enormous popularity, just like
its predecessor. As we have seen, a film version was also authorized, and the Rybnikov/
Zakharov creative team went on to produce another – this time thematically Russian –
rock opera based on the work of Soviet poet Andrei Voznesenskiy in the early 1980s. Their
chosen style proved to be enduringly popular once initial obstacles were overcome. Even
despite its potential taboos, ultimately, a scripted opera was less unpredictable than a rock
concert, and therefore “easier to restrict within moral and ideological bounds.”133 Taking
this into account, Soviet rock opera was very much a product of its environment, and grew
to be viewed as a contribution to music history under the aegis of the Third Direction.
Rock opera’s appearance in the Soviet era of “Stagnation” may still seem somewhat anomalous. But as St. Petersburg historian/journalist Lev Lurie put it:
The year 1975 was a safe, calm time. Oil prices were high. Salaries were increasing. The
state was building houses, apartments, and metro stations… The powers that be allowed
previously forbidden things to come to fruition. The appearance of the rock opera Orpheus
and Eurydice in this leisurely, yet stagnant environment was no accident.134
Yet as we have seen in our outline of the show’s history, even in this relatively peaceful
time, composers and producers were obliged to carefully navigate the system – preferably
with friends in high places – in order to achieve anything genuinely novel.
Russian musicologist A. Tsuker defines rock opera as a fundamentally multifaceted
phenomenon: “The principle of ‘poly’ functions on all of [rock opera]’s levels, allowing
us to speak of the polyvalence of its plots, dramaturgy, genre status, and stylistic features.”135 This becomes immediately evident in composers’ and librettists’ traditional
choices of historical source (such as Greek myth, for example) as a rock opera’s subject.
Tsuker further explains the inherent duality in such decision-making, which allows for
a universal appeal, yet is couched in modern language. He cites Jesus Christ Superstar as
an archetypal example:
On one hand, the authors’ turn to an evangelical plot allowed them to widen the range
of associations, to imbue the narrative with high tragedy, and raise it to a level of eternal,
universal impact – which was also aided by parallels with Bach’s Passions. On the other
hand, they seriously modernized the known story, bringing it as close as possible to the
understandings and values of modern man. This [rock] opera reflected the spiritual search
Yngvar Steinholt, Rock in the Reservation: Songs from the Leningrad Rock Club 1981–86 (Larchmont,
NY: The Mass Media Music Scholars’ Press, 2005), 24.
“Orfei i Evridika.”
Tsuker, 170.
of the Western youth in the ‘60s and ‘70s, carrying hippy ideology, and evoking very direct
parallels with the social atmosphere and specific ideas of that movement… No matter which
rock opera we examine, we see everywhere a similar parallelism and duality of content, connecting within itself the universe and daily life, the philosophical and the social, balancing
between modernized eternity and the symbolic present.136
This same state of affairs can be seen in both of the operas examined in this article.
Zhurbin’s Orpheus is a modern rock singer dealing with the complexity of twentiethcentury life – yet he faces the age-old question of fame’s ultimate price. Even in Rybnikov’s
historical show, the echoes of Joaquin Murieta’s tragic fate are “preserved within folk
memory and embellished with fantasy,” and “have for a long time embodied eternal human values.”137 In Rybnikov’s rock opera – even more clearly than in Neruda’s cantata –
“heroic personalities are larger than life. The [original] fable is stripped of many details
and specifics, concrete circumstances are generalized, and the symbolic personages of
Star and Death come out, giving the flavor of Greek myth/opera.”138 This is where theater,
estrada, and rock meet, each lending its most powerful qualities to affect the Soviet observer in previously unknown ways.
In a retrospective discussion of Soviet “rock music” during the late 1980s, Rybnikov
divided the evolution of Russian rock into three stages. The first was amateur and largely
derivative, when Russian “beat-groups” sang in English and took their cues from foreign
bands such as The Beatles. The next stage both summarized those early efforts, and
turned toward something more individualistic, such as the folk-rock of VIAs Ariel’ and
Pesniary. The third and final phase – which coincided with the composer’s post-perestroika
interview – marked a time when it was “no longer necessary to speak of rock music, but
of rock poetry and rock thinking, perhaps… if the word ‘rock’ means anything at all.’”139
He goes on to explain:
After all, more often than not, we take [the word “rock”] to mean something incisive, catchy, and directly affecting the soul of your peers. It means sharing our pain openly, while
breaking the framework and blinders of [state-run] radio and television, which have severely
limited what is possible.140
This definition of “rock” as something with a particular communicative intention (rather
than any specific technical qualifications) rings especially true in Soviet society. When
officials objected to the title “rock opera,” it was the presumed political intent behind
such terms that shocked more than any aesthetic gestures. This is why the Third Direction
Ibid., 170–171.
Ibid., 173.
Aleksei Rybnikov, “Rok-muzyka: prodolzhenie razgovora,” Muzykal’naia zhizn’ 13 (6 May 1987): 5.
aimed to reconcile not only disparate musical trajectories, but their disparate audiences
as well.
Ultimately, rock opera as it is understood in the West was unexpectedly well suited
to the USSR because of the Soviet penchant for theatricalization, as well as the Third
Direction’s preoccupation with blending popular and classical styles. This put estrada
songwriters such as Zhurbin and Rybnikov in a unique position – classically trained composers who undertook the “socially responsible” task of writing popular music in order
to both educate and enlighten the youth of their society. Zhurbin’s first effort opened the
door for more and more reassessment of popular music under the aegis of late socialism.
As Peter Schmelz writes, “Orpheus and Eurydice becomes an ideal indicator of both late
socialism and late socialist realism; its reception illustrates the cracks that were beginning
to appear – and were often allowed to appear – in official orthodoxy.”141 Joaquin Murieta
followed in its footsteps, increasing the potential musical provocations. The mid- to late
1970s were a unique time in Soviet history: a period of trepidation, yet also of creative
openings. The experiences of Rybnikov and Zhurbin help to show how artistic agents
could operate under Brezhnev, claiming both authorship and agency, in liminal states
between the official and unofficial.
Bridging Deep Chasms: The Soviet Third Direction in Aleksei Rybnikov’s
Rock Opera The Star and Death of Joaquin Murieta
Rock opera in the Soviet Union was a phenomenon with obviously Western roots yet inextricably tied up with and enabled by homegrown players and policies. Aleksei Rybnikov’s
The Star and Death of Joaquin Murieta (1976) is an early example of the merging of
academic and popular music desired by the Composers’ Union. An examination of the
genesis, production, and reception of this Soviet rock opera will shed light on the philosophical and compositional movement called “The Third Direction” – and why it was
considered desirable.
Překlenutí hlubokých propastí: Sovětský Třetí proud v opeře Zvezda i smert’
Khoakina Mur’ety skladatele Alexeje Rybnikova
Přestože je rocková opera spojována zejména s autory “západní” provenience, uvedený
žánr významným způsobem zasáhl rovněž do tvorby skladatelů v Sovětském svazu. Dílo
Schmelz, 67.
Alexeje Rybnikova Zvezda i smert’ Khoakina Mur’ety (1976) je jedním z prvních příkladů
spojení akademické a populární hudby v dané zemi; spojení, které odpovídalo dobovým
požadavkům instituce Svazu skladatelů. Reflexe vzniku, produkce a recepce uvedeného
díla objasní filozofická a kompoziční východiska hnutí označovaného jako Třetí proud,
rovněž důvody oficiální poptávky hudby tohoto typu sovětskými kulturně politickými
Estrada; Pablo Neruda; rock; rock opera; popular composers; Russia; Rybnikov; Soviet
Union; theater; Third Direction.
Klíčová slova
Estráda; Pablo Neruda; rock; rocková opera; populární skladatelé; Rusko; Rybnikov; Sovětský svaz; divadlo; Třetí proud.
Musicologica Olomucensia 22 – December 2015
A Musical Analysis of Mythical Thought in the Work of Claude Lévi-Strauss
David Kozel
The systematic set of ideas concerning the forms of relationships between the myths of
primitive societies and music which can be found in the work of Claude Lévi-Strauss
(1908–2009) is an essential and well-known part of the legacy he left behind through
his influence on scientific discourse and the diversification of the humanities over the
course of the second half of the 20th century. A number of authors have apparently had
and continue to have issues with the integral acceptance of the “musical” component of
Strauss’s structural anthropology, irrespective of their competence to judge this aspect
without any links to their association with the anthropological or musicological communities. As a result, although the musical analogy appears to be an aesthetically uplifting
and tempting method for the serious study of mythology in non-European cultures, it also
seems to be somewhat inappropriate and superfluous. The application of the principles
of archaic mythical thought to contemporary music and categories of musical works
with connotations of European culture may indeed be viewed as an amusing commentary with a hermeneutic after-taste, as they are not part of the process of exploring the
phenomenon of music which has a clearly and academically defined tradition and, at
most, take on the semblance of a colourful decoration. With the unavoidable passage of
time and in spite of the frequently justified concerns of generalisation and vagueness, it
is possible to note overlaps from both sides. These are the forced result of not only the
methodological links between the structural analysis of mythology and music, but also
due to a terminological affinity.
In the case of Lévi-Strauss, the analytical use of music as a tool for exploring mythology is obviously rooted in his interest in European art music and its structural characteristics. One might eve argue that he was greatly (eruditely) fascinated by this music
genre even beyond the scope of this anthropological focus. At the end of The Naked Man,
Lévi-Strauss even reveals the personal level of his motivation, when he states that his written tetralogy was an attempt to compensate for his inability to compose by creating the
“negative” of a symphony, which some future composer will hopefully be able to convert
into its “positive” musical equivalent: “[…] I have tried to construct with meanings a composition comparable to those that music creates with sounds […].”142 The inclusion of
music in anthropological methodology is not, however, random or superficial; it indicates
the deeper roots of the author’s theses within the comprehensive whole of anthropological theories (structuralism), even with the risk that these beliefs may be questioned. The
ontological links between mythology and music are pointed out by, for example, Eric
Prieto: “Music interests Lévi-Strauss as a model for myth not only because he sees in it
a clear justification for the ontological premises of structuralism as a whole […].”143
References to music are interwoven within the majority of Lévi-Strauss’s most important written works, which provides another indication of his continuous contemplation of the “musicalisation of mythology”. Mention should first be made of his initial
study – The Structural Study of Myth (1955) – which includes an analysis of the Oedipus
myth, using the reading of this myth as an orchestral score with a linguistic approach.
A partial, unfinished version of Lévi-Strauss’s theory is also included in his Anthropologie
structurale from 1958 (hereinafter referred to by its English title: Structural Anthropology).
The most extensive methodological links in relation to music may be found in his tetralogy Mythologiques I–IV from the 1960s and early 1970s, which is focused specifically on
North and South American mythology and consists of the following volumes: Le Cru et
le cuit (1964, The Raw and the Cooked), Du miel aux cendres (1966, From Honey to Ashes),
L’Origine des manières de table (1968, The Origin of Table Manners), and L’Homme nu
(1971, The Naked Man). In the introductory Overture chapter of The Raw and the Cooked,
Lévi-Strauss’s focus on music is made clear by his reference to Wagner’s tetralogy. The
remaining chapters, also named according to musical forms from European art music, are
yet another way in which the musical structure of his work is reflected in relation to his
selected “key” myth from the Bororo tribe from central Brazil and its transformational relationship to other myths, both far and near. In the next two volumes of his Mythologiques
tetralogy, Lévi-Strauss’s musical approach is immediately present only in the way the text
and the myths themselves are structured and conceived. However, it once again resounds
in its full glory, with some revisions to his initial ideas, in the closing Finale chapter of The
Naked Man. Lévi-Strauss perceives his Mythologiques cycle as a myth about mythology;
it presents a code to understanding mythology that is not external to the myths, but is
structurally related to them. His work imitates the movement of mythical thought through
references to the past and to what is different. When creating this meta-language for analysing myths, the essential basis is the concept of language as the primary code, myth
as the secondary code, while the book itself represents the third level which ensures the
Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Naked Man, Mythologiques vol. 4 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
1990), 649.
Eric Prieto, Listening In. Music, Mind and the Modernist Narrative (Lincoln: University of Nebraska
Press, 2002), 262.
mutual transferability of the myths amongst themselves.144 Another relevant work is the
chapter Myth and Music from the publication entitled Myth and Meaning (1978, a cycle
of broadcast lectures), in which Lévi-Strauss summarises his basic ideas (particularly the
Finale chapter) and supplements them with, amongst other things, an interpretation of
Richard Wagner’s mythological motifs.145
This study focuses on selected topics from the investigated relationships between
mythology and music, with a specific emphasis placed on methodologically classifying
them into thematic areas according to their characteristics, even though the individual
categories are not mutually permeable. The specified process can be perceived as the
interpretation of text with a clearly defined musicological foundation, as well as an effort
to summarise and draw attention to simulative moments in mythical thought concerning
music and musical thought sui generis. To start with, it can be stated that these thematic
areas form different levels associated with the individual structural homologies of mythology and music, the methodological tools used to analyse myths with the help of music,
the principles governing the styles and forms in the development of European art music
and composed poetry. The fact that some of Lévi-Strauss’s theories are questioned occurs
specifically because there is no differentiation between the various levels that have been
outlined. The purpose of this study is not to create any new schema or rigid classification
system, but rather to define frameworks for the individual areas, which I am convinced
represent a more useful and purposeful environment for their interpretation and their
further inclusion in the theoretical and historical directions of musicology, making it
possible to take into account other disciplines (philosophy, religious studies, sociology
and others).146
Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Raw and the Cooked, Mythologiques, vol. 1 (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1983), 12.
Claude Lévi-Strauss, “Myth and Music,” in Myth and Meaning (Toronto: University of Toronto Press,
1978), 44–54. Other works are cited further in the text. The study also refers to the following works:
Tristes Tropiques (1955, The Sad Tropics, with references to Igor Stravinsky’s Les noces); Regarder,
écouter, lire (1993, Look, Listen, Read, references to Jean-Philippe Rameau’s theory of musical harmony); The View From Afar (1992, reflections on Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen); and
Jean Jacques Nattiez points out the one-sided perspective of philosophers and musicologists with
regard to Lévi-Strauss’s musical motifs: “But philosophers and musicians have often discussed
Lévi-Strauss’s proposals in terms of their own disciplines, without really examining the underlying
motivations that drive his anthropology into the arms of music.” Jean Jacques Nattiez, The Battle
of Chronos and Orpheus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 57.
Structuralist Perspective of Myth and Music
Lévi-Strauss’s analysis of myth is based on empirical categories (e.g., the raw and the
cooked, the fresh and the decayed, the male and the female, up and down, etc.), aimed
at abstract concepts and linking them into propositions. Within these categories, it is
possible to overcome internally inherent contradictions when they are broken down to
the level of symbols. As a result of its rational organisation of sensory experience, music
(particularly instrumental music with the absence of voice, which is linked to language
in spite of its musical nature) is, as compared to painting,147 closer to myth, as it lies
between logical thinking and aesthetic perception. This uncovers the logic hidden within
the sensory qualities of myth and musical works in relation not only to abstract concepts
of existence, but also to emotionality: “[…] a musical work is a sound system capable of
inducing meanings in the mind of the listener.”148 The analysis of myth through the use
of music is carried out at the level of the methodological system. It takes place the most
often, however, at the metaphoric, homologous, or isometric level. Musical structures are
also applicable because, according to Lévi-Strauss, music is able to overcome the aforementioned binary oppositions, which form the basic principle of mythical thought and
language – the essence of human thought as it exists in their unconscious structures.149
Myth and music are instruments that overcome these oppositions by making up for the
lack of logic. In his work, Lévi-Strauss demonstrates the basic principles of how myth
and music are structured. This includes, for example, transformation, repetition, recurrence, imitation and transposition. Although the meaning of these concepts is primarily
perceived as logico-mathematical, their proximity to musical terminology and thematic
work with musical thought is apparent.
In the case of Lévi-Strauss, the musical analysis of myth is, in addition to sociological
and ethnological theories, based on the concepts of structural linguistics defined by Ferdinand de Saussure, the linguistics of Roman Jakobson, and the philosophy of Immanuel
Kant and George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, as they are applied to other cultural spheres.
Myth and music are viewed from the perspective of language in order to highlight their
specificity. Although the methodological inclusion of music in Mythologiques is independent of other aspects, its relationship to language is always taken into account.150 In order
to understand mythology, it must always be viewed from the perspective of both music
as well as language.
Lévi-Strauss defines four fields of structural studies: mathematical demonstration,
natural languages, musical works and myths. Whilst mathematical models, as the direct
Compare Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Raw and the Cooked, 18–22.
Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Naked Man, 651.
Compare Ino Rossi, “The Unconscious in the Anthropology of Claude Lévi-Strauss,” American
Anthropologist, New Series 75, No. 1 (1973): 20–48.
Compare Robert Launay, “Myth and Music: the Musical Epigraphs to the Raw and the Cooked,”
in Histories of Anthropology Annual, Vol. 7 (Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2011), 83–90.
opposite of language, are abstract, language constitutes meaning and sound (the phonetic
aspects). Myths are primarily founded on meaning and the phonetic aspects are less significant because myth, as compared to poetry, is transformable within its own system, i.e.,
it is structurally translatable without any significant impact on its significance. Lévi-Strauss
argues that music is based on sound but separated from meaning, and, therefore, we have
a natural tendency to provide it with meaning. Music is infinitely translatable only to other
music within its own closed system; it is unmediated and has a unique, purely musical,
structure.151 Lévi-Strauss goes on to describe the process of the creation of myth and music. Over the course of development, although music became separate from language it
retained its formal structure; it takes sound from speech. Myth separated from language to
the benefit of meaning.152 Looking at it from a different perspective, Lévi-Strauss provides
evidence of the insurmountable differences in the relationship structure of language –
myth – music. Whilst in the case of language, its constitutive elements are phonemes,
which are combined in different ways to create different meanings, in music the basic
element is a tone. An isolated tone lacks meaning (although this statement is subject to
dispute), but, when combined with other tones, it creates music, allowing us to speak of
“tonemes”. Both language and music may subsequently be compared from the perspective
of structure. In the case of language, phonemes are joined together to create words from
which sentences are made. As far as music is concerned, the level of words is missing, as
it is the individual tones that are combined to form a musical sentence using a melodic
phrase. In myth, there are no constitutive phonemes and the basic element is the word
(which is absent in the case of music); however, in myth, as compared to music, there
is no equivalent of a phoneme. In other words, in all cases there is one level missing.153
The process of myth analysis always remains unfinished (Lévi-Strauss argues that it is
never-ending) due to the continuous breaking down of motifs. “Divergence of sequences
and themes is a fundamental characteristic of mythological thought […].”154 This processuality may also be seen elsewhere within the context of interpreting musical and mythical communication. The actual composition process may itself be considered mythical,
since, as in the case of myth, it is founded on consistent confrontation, references, and
the transformation of other musical structures – either the composer’s own or those
taken from past and present music. According to our author, the composer must carry
out this confrontation in order to create an originally structured theme.155 The relationship between the mythical communication process and music is also present in the process of negating past tradition as a stimulus to create new forms of musical expression.
The idea of the non-transformability of musical and mythical expression may also be found in the
work of Carl Kerényi. Carl Kerényi, “Prolegomena,” in Carl Gustav Jung and Carl Kerényi, The
Science of Mythology (London: Routledge, 2002), 5.
Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Naked Man, 647–648.
Claude Lévi-Strauss, “Myth and Music,” 51–52.
Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Raw and the Cooked, 5.
Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Naked Man, 646.
Lévi-Strauss draws attention to the anonymity of myth and places it within the context of
music: “Myths are anonymous: from the moment they are seen as myths, and whatever
their real origins, they exist only as elements embodied in a tradition.”156 At the time
a myth is told, the communication of this myth comes as if out of nowhere, supporting
its supernatural origin. This anonymity is compared to our lack of knowledge about the
spiritual conditions involved in musical creation. Music specifically combines that which
is understandable but, at the same time, untranslatable. As is aptly noted, the majority of
people are able to understand music, however, only a very few are able to produce it. As
a result, composers are compared to gods: “[…] the musical creator is a being comparable
to the gods, and music itself the supreme mystery of the science of man, a mystery that
all the various disciplines come up against and which holds the key to their progress.”157
The emphasis traditionally placed by structuralists on the role of the creator as compared
to the role of recipient is, however, a relatively equivalent assessment of the relationship
between composer and listener. Listeners have space open to receive music; they are the
creators of the “negative” image of the composer’s creation. The co-participation that
exists between a music composer and a music listener takes place at the intellectual and
sensory levels.158 In the case of myth and music, there is even a reversal in the roles of
broadcaster and recipient. “Thus the myth and the musical work are like conductors of an
orchestra, whose audience becomes the silent performers.”159 The possible poetic nature
of this type of expression is, within the rigorous definition of the word, a justifiable reference to the methodological premises for understanding myth. Lévi-Strauss nevertheless
bases his premises on the thesis that myth analysis will not reveal how people think, but
rather how the thoughts founded in myth are interconnected, which is one of the basic
ideas behind his structural anthropology and myth analysis overall: “I therefore claim to
show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men’s minds without their
being aware of the fact.”160 From the structuralist perspective, myths consist of a set of
(more or less fixed) relationships between constitutively significant units (the mythical
events, their functions) and the various ways in which they are combined, which makes
it possible to reveal their structural principles and define their semantic function.
Reading Myths as Musical Scores
Lévi-Strauss’s structural analysis of the Oedipus myth firstly exemplifies the methodological output of “reading” a myth for the purpose of revealing its internal structure, which,
at the unconscious level, draws attention to the bridge between the relevant oppositions
Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Raw and the Cooked, 18.
Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Naked Man, 654–655.
Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Raw and the Cooked, 17.
Ibid., 12.
present in mythical thinking. In other words, it is an analysis of the langue of the myth,
which conceals itself behind what the myth says – its parole. This indicates the structural
nature of myth and language and the way in which they are related. The constitutive units
of myths are “mythemes”, which, as compared to the phonemes and morphemes of the
spoken language, are situated at a higher level in the structure. Related mythemes cluster
together and create functional units of meaning at various levels, which are revealed
through the structural analysis of myths. This is where Lévi-Strauss’s comparison of the
analytical reading of a myth with the reading of a musical score comes into play: reading
not only the melody (the horizontal line), from left to right, sheet by sheet, individual
motif by individual motif, but, at the same time, also reading vertically from top to bottom
in order to disclose the harmonic unity of the internal significance of the myth/music.161
What differentiates the two is the method used to tell the myth and how it is understood:
Were we to tell the myth, we would disregard the columns and read the rows from left to
right and from top to bottom. But if we want to understand the myth, then we will have to
disregard one half of the diachronic dimension (top to bottom) and read from left to right,
column after column, each one being considered as a unit.162
The mythemes are subsequently numbered sequentially, and arranged into columns according to the shared function. The lines of this “score” point out the development of
individual mythemes over time. Ultimately, the internal structure of the Oedipus myth
comes to light by reading the columns from left to right, connecting the diachronic
dimension with the synchronic, the syntagmatic with the paradigmatic. According to
Lévi-Strauss, this “musical” reading makes it possible to discover the significance thanks
to the similarity between myth and music.163 This analogy also draws attention to additional conformities and the thought-inspiring nature of the approach. During our own
diachronic reading (hearing) of a myth, we are able to note only the individual events
and motifs as they follow one another in what can be termed as in unison. Conversely,
musical compositions may contain noticeable overlaps of multiple motifs simultaneously
within the individual voices (or layers) within one short period of time. The synchronous
analysis of myth draws attention to the processes of perceiving music through memory
reconstruction in relation to structure – the individual musical thoughts are retained in
one’s memory when listening to a composition in order to allow the listener to sense their
interrelationships and the existing successions after the composition has ended with the
aim of creating a musical image of the entirety of the piece.164 This process is cognitively
For more information, refer to: Claude Lévi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology (New York: Anchor,
1963), 213–217.
Ibid., 214.
Claude Lévi-Strauss, “Myth and Music,” 44–45.
Compare with the following citation: “Thus there is a kind of continuous reconstruction taking place
in the mind of the listener to music or the listener to a mythical story.” Ibid., 49.
very demanding, however, and certain compositional relationships may be revealed only
after returning to the musical material with, for example, the sheet music, or by creating
a written outline. In the case of Lévi-Strauss, the use of the orchestral approach to myth
is primarily determined (as has already been mentioned) on the basis of the methodological and practical requirements resulting from the synchronous level of the myth and
the emphasis placed on it.
The Musical Form of Myth and the Transformation of Musical Styles
By integrating musical forms into the myth analysis presented in The Raw and the Cooked,
Lévi-Strauss attempts not only to justify the appropriateness of the selected method
due to the inability to adequately separate the mythological material using traditional
ethnological methods, but also to draw attention to the more important interconnections
between musical and myth structures. The individual chapters are entitled according to
musical forms (or, more precisely, forms and types) in poetic connection with specific
myths, and, with the exception of the initial Overture, the entire work is one whole comprising five parts.165 According to the author, the selected approach made it possible to
capture the movement and nature of the mythical material with its linear and diffuse
rhythm, the slowing down and the acceleration, the alternating solo and tutti sections.166
The musical forms in their contemporary European form provide models that may be
used to analyse myths and make it possible to discover their structure, which has thus
far remained hidden from us. The structural similarity of myth and music, based on the
universality of the subconscious processes of the human mind, although modified and
mediated by culture, has historically already been analysed with the use of music. This
universality does not directly apply to specific musical or mythical forms, but rather to
the principles of thought that are structured through the use of binary oppositions and
are subsequently overcome through specific mythical or musical methods. This process,
as outlined, is chronologically reversible: mythical forms found a means of expression
in music which took over the structures of mythical thought; anthropology may apply
this in reverse when studying myths. Within the structures of the investigated myths,
Lévi-Strauss finds a variety of musical forms (from variations to sonatas), but, in his opinion, the most important appear to be the fugue and various polyphonic forms. From
the perspective of mythological significance, the key principle is the imitation of motifs
by following through and escalation.
List of the chapter titles: I Theme and Variations (Bororo Song, Ge Variations), II The “Good
Manners” Sonata, A Short Symphony, III Fugue of the Five Senses, The Opossum’s Cantata,
IV Well-Tempered Astronomy (Three Part Inventions, Double Inverted Canon, Toccata and Fugue,
Chromatic Piece), V Rustic Symphony in Three Movements (Divertissement on a Folk Theme, Bird
Chorus, The Wedding).
Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Raw and the Cooked, 14.
Lévi-Strauss views the affinity between myth and music as a relationship resulting
from structural similarities associated with the synchronous dimension of myth and
musical scores, but also from the perspective of their closeness in time during a specific
stage in the development of European (art) culture. According to Lévi-Strauss, during the
Renaissance and then gradually during the 17th century and primarily during the 18th and
19th centuries, music became mythical in the sense that, within its structure, it took over
forms originally expressed in the myths of antiquity; it became mythical itself by assuming
the functions and structures of mythology. The gradual “death of myth” during this period
is, in addition to being linked with secularisation, also related to the advent of Cartesian
rationalism and the dominance of scientific thought over the mythical sphere. “It is exactly
as if music had completely changed its traditional shape in order to take over the function – the intellectual as well as emotive function – which mythical thought was giving
up more or less at the same period.”167 It is specifically in the rise of new musical forms,
such as the fugue and the sonata, that Lévi-Strauss sees the causality resulting from the
paradigmatic change in musical expression.168 He in no way interferes in the independent
development of musical styles or any other art form, but draws attention to the structural
changes and principles in both artistic as well as mythical thought. This enables him to
link such diverse areas as myth and musical works. The symmetry of myth and music is,
however, strictly limited to the European environment and the concept of musical works
that is typically associated with it. The representative composers include Girolamo Frescobaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, and, of course, Richard Wagner
as the “originator of the structural analysis of myths”.169 The above-mentioned musical
expression is also complementarily placed into relation with the literary form of novels,
which began to replace legends with a mythological core over the same period. Music
became mythical, and mythical storytelling was transformed into novels: “In short, it is
as if music and literature had shared the heritage of myth between them.”170
Lévi-Strauss makes only slight mention of possible further developments in music
after the 19th century (and the associated dominance of the tonal system) in a short passage in his The Naked Man.171 If Wagner is to be considered an example of an individual
with an unusually strong awareness of the mythical structure of music, Claude Debussy
is another composer who brought this process to its peak. A more detailed explanation
Claude Lévi-Strauss, “Myth and Music,” 46.
It should be added that this occurs at the point where dominance transferred from a polyphonic to
a homophonic style. Lévi-Strauss does reflect on obvious changes in style over the course of historical
development, however, at a more general level, in relation to the overall cultural transformation.
Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Raw and the Cooked, 15. For more information, refer to: Claude Lévi-Strauss,
“Myth and Music,” 46–49. In relation to Wagner, compare also the studies completed by the anthropologist John Leavitt: John Leavitt, “Mytheme and Motif: Lévi-Strauss and Wagner,” Intersections:
Canadian Journal of Music 30, No. 1 (2010): 95–116.
Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Naked Man, 653.
Ibid., 654. Reflections on the development of contemporary music are also briefly covered in Claude
Lévi-Strauss, “Myth and Music,” 54.
in the text cannot be found, however, and it may be considered a mere supplement to the
musical theme followed in Mythologiques. Lévi-Strauss continues to describe the gradual
removal of mythical structures from 20th century music (particularly during the second
half) and the process of the realisation of myth as discourse (reflecting the influence of
Hegelian thought). He partially reveals a possible relationship with serial music, which,
during the period in question, he either considers representative of contemporary music,
or at least limits his work to only this composition method,172 and avoids the expressive
and rhapsodic form of the disappearing novel to the benefit of music in a way that is
comparable to the changes at the start of the new era in the case of myth and music. As
regards the topic of 20th century music, Lévi-Strauss also refers to musique concrète in the
Overture chapter of The Raw and the Cooked, but his assessment is negative in all respects:
“Musique concrète may be intoxicated with the illusion that it is saying something; in
fact it is floundering in non-significance.”173 According to Lévi-Strauss, the reasons for
this is that sounds, which were originally natural and had clear semantic relationships,
once they are modified through musical composition are removed from the causal links
to the detriment of musical tomes (which he refers to as “pseudo-tones”), consequently
establishing an unclear system of newly articulated relationships. At this point, one of
the fundamental principles of structural anthropology may be seen, specifically the differentiation and contradictions between nature and culture.174 Lévi-Strauss has a more
positive attitude with regard to serial music. In spite of the many differences that exist, he
values the fact that it has comparable characteristics with structuralism, i.e., a well-defined
structure and syntax, theoretical ambitions, systematic organisation and a lack of trust in
mechanistic and empirical solutions. Most important is the fact that tonality is retained
in serial music as well as in the organisation of the level of the music as an articulated
Lévi-Strauss’s theses do not represent an attempt to structurally analyse contemporary music and
completely overlook the rich developments in music during the first half of the 20th century. They
also do not mention other important musical characteristics of the second half, such as electronic
and electro-acoustic music, aleatoric music, minimalism, and others. It may even be possible to view
the reasons for this one-sidedness in relation to the questionable part of his theories: he comments
only on those directions in music that are either in conflict or in agreement with the paradigms of
structural anthropology and the musical analysis of myth.
Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Raw and the Cooked, 23.
Josef Fulka focuses on the interpretational elaboration of these premises of Lévi-Strauss within the
broader aesthetic context. He confronts Lévi-Strauss’s text with Pierre Schaeffer’s Traité des objets
musicaux, which was published two years after The Raw and the Cooked. The composer manipulates
sound objects with the intent of creating new musical significance, specifically without the need for
a link to the duality of nature-culture (i.e., natural sound and musical tone). Schaeffer discovers an
overlooked dimension of noise, and consequently timbre, in musical sound. Fulka draws attention to
Lévi-Strauss’s insufficient coverage of the aspect of timbre as one of the most intensively developed
aspects of 20th century music within the context of his opposing argument differentiating between
sound and tone colour. Josef Fulka, “Lévi-Strauss, Schaeffer, Wagner: hudební struktura mýtu,”
Teorie vědy 30, No. 1 (2009): 127–135.
language in the linguistic sense of the word (i.e., the organisation of tonal height, timbre,
to “total organisation”).175
It is possible to see Lévi-Strauss’s position with regard to composition poetry in, for
example, his classification of composers on the basis of partially defined structural linguistic communication models for music and the cognitive and emotional functions of
music. This is at the level of “codes” and “sharing” with the added attribute of “myth”.
The composers are separated into three groups with varying levels of crossover and combination options. The composers are always specified in pairs comprising one classical
and one modern composer for reasons of simplification and standardisation. Lévi-Strauss
names J. S. Bach and Igor Stravinsky as typical composers concerned with code (they
use their messages to illustrate and comment on the rules of musical discourse). Ludwig
van Beethoven and Maurice Ravel are placed in the group of composers concerned with
a message (the predominant feature of their work is telling a story). The third category,
comprising composers of myth, includes Richard Wagner and Claude Debussy (their
messages are based on elements that are naturally present in their narrative). Using the
same sequence of categorisation, Lévi-Strauss also classifies composers from the Second
Viennese School, specifically Anton Webern, Arnold Schöenberg, and Alban Berg.176
Time – Music – Immortality
One frequently cited sentence from the Overture chapter of The Raw and the Cooked is
Lévi-Strauss’s characterisation of myth and music with regard to the temporality of human
experience: “Both, indeed, are instruments for the obliteration of time.”177 The idea that
time is destroyed (suppressed) by myth and music, as presented in this isolated form, is
certainly inspirational, but, given its nature, also problematic. It offers the possibility of
understanding and applying it purely through a purely structuralist prism, psychologically,
philosophically (ontologically), or in a myriad of other ways, which may naturally lead to
deformations and shifts in meaning. In relation to this fact, Lévi-Strauss argues that a differentiation must be made between the diachronic time when listening to music, and physiological time. In this particular case, he does not fail to take into account the otherwise
overlooked field of psychology. In his view, music, like myth, requires a natural diachronic
dimension in order to exist, it takes place in time, and, simultaneously, it transforms time
into its own enclosed synchronic form. Music and myth are both able to overcome the
passage of historic time as well as the static nature of their own structure. Lévi-Strauss
also writes about the two continua of music and myth. The external continuum is based
on the course of historical circumstances, which provide the material for creating myths;
in the case of music, in musicological terms, one can speak of the dispositional universe
For more information, refer to Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Raw and the Cooked, 23–26.
Ibid., 29–30.
Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Raw and the Cooked, 16.
of music in the form of sets of tones as the material used for creating a musical work. The
internal continuum is dependent on the internal time of the listener. Lévi-Strauss refers
to the issues associated with physiological time, the periodicity of brainwaves, organic
rhythms, and the memory capacity of the human brain. Music, in his opinion, contains
psychological, physiological and visceral time. He generally completes his interpretation
through applying the basic bipolar oppositions of nature and culture: music operates as
two grids – the physiological and the cultural.178 Using this basis, Lévi-Strauss’s concept
of a musical work is internally organised in a structurally synchronous manner (refer to
the section that correlates myth to a musical score), and this aspect leads to the suppression of passing time. When listening to music or to myth, their synchronous dimension
loses its temporal aspect. Listening to music even brings one to the threshold of the
metaphysical: “[…] when we are listening to it, we enter into a kind of immortality.”179
Within the context of this overall theme, both the diachronic as well as synchronic crosssections obviously reflect the inspirational aspects of structural linguistics: the “langue”
is found behind the “parole”, the paradigmatic is disclosed on the basis of the syntactic.
Based on the outline of the theoretical environment of the cited sentence, a quote can be
considered from a later interview with Lévi-Strauss that took place in 2001, in which he
puts the investigated issues associated with myth and music into concrete terms; specifically, diachronic cultural messages must be “read” synchronically. One could argue that
the text included below introduces a much more succinct meaning than that which has
been presented by a number of other authors in the past:
CLS [Claude Lévi-Strauss]: But in speaking of a time-cancelling machine I wasn’t trying
to say anything profound or important. I only wanted to say that what is important for
understanding a myth is not following the progress of the story but recognizing that it is
made up of superposed slices like the parts of a score and therefore has to be grasped
outside the linear time that we are accustomed to, just as when we have really listened to
a piece of music our memory reassembles the phrases we have heard into a whole. I don’t
think there is any philosophical message here!180
As far as his theses regarding the homology of myth and music are concerned, Lévi-Strauss
did not remain at purely the theoretical level, as is evidenced by the well-known analysis
of Maurice Ravel’s Bolero (1928) he presents in the Finale chapter of The Naked Man.181
Even though one might question the representative nature of the specific composition
Ibid., 16–17.
Ibid., 16.
Marcello Massenzio, “An Interview with Claude Lévi-Strauss,” Current Anthropology 42, No. 3
(2001): 421.
For more information, refer to Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Naked Man, 659–667.
he selected, this analytical experiment provides convincing and inventive proof of the
structure of music, which can even be appreciated by a musicologist with his entire set
of analytical tools. In the presentation of Bolero, there is of course the intent to confirm
the deeper methodological basis of the musical analysis of myth – the structural presence
of binary oppositions and how they are overcome, a confirmation of the identical approach in myth and in musical works. Whilst, according to Ravel, one might traditionally
interpret Bolero as an “orchestral crescendo” or as a textbook example of orchestral instrumentation, Lévi-Strauss attempts to reveal certain aspects of the composition about
which the composer is de facto not aware and which are associated with myth and the
unconscious structure of the universality of human thought. In addition, it is possible
to see the presence of the equally important aspect of transformation – in this case, the
musical material, its components, and its facets. Pandora Hopkins draws attention to
Lévi-Strauss’s described intent when she states: “His aim is to find unconscious structuring in the work–patterns that have manifested themselves despite the avowed intention
of the composer […].”182 The tectonic and structural principles of Bolero are once again
the same as those of certain myths that are based on their spiralling growth, dynamic
progress, and the gradual introduction of musical texture resulting from the presence of
contradictions. Lévi-Strauss reveals these moments in the presence of contrasts within the
musical thoughts of the composition: subject/answer and counter-subject/counter-answer
in periodic succession. The accompanying ostinato motif, which is the opposite of the
main undulating melody, reflects the internal presence of the intertwined ternary and
binary rhythms and the ¾ metre, and, no less importantly, the overall modulation and
tonal contrast of the subject (expressed for the first time in C major on the flute) and the
counter-subject in the composition (expressed for the first time on the clarinet; although
the counter-subject drifts towards F minor, it never reaches that point). These oppositions
form the backbone of the composition. According to Lévi-Strauss, Ravel, at the beginning
of the piece, shifts his attention to the orchestration and timbral aspects, which are not
however the determinant factors. After exhausting the timbral complexity of the instruments that are played and their various combinations in solos, duos, and groups, there
is a necessary escalation and the aforementioned internal opposites are transformed in
a manner that is entirely unexpected: the sudden modulation of the C major key into
E major shortly before the finale and the return to the main tonality. According to LéviStrauss, the E major key, in addition to taking on the harmonic function of the major
mediant in the C major tonality, is also in the structurally mediant position, which plays
a key role in bridging all of the existing opposites. E major is the parallel key of C minor
and is distantly related to the F minor key, towards which the counter call drifts (the
tonality in C minor is a chromatic shift of the enharmonic third that is interchangeable
with the D flat major chord, which belongs to the F minor tonality, and the F minor chord
is the minor subdominant of C major). The modulation is therefore the mediation that
Pandora Hopkins, “The Homology of Music and Myth: Views of Lévi-Strauss on Musical Structure,”
Etnomusicology 21, No. 2 (1977): 254.
determines the elements of the composition’s structure. Lévi-Strauss loosely compared
Bolero to a fugue “laid out flat” due to the presence of linearly developing motifs, themes,
and elements concealing incompatibility, the individual voices succeeding each other as
if they were pursuing one other and becoming interwoven. Even though the described
analysis confirms the correctness of the principles contained in Lévi-Strauss’s overall
theory, it cannot be absolutely applied to all musical works and can by no means be
called unproblematic.183
Musicological Applications and Critical Reflections
The presence of mythological links in musical works, as defined in Lévi-Strauss’s concept,
has been reflected in the inspiration for a number of musicological applications and
a further elaboration of this concept. I should like to draw attention to some of them
with the aim of expanding the fairly narrow theoretical focus of the analyses presented
in Lévi-Strauss’s texts.
Carl Dahlhaus addressed the temporal aspect of myth and music and the concept
of binary oppositions in his analysis of Wagner’s music. In his case, the primary methodological interest in analysis takes into account the synchronic and diachronic aspect
of myth and how it is reflected in the horizontal and vertical dimensions of music in an
orchestral score. Amongst other things, Dahlhaus works with the duality of historical
time (“in time”) and time as an aesthetic phenomenon (“out of time”).184
One can also see the application of the methodological ideas contained in Lévi-Strauss’s
works in Eero Tarasti’s classic monograph Myth and Music (1978). Tarasti revises the
initial theory and expands it further within the context of musical semiotics with the use
of communication theory, primarily through the narrative model of myth and music.
When defining the mythical style in music, Tarasti uses the relationships between myth
and music as outlined by Lévi-Strauss but also critically notes: “However, Lévi-Strauss
Pandora Hopkins, for example, emphasises the listening strategy for a work that may not perceptually
fit in with Lévi-Strauss’s idea. The novelty of Bolero may be seen in the new relationships between
traditionally used elements and the important aspect of mass tone colour. Ibid., 253–257. Nikolaus
Bacht contemplates the origin of constitutive oppositions and whether they are truly polar (as far
as the structuring of music as such is concerned) or if, in Bolero they are not merely derived from
the initial motif/subject. The modulation in the finale of the composition does not therefore resolve
contradictions, but is the logical culmination of the composition. Nikolaus Bacht, “Enlightenment
from Afar. The Structural Analogy of Myth and Music According to Claude Lévi-Strauss,” Acta
Musicologica 73, No. 1 (2001): 12–15. Eero Tarasti also addresses the analysis of Bolero and describes
its structuring principle as mythical with more frequent occurrences, and demonstrates this using
the compositions of Dmitri Shostakovich and Jan Sibelius. Eero Tarasti, Myth and Music. A Semiotic
Approach to the Aesthetics of Myth in Music, especially that of Wagner, Sibelius and Stravinsky (Helsinki:
Suomen Musiikkitieteellinen Seura, 1978), 32–38.
Carl Dahlhaus, “Analyse des Mythos: Claude Lévi-Strauss und Der Ring des Nibelungen,“ in Klassische und romantische Musikästhetik (Laaber: Laaber-Verlag, 1988), 458–467.
overlooks one possible relation between myth and music: he does not discuss a case in
which music could acquire meaning or content from mythology, just as mythology could
in part acquire sound from music, as it does in a ritual, for example, where myth may be
performed with a song melody.”185
Victoria Adamenko, who is influenced by, amongst other things, the Moscow-Tartu
semiotic school, makes substantial use of Lévi-Strauss’s theses in her analysis and interpretation of neo-mythologism in 20th century compositions. Using them as a foundation and
applying an interdisciplinary approach, she reveals the use of the structural, expressive,
and textual elements of myth (the constitutive function of binary oppositions, symbolic
numbers and cosmology) in the compositional work of selected composers.186
Nikolaus Bacht presents yet another application of Lévi-Strauss’s theory. He draws
attention to the time delay in the adaptation of the structuralist method within the field
of music analysis and criticises certain non-beneficial experiments as being carried out in
the spirit of vulgar Lévi-Straussianism. He emphasises the importance of the structuralist
analyses of Nicolas Ruwet, which preceded the texts of Jean Jacques Nattiez mentioned
below. He also mentions the critiques of post-structuralists and post-modernists (Gilles
Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Jean-François Lyotard and Jacques Derrida) as they are directed
at Lévi-Strauss and structuralism itself.187
An interesting application may be seen in Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia, for 8 amplified
voices & orchestra (1968–1969), which, amongst other things, uses some of Lévi-Strauss’s
text from The Raw and the Cooked in the external sentences of his five-part structure.
Here one finds not only textual references to myth, but also structural references in
the way oppositions are handled in the phonetic area of the texts and musical material
that are used. From the structural perspective, the composition contains a musical form
corresponding to the type of myth that has two entirely different motifs but ultimately
ends by merging them through placing repeated emphasis on the details of these motifs.
Lévi-Strauss stated that this myth form had not yet found its musical counterpart in
compositions. The musicalisation of this myth was subsequently found, as is known, in
the Toccata for piano op. 62 (1964) composed by Lévi-Strauss’s friend René Leibowitz.
In his analysis, David Osmond-Smith demonstrates that the described structure is also
present in Berio’s composition.188
Lévi-Strauss’s daring concept of the homology of myth and European art music did not
remain without critical commentaries and rejections, however, both from anthropology
and related fields as well as from the field of musicology. The previously cited Pandora
Hopkins comprehensively addressed this point from the musicological perspective. In her
Eero Tarasti, Ibid., 30.
Victoria Adamenko, Neo-Mythologism in Music. From Scriabin and Schoenberg to Schnittke and Crumb
(New York: Hillsdale, 2007).
Nikolaus Bacht, Ibid., 19–20.
For more information, refer to David Osmond-Smith, “From Myth to Music: Lévi-Strauss’s ‘Mythologiques’ and Berio’s ‘Sinfonia’,” The Musical Quarterly 67, No. 2 (1981): 230–260.
view, from the perspective of more general methodological and philosophical issues, attention should be drawn to the presence of too many generalisations in the theory, and the
vagueness in the binary structuring in relation to any sort of empirical material. Another
area that is questioned is the premise of the universality of human thought processes and
their verifiable transferability between culturally determined areas of myth and art, not
to mention the radical differences in the time and place of separate social groups in the
case of the myths of native American tribes and the elite culture of Europe with its own
traditions. One should also consider the frequently repeated criticism of Eurocentrism
with regard to the models of myth analysis and also as concerns the narrowing down of
the musical universe into categories of musical works with all of their implications, the
inadequate coverage of the musical phenomenon of improvisation, the communication
channels of music separated according to creator and interpreter, and the levels of sharing. Hopkins also states, however, that many negative critiques have been the result of
misunderstandings, such as in the case of Lévi-Strauss’s well-known theses of the untranslatability of myth and music, as in the case of myth it is not possible to obtain the original
(superior, correct) version. Lévi-Strauss apparently meant the original version of a myth
in its original language; he was not referring to its structure. In his view, myths always
exist in relation to other myths in all of their variations. In this regard, methodological
help with the analysis of music is appropriate, as it points out the principle of variation
as one of the basic principles for shaping music.189
Jean Jacques Nattiez subjects Lévi-Strauss’s work to criticism from the position of
semiotics and structural analysis as such, because, according to him, the investigated
topic will always be problematic if it continues to be viewed through the prisms of other
disciplines. Nattiez points out, for example, the issues associated with the synchronic and
diachronic dimension of myth and music, the fact that the theory itself may be falsified
and the reduction of the analysis of myths using music to an aesthetic level on the basis
of judgement.190
Nikolaus Bacht writes about the ever-present interconnectivity between myth and
history, particularly in the European context. In his opinion, this makes it impossible to
apply Lévi-Strauss’s process directly and to connect European and non-European cultures.
“His concept of an universal logic, or metalanguage, abstracted from supposedly ahistorical myth, is not applicable to West European music, which stands firmly in history.”191
Pandora Hopkins, Ibid., 248–251.
Jean Jacques Nattiez, Ibid., 57–71. Refer also to Jean Jacques Nattiez, Lévi-Strauss musicien: Essai
sur la tentation homologique (Arles: Actes sud, 2008).
Nikolaus Bacht, Ibid., 18.
In spite of many questionable moments, the musical component of Claude Lévi-Strauss’s
work is an integral and logical part of the structuralist investigation of myth. In this study
I have focused on some of the problematic spheres in relation to music, which were
interpreted in several different areas. The structural homology of myth and music with
an ontological and epistemological status pertains to Lévi-Strauss’s analysis of the relationships between myth and music and how they are linked to language, which becomes
apparent with the use of linguistic terminology and the creation of a coherent system.
Any generalisation of the relationships between myth and music prevents them from being understood as a closed system and being externally non-transferable. Myth analysis
carried out by using the method for reading a musical score and the thesis regarding myth
as a machine that suppresses time may be described as methodological metaphors. In
spite of the link to the homological correlation between myth and music, an emphasis is
placed on a practical analytical process. Lévi-Strauss’s statements regarding the formal
links between music and myth match the idea that a connection exists between the unconscious structures of the human mind in various cultural societies outside the framework
of mere ethnography and anthropology. In the case of musicology, the links associated
with the stylistic and structural changes in musical expression that have taken place from
the Renaissance to the 19th century and the way in which music has assumed mythical
forms, as well as the commentaries on serial music, remain inspirational aspects. LéviStrauss’s observations concerning the typology of composers and compositional poetry
are of a supplemental nature. Conversely, the analysis of Ravel’s Bolero provides an innovative view of musical structure and musical analysis methodology. By identifying these
problematic aspects associated with the role music plays in myth analysis, attention has
been drawn to their possible semantic intent, within the framework of which they should
be construed and critiqued. In conclusion, I consider the musical legacy in the works of
Lévi-Strauss to be an expression of the scientific and philosophical view of a European
individual who penetrated the depths of mythical thought whilst remaining firmly rooted
in his own cultural traditions.
A Musical Analysis of Mythical Thought in the Work of Claude Lévi-Strauss
This study addresses the music-related aspects of the works of Claude Lévi-Strauss within
the context of musicology and with a specific focus placed on his Mythologiques tetralogy.
The aim is to define thematic categories for the individual theses within which they are
further contextually understood. Selected references to music from Lévi-Strauss’s work
were analysed, compared, and interpreted, taking into consideration the theories of structural linguistics and anthropology. The topics chosen for the investigation include the
system of relationships between language, mythology, and music, the analysis of myths
using musical scores, the thesis that both music and myth are instruments that suppress
time, the mythical nature of musical forms, and an analysis of Maurice Ravel’s Bolero. The
study takes into account current musicological applications that use the structural analysis
of myths, and also critical reflections regarding Lévi-Strauss’s theories. The individual
categories were defined as structural homologies of myth and music, methodological
tools of a metaphorical type to analyse myths using music, and the area commenting on
the principles governing the styles and forms in the development of European art music
and composed poetry.
Hudební analýza mytologického myšlení v díle Clauda Lévi-Strausse
Studie se zabývá hudební linií díla Clauda Lévi-Strausse v kontextu muzikologie se zaměřením na cyklus Mythologiques. Cílem je vytvořit tematické okruhy, do kterých jednotlivé
teze spadají, a ve kterých jsou dále kontextově chápány. Vybrané odkazy v jeho textech
k hudbě byly analyzovány, komparovány a interpretovány se zohledněním teorií strukturální lingvistiky a antropologie. Jako předmět zkoumání jsme zvolili systém vztahů
mezi jazykem, mýtem a hudbou, analýzu mýtu pomocí hudební partitury, teze o hudbě
a mýtu jako nástrojů k ničení času, mytologický charakter hudebních forem, analýzu
Bolera Maurice Ravela. Zohledněny jsou aktuální muzikologické aplikace strukturální
analýzy mýtu a kritická reflexe Lévi-Straussovy teorie. Jednotlivé okruhy byly vymezeny
jako strukturní homologie mýtu a hudby, metodologické nástroje metaforického typu
k analýze mýtu pomocí hudby, oblast komentářů ke stylovým a formovým zákonitostem
vývoje evropské umělecké hudby a skladatelských poetik.
Claude Lévi-Strauss; structuralism; Mythologiques; ethnomusicology; myth; mythology;
music; musical analysis; Bolero.
Klíčová slova
Claude Lévi-Strauss; strukturalizmus, Mythologiques; etnomuzikologie; mýtus; mytologie;
hudba; hudební analýza; Bolero.
Musicologica Olomucensia 22 – December 2015
“Providing for the Active Participation of the Entire Assembly”:
Petr Eben’s Liturgical Music with Congregational Participation
Manfred Novak
Petr Eben was one of the few internationally renowned composers who embraced the
implications of the Second Vatican Council (Vat. II) on writing music for the liturgy
and who took up the challenge of providing music for the active participation of the
entire congregation.192 This active participation (participatio actuosa) is a keyword of
Vat. II’s liturgical reform. The term goes back to the Motu proprio Tra le sollecitudini
(1903) by pope Pius X, in which he wished for the congregation to join in the liturgical
chants.193 This original meaning of participatio actuosa, the singing congregation, never
since ceased being one of the term’s core concepts, even if its meaning was expanded in
the course of the 20th century.194 Contrary to many of his colleagues, Petr Eben found
“Composers, filled with the Christian spirit, should feel that their vocation is to cultivate sacred music
and increase its store of treasures. Let them produce compositions which have the qualities proper
to genuine sacred music, not confining themselves to works which can be sung only by large choirs,
but providing also for the needs of small choirs and for the active participation of the entire assembly
of the faithful.” Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), art. 121.
“In particolare si procuri di restituire il canto gregoriano nell’uso del popolo, affinché i fedeli prendano di nuovo parte più attiva all’officiatura ecclesiastica, come anticamente solevasi.” Pius X, Tra
le sollecitudini, art. 3, La Santa Sede, accessed November 4, 2015,
For a detailed discussion of the term, concept, and history of participatio actuosa see Stephan Schmid-Keiser,
Aktive Teilnahme: Kriterium gottesdienstlichen Handelns und Feierns (Bern: Peter Lang, 1985). For
a recent and concise summary emphasising the term’s relevance to liturgical music see Rudolf
Pacik, “Aktive Teilnahme: Schlüsselbegriff der erneuerten Liturgie,” in Im Klangraum der Kirche:
Aspekte-Positionen-Positionierungen in Kirchenmusik und Liturgie, ed. Martin Hobi (Zürich: Chronos,
2007), 27–52.
inspiration in taking up the compositional challenges inherent in the requirement of including congregational singing.195
Any composer who wants to include congregational participation in his liturgical music
is challenged by two main questions:
1. Which compositional means or techniques can I apply in order to enable a group of
untrained singers to participate in and perform my composition?
2. How can I keep true to my aesthetic convictions and personal style, when I have to
keep things simple enough for the congregation to take part?
These two questions will be considered on the following pages and exemplified by analysis
of three works by Petr Eben, Deutsches Ordinarium (1965),196 Marien-Vesper (1968),197 and
Missa cum populo (1981–1982).198 These works were chosen because they specify a part
for the congregation among a larger ensemble (cantor, schola, choir, organ, brass and
percussion instruments) and are accessible in published editions. Of the three, Deutsches
Ordinarium is the composition on the smallest scale. This fact makes it especially interesting with regard to the aesthetical question: Do limited musical resources and the inclusion of the congregation necessitate a compromise of style? The answers Petr Eben gives
in his music will contribute to the understanding of a part of his compositional output.
They may also show a way for composing liturgical music after Vat. II, thanks to Eben
“Ich glaube, es ist vollkommen abhängig vom Komponisten, ob er in der erneuerten Liturgie eine
Chance sieht oder sie nur als Einschränkung empfindet. Das liegt ganz an ihm, und er hat wirklich
die Möglichkeit, nicht nur eine Chance, sondern sogar eine Inspiration darin zu finden. […] Für
mich war z. B. das Problem der Miteinbeziehung des Volksgesanges schon inspirierend. Das ist nicht
einfach, aber bestimmt ein Problem, das für den Komponisten sehr interessant ist.” (Petr Eben in
an interview with Franz Karl Praßl, “‘Diese Botschaft war mir immer nahe’: Ein Gespräch mit dem
Prager Komponisten Petr Eben zu seinem 65. Geburtstag,” Singende Kirche 41, No. 1 (1994): 5–9,
here 7.)
This work was titled Deutsches Ordinarium when it was published with German text by pro organo
(P. O. 3037) in 1994. Originally it set the liturgical texts in Czech language to music.
This work was titled Marien-Vesper when it was published with both German and Latin text underlay
by pro organo (P. O. 3019) in 2004. Its original language is Catalan because it was commissioned
by the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat for the Vespers of the feast of the Birth of the Blessed
Virgin Mary.
Missa cum populo was commissioned by Radio France, premiered at Avignon festival in 1983, and
published by Süddeutscher Musikverlag Heidelberg (SM 2780) in 1986. Eben composed two organ
verses complementing Missa cum populo, both of which are written on Gregorian melodies: Pueri
Hebraeorum to be played during the offertory and Adoro Te devote during the communio. These
two verses (composed in 1982) were premiered in 1986 and are published by Universal Edition (cf.
Kateřina Vondrovicová, Petr Eben: Leben und Werk (Mainz: Schott, 2000), 239–240, 256). As they
are neither included in the edition of Missa cum populo by Süddeutscher Musikverlag nor include
any vocal parts, they are not discussed in this paper.
being rated one of few composers who met both liturgical and artistic demands in their
1 The Technical Question
1.1 Deutsches Ordinarium
This composition is written for one single vocal part plus organ accompaniment,200 which
always doubles the vocal part in its top line. The pro organo edition suggests an optional
distribution of phrases among three different performing forces: cantor, schola (unison choir), and congregation. Thus there is a variety of performing options, including
schola plus organ (without congregation) or congregation plus organ (without cantor
and/or schola), which allows for an adaptation of the work according to the availability
of singers.201 This simple design provides optimal support for the members of the congregation, who always get doubled by the organ, can always be doubled by other vocalists
(cantor and/or schola), and in case of antiphonal execution will be able to listen to some
of their melodies right before they themselves are supposed to sing.
The melodic structure is diatonic with the rare chromatic alteration of single pitches;
the Kyrie is built on a Lydian scale, the Gloria on a Dorian scale, the Sanctus on a major scale, the Agnus Dei on minor scale. The Credo is somewhat more complex: Its key
signature is F major but parts of it make extensive use of the pitches A flat and C flat.
Most often the melodies progress stepwise, often thirds are used, and the largest interval
is the fifth. Note values are restricted to crotchets and quavers; rare minims or dotted
crotchets can be found at the end of phrases or motifs; parts of the Credo are recited on
a single note without any specified rhythm. Short melodic phrases are repeated several
times, occasionally showing small alteration or development in later repetitions. Again
the Credo is a bit different: It is the only movement that employs transposition and sequence. Furthermore, it includes the melody of the well-known Easter chant “Christ ist
erstanden” as a quotation.
All the mentioned features aim at keeping the melody simple and relatively easy to
perform. Even though the Kyrie includes a melodic tritone, this interval is well embedded
in the organ accompaniment (both pitches forming it sound in the organ before they
Cf. the judgement of Niko Firnkees: “Insgesamt verstehen es nur wenige Komponisten, Praktikabilität
und ästhetisches Niveau unter einen Hut zu bringen. In jüngster Zeit scheint dies dem Tschechen
Petr Eben gelungen zu sein.” Niko Firnkees, Sakrale Musik nach 1945 als musikpädagogische Aufgabe
(Augsburg: Wißner, 2000), 63.
There is also a version for a cappella choir (SATB), published by pro organo (P. O. 3038).
In case of a performance with congregation plus organ alone, some phrases of the Kyrie may be
have to be sung), and in case of a performance with cantor and schola the congregation
members would hear the phrase twice before they are supposed to sing.
Ex. 1: Petr Eben, Deutsches Ordinarium, Kyrie, mm. 1–3 (excerpt from pro organo 3037)
Also the organ accompaniment is kept simple and basically provides chordal harmony
for the melody. How this inclination towards practicability avoids being simplistic, and
whether or not it affects Eben’s style, is discussed in point 2 of this article.
1.2 Marien-Vesper
Marien-Vesper was composed in 1968 for a symposium organized by the Benedictine abbey
of Montserrat, who invited several renowned composers to discuss issues of liturgical
music after Vat. II. In the frame of this symposium two liturgical works in the vernacular
(Catalan) for the feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary were premiered, a mass
proper by Ernst Krenek202 and Vespers by Petr Eben. Marien-Vesper consists of five movements (settings of psalms 109, 112, 126; Responsorium breve; Magnificat) written for
soprano, baritone, mixed choir, congregation and organ. The congregation is included in
the first two psalms, the Magnificat, and (optionally) in the Responsorium breve.
In the first psalm Eben restricted himself to one monophonic voice plus organ. The
congregation sings the refrain (“Antiphon”) between the psalm verses. The choir performs
the first statement of the refrain (and recites the psalm verses, which are set to newly
composed formulas and alternately entrusted to the male or female section of the choir).
Thus the congregation gets the chance to listen to the D major melody of the refrain
before it joins in for the recurrences. The organ accompaniment gives harmonic support
for the pitches, but is rhythmically more independent in comparison with Deutsches
Ordinarium. The lack of rhythmic support does not, however, cause any problems for
Proprium Missae per a la festa de la nativitat de la mare de Deu, op. 202 (for soloists SATB, choir
SATB, congregation, clarinet, 2 trumpets, percussion, viola, harp and organ).
the congregation, thanks to the choir not having its own part at that time and therefore
being able to support the people.
In the second psalm the congregation can take part in the psalm itself, while the
antiphon is sung by the choir. The congregation takes part with a call, “Hochlobt den
Namen des Herrn,” which is inserted after each verse and is introduced by the female
voices of the choir who state it (in unison), before the congregation and the male voices
of the choir repeat it with the support of the organ doubling the melodic line. The unison
makes it still more convenient for the congregation to listen to the melody and recognize
it as the clue for its entry.
Ex. 2: Petr Eben, Marien-Vesper, 2nd psalm, mm. 62–66 (excerpt from pro organo 3019)
The short, repeated call, which is performed by the congregation and the male voices as
a response to the psalm verses of the female voices, adds to the joyous, rhythmic drive of
the movement. For a contrasting middle section, the choir sings a quieter, calmer chordal
passage, making the whole psalm an A–B–A form framed by the antiphon and preceded
by a short organ introduction.
For the fourth movement, the Responsorium breve, Eben provides two versions of the
Versiculum to choose from. The second option, Versiculum b, includes the congregation
with a simple recitation. This recitation is started by the baritone soloist, who delivers
his text on g; only the last note goes down to e, concluding the sentence. The congregation repeats the very same model with new text. The recitation formula is embedded in
harmonies and contrapuntal lines provided by the choir and the organ. This is the first
instance in which congregation and choir have different, overlapping parts.
Just like the first psalm, the Magnificat starts with an organ prelude and a monophonic
antiphon in D major. Here the congregation is invited to sing right from the beginning.
Again, the choir is free to join singing the antiphon, which is accompanied by the organ
in chordal style. The choir proceeds polyphonically with the text of the Magnificat, in
which the congregation participates during the last four verses (set to the same melody
as the antiphon), with the choir adding four part harmony to the melody of the sopranos
and the congregation.
1.3 Missa cum populo
Petr Eben himself commented on his Missa cum populo in the booklet accompanying
a recording published in 1992 with Panton:
My fourth Mass – MISSA CUM POPULO – was commissioned by Radio France for
the Avignon Festival, where its premiere was conducted by Georges Durand. There was,
however, a difficult condition attached to that composition: it had to meet the wish of the
Second Vatican Council that the congregation should be able to take an active part in
the performance of the concert piece. I therefore confronted the four-voice mixed church
choir, supported by organ, with an una voice part for the congregation, reinforced by four
brass instruments. The question of the responses is solved in the Kyrie by making the congregation respond with the same simple theme to the various phrases of the choir; in the
Gloria it is resolved by an ostinato, with the congregation repeating the Gregorian chant
of the opening words, in the Credo by a choral recitation by the congregation, with a drum
supporting the rhythm, in the Sanctus by contrast of a slow descending sub-theme which
rings out at double speed in the “Hosannah”, and in the Agnus Dei finally in the form of
a passacaglia in which the choir builds a climax over the singable theme of the congregation
before reverting to a quietly dying-away conclusion.203
Eben’s comments concentrate on formal aspects; it is well worth looking a bit closer:
The “simple theme” of the Kyrie consists of only two different pitches and is supported
and harmonized by the brass instruments (2 trumpets, 2 trombones). It enters after the
“various phrases of the choir” so that the congregation basically alternates with the choir;
a very short overlap in the notation prevents the choir from joining the congregation,
though. The Kyrie theme first occurs when the congregation is supposed to sing it, so the
people have to know it beforehand (or learn it from the brass players during the piece).
Its entry pitch is easy to find from the ending notes of the preceding phrases sung by the
choir.204 The last occurrence of the theme is in augmentation, with the choir joining forces
with the brass section and the congregation. Subsequently, a coda follows for which the
congregation is divided into three groups, all reciting “Kyrie eleison” on equal quavers
Petr Eben (1992; Panton 81 1141-2911), CD booklet, 5 (no pagination). Missa cum populo was recorded live at a concert on October 6, 1987. This CD also includes Vox clamantis and Concerto for
Organ and Orchestra No. 2.
Petr Eben himself confirms that this was a very conscious, practicable consideration: “Ein Motiv, das
als sechs- oder siebentöniger Refrain gebaut ist, ist sicher ganz leicht einzustudieren. Der Komponist
muß dabei aber immer ganz realistisch denken, z. B. im Fall des Kyrie dieser Missa cum populo habe
ich das so gemacht, daß dieser Refrain immer mit dem Ton beginnt, mit dem der Chor aufhört. Das
sind die praktischen Dinge, die man nicht vergessen darf.“ Cf. Praßl, Singende Kirche 41: 7.
on the note D but starting at different points of time. This repeated quaver movement is
supported by the trombones and the tomtom.
The chant motif that serves as an ostinato is the intonation of the Gloria from the
Gregorian Missa Cunctipotens genitor (Missa IV) and thus can be seen as rather familiar
to a congregation. The ostinato is supported by the brass and the organ pedal (ad. lib.).
The ostinato (and thus the congregation) pauses for the middle-section (figure 3 in the
score) and is resumed again for the ending (figure 5 in the score). The entry pitch for the
recurrence is clearly given by the choir, and the ostinato is supported by instruments,
just as in the beginning.
The recitation in the Credo is a spoken rhythmic motif (“Credo in unum Deum”),
thus the effort of finding or learning new pitches is avoided. According to Eben, there was
still another reason for choosing recitation as a means of participation of a big crowd: the
momentum of confession.205 The congregation is not only supported by the drums and,
occasionally, by the brass instruments, but the congregation’s entries are also announced
by a signal of the gong. Matching the text of the Credo sung by the choir, the text of the
recited motif is changed to “Credo in Jesum Christum” and “Credo in Spiritum Sanctum”
at the appropriate places. For the latter change, the rhythm had to be adapted.
The “slow descending sub-theme” of the Sanctus actually is the beginning of the Gregorian Missa XVIII (in feriis adventus et quadragesimae et ad missam pro defunctis).
These three notes on two different pitches are used as an ostinato, which is introduced
by the trumpet and subsequently supported by the brass section, the organ pedal, and
the choir basses. The ostinato motif is abandoned for the Hosanna and the Benedictus,
before it starts the second Hosanna, again introduced by the trumpet, but at double speed.
In the Agnus Dei the congregation’s participation is similar to that of the Kyrie: after
the choir has sung its phrases (“Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi”) the congregation
answers “Agnus Dei, miserere nobis” while the choir still keeps its last note. The congregation has to find its entry pitch (D, a fifth down from the choir note A) from the organ,
which provides the D-A sound two crotchets earlier. The “singable theme”, which is supported by the brass instruments, contains a chromatically descending line, but its strong,
expressive character helps to recognize, remember and (hopefully) sing it.
“[…] dort, wo es schwierig ist, wie z. B. beim Credo, habe ich mich auf das Rezitieren der Gemeinde
in einem starken Rhythmus konzentriert, nicht nur deshalb, weil es leichter einzustudieren ist,
sondern auch, weil es gerade beim Credo für mich wichtig war, das Moment des Bekenntnisses
auszudrücken, durch die Massenrezitation wurde dieses eigentlich noch gewichtiger.“ Cf. Praßl,
Singende Kirche 41: 8.
Ex. 3: Petr Eben, Missa cum populo, Agnus Dei, initial entry of the congregation (excerpt from
Süddeutscher Musikverlag Heidelberg 2780)
Just as in the Kyrie, there is no chance of hearing and thus learning that line during performance before the congregation is supposed to enter. For the third Agnus (“[…] dona
nobis pacem”) the line turns into the passacaglia theme that was mentioned by the composer. It is doubled in a variety of combinations by the choir basses, the brass players, and
the organ. According to the dynamic arch (a gradual development from p to ff and back
to pp) Eben divides the congregation in male and female singers. He lets the male singers
start in mp, adds the females for the fourth statement of the theme (at mf), indicating f at
the following statement. The females drop out again in the ninth statement (mf), and the
male singers finish with the next statement in p. This division of the congregation (which
includes the task of finding the correct places to enter and drop out again), the dynamic
differentiation, the melodic shape (chromaticism), entering with new melodic material,
and an entry pitch different from the preceding choir pitch make the Agnus Dei the most
demanding movement for the congregation.
1.4 Commentary
The “difficult condition” of composing for congregation is twofold: A congregation consists of untrained singers, and it does not rehearse. Thus, its part should be written in
a way so that it is easy to sing and, if it makes use of newly composed material, ideally
can be learnt during the course of the performance. In the light of the preceding parts of
this article, a few aspects of such easy “singability” will be discussed here. Some of them
are interdependent, some may be rather obvious; still it seems interesting to see how Petr
Eben dealt with them.
To begin with, the range for the congregation should avoid extremes and be suited for
higher as well as lower voice types, because any congregation is a mixed group of singers.
The ranges that Eben used are c1–d2 (Deutsches Ordinarium), d1–e2 (Marien-Vesper), and
d1–c2 (Missa cum populo), respectively one octave lower for the male singers. Thus, Eben
stayed within the standard ranges of congregational songbooks, even if e2, which Eben
used for the Magnificat, the climax of the work (and also the liturgical celebration!), is
definitely the upper limit.206 The features of the melodies and motifs used for congregational participation have already been mentioned (see 1.1); it’s worth noting the rhythmic
elementariness, which all the three works have in common.
Regarding support for the congregation, Deutsches Ordinarium and Marien-Vesper
follow very similar ideas: The organ plays along with the congregation, and the singers
of the choir are free to join the congregation on its part (although that option is only
specified in the score in exceptional cases), thanks to the fact that overlaps between congregation and the other vocal parts are avoided. Deviations from this rule can be found
in the Responsorium breve, where the soloists would be free to join the congregation
instead (not specified), and the ending of Magnificat (see 1.2). Such support by vocal
doubling is most effective, because it is easiest to sing along with other singers. For Missa
cum populo, Eben made a different, more complex choice: Basically the members of the
When Petr Eben composed Marien-Vesper in the 1960s, the average ranges in congregational songbooks were slightly higher than they are nowadays.
congregation are doubled by the brass players and can rely on them as their partners.
Additionally, at places they are also supported by the organ or some vocal parts. This
multiple support has the advantage of possible variation: Single support groups can
switch in and out, they can be freed for other musical tasks of the composition, and no
specific group or instrument is bound to always perform with the congregation. The last
Kyrie statement may serve as an example: Here Eben switches the usual combinations
congregation–brass and choir–organ to congregation–organ and choir–brass. By that
time the congregation has sung its motif often enough so that this switch will probably
not confuse even untrained singers.
The issue of melodic clues for the congregation’s entry pitches has been mentioned
in 1.3; with a few exceptions (Kyrie and Agnus Dei from Missa cum populo, the entry in
Magnificat from Marien-Vesper) these clues are very clear and hardly to be missed. But
the congregation also has to know the time of entering and sometimes, in case of ostinati,
the time of dropping out, an issue which got considerably less attention by the composer.
For responsorial forms or such execution, which apply to Deutsches Ordinarium and the
first psalm of Marien-Vesper, the constant alternation helps to follow the structure of the
composition, and the congregation will relatively easily figure out when to enter again.
These forms are common for liturgical music and thus well-known. The issue gets more
sensitive when the formal design gets more varied and therefore less straightforward.
In the second psalm of Marien-Vesper, for example, the congregation participates with
the common form of a call, but this call is integrated in a measured composition and
recurs at irregular intervals. Before any such recurrence, in addition to the melodic clue
provided by the choir singers, Eben writes an always identical, characteristic figure in the
organ accompaniment, which serves as rhythmic clue for the entry. The congregation’s
entry in the Magnificat is even more demanding: Neither do the singers get the specific
pitch, nor would the short rest of the organ give much of a rhythmic clue, and even less
so that similar writing occurs already earlier in the organ without indicating an entry of
the congregation. However, the musical structure following the entry is a broad chorale
being performed by the whole ensemble (choir plus organ), which is why the exact entry
point of the congregation is less crucial in this place. The issue of rhythmic clues gets
more important in Missa cum populo, because the forms of congregational participation
are more complex in this work. The Credo shows a neat solution: The spoken response of
the congregation, which recurs at irregular intervals, is always introduced by two strokes
of the gong, which are clearly heard, set the tempo, and in this way become a part of the
response. In the other movements, however, this helpful rhythmic signal is missing, which
is hardly a problem in the Gloria, where the ostinato motif is first sung by the officiating
priest and repeated by the congregation. In the Sanctus, where the motif is first played
by the first trumpet, it is more difficult to catch because a congregation is more used to
answer to singers (and, correspondingly, to text). But the entry is well supported by the
remaining brass section and the organ pedal, and the rhythmic structure is simple. Still
there are some open questions: How does the congregation know when to enter again
after having paused during the respective middle sections? It might follow a text sheet
providing the text sung by the choir. How do the people know when to stop singing their
ostinato (only in the Hosanna the ostinato ends with the ending of the movement)? Do
we expect them to count their statements? Really problematic in these aspects are the
Kyrie and the Agnus Dei: The congregation’s motifs or phrases are neither sung nor played
ahead of time, and any rhythmic cues are absent. The first occurrences of the “Kyrie”
are at least at regular intervals, but in the course of the piece the intervals get irregular.
And for the entries of the divided groups of the congregation at the end of the movement
there are no cues at all. Similar issues can be observed in the Agnus Dei: The first two
occurrences are regular, but there is no clue for starting the ostinato, only at its entry
the congregation gets doubled by the bass singers and the first trombone. The trumpets
enter together with the congregation’s females, and they drop out at the same time as
well. But these are “hints” which a singer would notice only in hindsight, the necessary
clues before the “events” are missing. And the question of when to end the ostinato again
remains still unanswered for the congregation.
Of course, it is generally possible to solve all of these issues by supporting the congregation with a separate unison choir, which can include more experienced singers, which
can be rehearsed beforehand, and which the congregation can cling to.207 Although there
are no such hints in the score of Missa cum populo, Petr Eben was in favour of supporting
the congregation with an additional choir, as he wrote in a letter to choir director Nick
Strimple.208 Another consideration would be that a conductor directs the congregation.
Whatever solution one may find, possibly also dependent on the conditions imposed by
the room, there are some passages in Missa cum populo for which providing some additional support for the congregation seems advisable, even if there is a chance of rehearsing
with them ahead of time.209
With regard to formal design, Eben used exclusively common forms of liturgical music
for congregational participation in the two earlier compositions: calls, responses/refrains,
litany, antiphonal singing, and strophic design at the end of Magnificat. Those short
and repetitive forms (with the exception of the last two) are easily learned, remembered
The published editions of two liturgical compositions by Ernst Krenek hint at this option. In the
concluding movement of Proprium für das Dreifaltigkeitsfest, op. 195 (Bärenreiter 4122), the part
for the congregation is labelled “1. Chor (Gemeinde ad lib.)”, although this monophonic part was
originally composed for congregation (see Manfred Novak, “Zeitgenössische Musik für zeitgenössische Liturgie: Liturgische Werke Ernst Kreneks nach dem II. Vatikanischen Konzil mit Gemeindebeteiligung,” Singende Kirche 58, No. 3 (2011): 127–133, here 129). In Deutsche Messe, op. 204
(Bärenreiter 5417) it reads “Gemeinde (Chor).”
This letter dates from June 4, 1989, and is reproduced in Christopher D. Haygood, “Surmounting
Oppression in the Choral Music of Petr Eben: An Analysis of the Missa Adventus et Quadragesimae”
(PhD diss., University of Southern California, 2013), 102. Speaking of several performances of Missa
cum populo, Eben wrote: “[…] and I was always very happy with the involvement of the congregation
(the better, if supported by a second choir).”
Vondrovicová considers rehearsing with the congregation inevitable, cf. Vondrovicová, Eben: Leben
und Werk, 240: “Das Werk setzt ein vorheriges Einüben mit dem Kirchenvolk voraus.”
and sung, are widely used for liturgical chants (also for small-scale and short pieces of
liturgical music) and are therefore familiar to congregations. In Missa cum populo Eben
used similar forms, but partly in a more complex way, and he added ostinato forms (such
as the mentioned passacaglia in the Agnus Dei), which are well suited for congregational
participation because of their repetitive structure, especially when the ostinato motifs or
phrases are relatively short. On the other hand, ostinato forms are less familiar, so it is
advisable to carefully introduce them and support the congregation. The congregation’s
recitation in the Credo is something between a response/refrain and an ostinato, and the
Agnus-motif starts as a litany and turns into an ostinato. Such combination and expansion of formal concepts adds variety, makes the music less predictable and thus more
interesting, and allows a composer to creatively design the form of his composition. But
the less predictable and common the forms for the singing congregation get, the better
the support and the clues (entry pitches, entry time, ending of ostinato passages…) for
the congregation have to be planned.
2 The Aesthetical Question
Liturgical music is functional music. It has to fulfil certain criteria in order to fit in and
support the dramaturgy of the rite. How to keep true to one’s aesthetic convictions and
one’s style while writing functional music, specifically liturgical music including congregational participation, is a highly personal question. Petr Eben’s aesthetic convictions
and some features of his personal style are very supportive of composing liturgical music.
2.1 Aesthetic Convictions
Petr Eben sees music and the composer in a role of serving society. This direction towards
other people, as opposed to writing music for oneself or for the art’s sake,210 allows him
to respond to outer needs, which may include liturgical functions such as “strengthening bonds of community” and “promoting participation”.211 Eben’s view on music as
a message which the composer wants to communicate to his listeners corresponds to
another task that liturgical music is required to fulfil, the “proclamation of the Word”.212
In order to get his message across, Eben looks for common ground between composer
Still Petr Eben developed a highly individual, personal musical language. “For Eben, there is no
conflict between the imperatives of individual artistic expression (itself pervaded by religious belief)
and the necessity of comprehensibility to listeners.” Johannes Landgren, Music-Moment-Message:
Interpretive, Improvisational, and Ideological Aspects of Petr Eben’s Organ Works (Göteborg: Göteborg
University, 1997), 74.
The functions for liturgical music are quoted from Anthony Ruff, Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform:
Treasures and Transformations (Chicago/Mundelein, IL: Hillenbrand, 2007), 17–18.
See note 211.
and listener,213 without giving in to mainstream taste. He acknowledges the task of the
contemporary composer to create something new, something unfamiliar, yet thinks that
the composer should not lose sight of his audience but try to make his musical language
understandable.214 Even if Eben did not develop these views primarily with regard to
liturgical music but while living under a suppressive communist regime where musical
utterances had the chance to escape the eyes of the censors, his convictions are supportive
of composing liturgical music. At the most basic level, his understanding of music as serving the society and conveying a message makes all the music he writes “functional music”
to some degree – or rather, giving the term a positive connotation, “serving music.”215
2.2 Personal Style216
Eben’s views on the role of the composer and of music in society led to the development
of certain stylistic features which also lend themselves to writing liturgical music. Those
features include adhering to a tonal/modal harmonic language, preferring strong melodic
In a broad historical perspective, Eben considers the emancipation of the composer from the church
as a social institution (and also a commissioning and employing institution) as one of the main reasons for the gap between nowadays composers and their (potential) audience, because the composer
got isolated from society and thus works too subjectively and individualistically for his listeners to
follow. Consequently, in writing music for the church he sees a chance to overcome this gap, because
the liturgy provides contact between the composer and the (singing) assembly. Cf. James L. Evans,
“The Choral Music of Petr Eben” (MA thesis, University College Cork, 1995), 57–58, 118–119.
Cf. Praßl, Singende Kirche 41: 6.
For this reason Eben enjoyed writing (educational) music for children, a task with which he could
satisfy the Communist authorities and at the same time did not have to compromise his deviating
political convictions (cf. Evans, “Choral Music of Petr Eben,” 130–131). It was also an opportunity
for him to fall back on musical basics such as melody, harmony, tonality or rhythm, something which
he considered important for any composer to do from time to time (cf. Praßl, Singende Kirche 41: 6).
Studies of Petr Eben’s style or a comparison of his liturgical music with his music not written for
liturgical usage but at approximately the same time and for approximately the same scoring, which
could shed light on the question whether or not he had to alter his style when composing for the
liturgy, are impeded by the limited accessibility of printed editions (or manuscripts). There are,
however, a number of studies that describe Eben’s style by means of analysis of accessible music,
and even sketch a development of style during his career. This article relies on these studies when
comparing Deutsches Ordinarium, Marien-Vesper and Missa cum populo with the description of Eben’s
style gained from the analyses of works without congregational participation. Studies taken into
account in this process include: Hyungmin Cho, “Constancy and Changes in Peter Eben’s Sacred
Choral Works: An Overview” (PhD diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007); Stefan
Daubner, Orchesterwerke Petr Ebens — Struktur und Zeichen (Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang, 2003);
Evans, “Choral Music of Petr Eben”; Haygood, “Surmounting Oppression”; Landgren, Music-Moment-Message; Nelly Matova, “Petr Eben’s Oratorio Apologia Sokratus (1967) and Ballet Curses and
Blessings (1983): An Interpretative Analysis of the Symbolism behind the Text Settings and Musical
Style” (PhD diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010).
themes and motifs and elaborating on them, as well as using quotations,217 particularly
of Gregorian chant (as melodies conveying the meaning of their texts even if the words
are not sung). By quoting a well-known hymn in a composition, the congregation can
be included singing this hymn, either with original lyrics or with a newly underlaid text.
Eben makes use of this procedure in Deutsches Ordinarium, when he quotes the melody of
“Christ ist erstanden” and has parts of the Credo text sung to it. Quotations of Gregorian
melodies are chosen in Sanctus and Gloria of Missa cum populo. There he used those
quotations as an ostinato, another very characteristic feature of his style which lends
itself to congregational participation because of its inherent repetitiveness: The members
of the congregation have the chance to learn the short motif on the way, join in at later
statements, and take part in the composition for some considerable duration (as long as
the ostinato is in effect). Another feature Eben considers important in order to enable an
audience to understand his music is a very clear formal design (often using classical forms,
especially in his earlier works), which can be observed in all the three works discussed here.
Some of the features aiming at congregational participation (refrains, responses, ostinato,
antiphonal singing) at the same time help build a clearly perceived musical form. Making
use of ostinato even gives rise to musical forms such as the passacaglia, which Eben employed in Agnus Dei218 of Missa cum populo as well as in a number of non-liturgical works
of both earlier and later origin.219 Again we find a fortunate correlation between Eben’s
personal style and favourable techniques of congregational participation.
The following table lists some features that are discussed in scholarly literature220 as
being characteristic to Eben’s style and their prominent occurrences in the three liturgical
works being discussed in this paper. Eben’s preference of tonal/modal musical language
with clear, often classical, formal design is so pervasive that it is not separately listed.
Stylistic features/techniques
Homorythmic harmonization
Gl, Cr
Ky, Gl, Cr
Parallel chords
Quartal harmony
Gl, Cr
Missa cum
Ps 2, 3; Resp,
Ky, Gl, Cr, Ag,
Postludium (= Post)
Ps 1, 2, 3, Magn Praeludium
(= Prae), Ky, Cr, Ag
Ps 3
Prae, Cr, Ag, Post
Ps 1, 2, 3; Magn Cr, Ag, Post
Ps 1, 3; Magn
Prae, Gl, Cr, Sa-Be,
Ag, Post
Eben’s usage of quotations is by no means limited to sacred music: Cf. Desire of Ancient Things,
where he quotes Rameau’s La Villageoise and Chopin’s Prelude op. 28/15 in D flat major.
The initial response of the congregation turns into the passacaglia theme later in the movement.
E.g. Symphonia gregoriana (1953/54), see Daubner, Orchesterwerke Petr Ebens, 75; Hiob (1987), see
Landgren, Music-Moment-Message, 27; Prager Te Deum (1989), see Cho, “Constancy and Changes,” 65.
See note 216.
Classical/functional cadences221
Gl, Cr, Sa, Ag
Tertian relationships222
Gl, Cr
(Chromatic) alteration of notes
Gl, Cr, Sa
Simultaneous major/minor third
Melodic triton
Ps 1, 2, 3; Resp,
Ps 1, 3; Resp;
Ps 2, 3; Resp,
Ps 1, 2
Ps 1; Magn
Melodic fourths (starting a phrase)
Gl, Cr
Ps 1, 3; Magn
Melodic fifths (starting a phrase)
Successive widening of intervals
Melodies with large ambitus
Small-scale, chromatic melodies
Polytonal triadic melody
Change of metre (for declamation)
Lombardic rhythms
Simultaneous use of different tempi
Bi- rhythmic texture
Text painting
Use of Gregorian chant
Old techniques
Ps 1, 2; Resp
Juxtaposition of triads
Ps 2
Gl, Cr
Ps 3
Ps 2, 3
Cr (fauxbourdon)
Ps 2, 3; Magn
(Ky, Gl)224
Ps 2, Resp,
Use of speaking voice
Ky, Gl, Cr, Sa-Be,
Ag, Post
Ky, Gl, Cr, Sa-Be,
Ag, Post
Ky, Gl, Cr, Sa-Be,
Ag, Post
Prae, Ky, Sa-Be,
Ag, Post223
Ky, Ag
Ky, Cr, Sa-Be, Ag
Ky, Ag
Cr, Ag
Prae, Ky, Gl
Prae, Gl, Cr
Prae, Cr, Sa-Be, Ag
Prae, Gl, Sa-Be, Post
Prae, Gl, Sa-Be, Post
Prae, Ky, Gl, Cr,
Post (antiphonal);
Prae, Sa-Be, Ag,
Post (canon)
Ky, Sa-Be, Post
Gl, Cr, Sa-Be, Ag
221 222 223 224
For this category, cadential progressions of V-I and IV-I have been taken into account.
Tertian harmony may occur as chord progression as well as harmonic relation between larger form parts.
In Postludium the fourth is introduced by the quoted melody.
Both movements include short motifs that get repeated. Partly the repetitions are differently harmonized and slightly modified to better fit the changing text. Because of this modification and the
short duration of the passages (3–4 statements of each motif) one cannot classify them as ostinati
in a strict sense of the word.
2.3 Commentary
The table shows that the amount of characteristic stylistic features in Eben’s liturgical
compositions is increasing chronologically. This mirrors the increase in numbers of professional performers in the three compositions, whose involvement allows the composer
to apply more complex techniques, but also the development of Eben’s style to which
some features got added in the course of time. According to Stefan Daubner, polytonal
triadic melodies only become common in the 1990s,225 and Hyungmin Cho classifies the
extensive use of the speaking voice as a late feature of Eben’s choir music, occurring only
as late as the 1990s.226 In this respect, Missa cum populo can even be regarded as stylistically innovative, and the two earlier works are typical examples for their time of origin in
not showing any of the features Eben only took up later in his career. Likewise, writing
melodies with a large ambitus is something Eben only started in the late 1960s,227 and
this is precisely reflected in the three liturgical compositions. The melodic tritone and
bi-rhythmic structures which started to gain importance in the 1960s228 are other features
reflecting the development of Eben’s general compositional style.
There are more typical features that put those three liturgical compositions firmly into
the realm of Eben’s general musical language: Folk music, which had influenced Eben’s
style since the 1960s, inspired him to use lombardic rythms, variation of major and minor
thirds (which is reflected in their simultaneous use as well as in chromatic alteration,
some of which concerns the third), fourths or fifths starting a melody,229 and finally,
pedal-notes and ostinati.230 Features still prominently used in later works include ostinati
(in Verba Sapientiae, 1991–1993),231 classical cadences (in Prager Te Deum, 1989; Verba
Sapientiae),232 tonality/polytonality, plainchant (in Prager Te Deum, De tempore, 1991),
and old/archaic techniques (such as fauxbourdon in Cantico delle Creature, 1987).233 With
Cf. Daubner, Orchesterwerke Petr Ebens, 30.
Cf. Cho, “Constancy and Changes,” 142, 165. Nevertheless, it may be noted that for a short passage
Eben did include a solo speaking voice already in his symphonic movement Vox clamantis (1969),
a piece in which he employed a number of avant-garde techniques.
Cf. Daubner, Orchesterwerke Petr Ebens, 28. In Eben’s instrumental music the ambitus can be as
wide as two octaves. When writing for the human voice, the ambitus is more limited, but the general
tendency of using larger intervals and a larger ambitus remains. In his choir music, Eben occasionally wrote “continuous melodies” which are distributed to several voice parts and thus could cover
a larger ambitus than any single voice part. However, this feature is used extensively only in his later
works (cf. Cho, “Constancy and Changes,” 35), and it does not occur in the three liturgical works
being discussed here.
Cf. Daubner, Orchesterwerke Petr Ebens, 28.
Cf. Daubner, Orchesterwerke Petr Ebens, 28.
Cf. Matova, “Petr Eben’s Oratorio,” 55.
Cf. Cho, “Constancy and Changes,” 112, 125, 146.
Cf. Cho, “Constancy and Changes,” 106, 120, 150.
Cf. Cho, “Constancy and Changes,” 57.
regard to the latter, antiphonal writing is especially interesting because it is rooted in
practices of ancient liturgical singing. Therefore its usage links to the tradition of liturgical
music (as well as to Renaissance polychoral music) and is a successful way of integrating
the singing congregation. At the same time it is a technique which again is characteristic of
Eben’s language and which he also uses in non-liturgical music (for example in Prager Te
Deum, and De tempore).234 In case of performing Deutsches Ordinarium with choir and/or
cantor, the whole cycle could be added to the category “old techniques (antiphonal)”.
Eben also shows a way of avoiding the inherent danger of music becoming too repetitive and therefore boring, when a short response is used to include the congregation in
an antiphonal structure: In Kyrie of Missa cum populo the congregation’s short motif at
times occurs transposed, differently harmonized (as does the antiphon of the first psalm
of Marien-Vesper), in augmentation, or supported by various instrumental sections.
Generally speaking, Deutsches Ordinarium, Marien-Vesper, and Missa cum populo all
clearly show Peter Eben’s musical language, even if he himself talks of stylistic considerations in composing for the congregation when commenting on Marien-Vesper: “The
text set to music there is in the mellifluous Catalan language, to enable members of the
congregation to join in the singing at several places. Therefore also this work was styled
in an accessible musical idiom, with the organ put in charge of the harmonically sharper
passages.”235 By the hint “with the organ put in charge of the harmonically sharper passages,” he provides the key to writing stylistically advanced music even when the congregation is included: More demanding passages are entrusted to trained performers; the
more trained performers are available, the less elementary the music needs to be written.
This can clearly be seen by comparing Missa cum populo to Deutsches Ordinarium, where
more demanding stylistic features such as polytonality, bi-rhythmic structures, and juxtaposition of triads are missing, and thus the harmonic and melodic language is milder.
Yet, Eben manages to employ clearly noticeable hallmarks of his style such as tertian
progressions, melodic tritons, chromatic alterations of notes (often affecting the third),
and parallel chords even so. For very few passages Eben abandons most or all of those
characteristics, retreating to a tonal/modal style with mainly functional triadic or seventh
chord harmonization and without notes foreign to the scale.236
Through his aesthetic convictions, his positive view on the liturgical reform,237 his
communicative musical language, and his personal interest in composing for the singing
congregation, Petr Eben successfully combined artistic demands with functional and
practical needs of liturgical music. His impressive achievements in writing for the liturgy
Cf. Cho, “Constancy and Changes,” 65, 145–146.
Quoted after the booklet accompanying the CD Petr Eben: Religious Works (1992; Supraphon 11
1438-2231), 2 (no pagination).
These passages include Agnus Dei and a short section in Credo of Deutsches Ordinarium as well as
the first antiphon of the first psalm (recurring antiphons are harmonized differently) and the antiphon of Magnificat of Marien-Vesper.
Cf. Praßl, Singende Kirche 41: 7.
after Vat. II can still serve as outstanding models for contemporary composers embarking on this road.
“Providing for the Active Participation of the Entire Assembly”:
Petr Eben’s Liturgical Music with Congregational Participation
Petr Eben was one of the few internationally renowned composers embracing the implications of the Second Vatican Council on writing music for the liturgy designed for the
active participation of the entire congregation. He took up this challenge and succeeded
in meeting both liturgical and artistic requirements. This paper discusses technical and
aesthetic questions involved in composing for congregations and exemplifies these questions in analysing three works by Petr Eben: Deutsches Ordinarium (1965), Marien-Vesper
(1968) and Missa cum populo (1981–1982).
„Určeno pro aktivní spoluúčast celého shromáždění“: liturgická hudba
skladatele Petra Ebena s účastí kongregace
Petr Eben byl jedním z mála mezinárodně uznávaných skladatelů, kteří ve svém díle reflektovali požadavky Druhého vatikánského koncilu na kompozici liturgické hudby určené
pro aktivní spoluúčast celé kongregace. Eben přijal zmíněné požadavky a úspěšně spojil
liturgické a umělecké nároky. Studie rozebírá technické a estetické otázky související
s kompozicí hudby pro kongregaci; problematika je ilustrována na příkladu Ebenových děl:
Deutsches Ordinarium (1965), Marien-Vesper (1968), and Missa cum populo (1981–1982).
20th century music; church music; congregational participation / participatio actuosa;
Petr Eben; liturgical music; sacred music; Second Vatican Council; Deutsches Ordinarium;
Marien-Vesper; Missa cum populo.
Klíčová slova
Hudba 20. století; chrámová hudba; spoluúčast kongregace / participatio actuosa; Petr
Eben; liturgická hudba; duchovní hudba; Druhý vatikánský koncil; Deutsches Ordinarium;
Marien-Vesper; Missa cum populo.
Musicologica Olomucensia 22 – December 2015
Odraz hudebních kontaktů olomouckých biskupů 18. století
v kroměřížské hudební sbírce238
Jana Spáčilová
Záměrem předkládané studie není podat vyčerpávající informace o hudební sbírce Arcibiskupského zámku Kroměříž jako odrazu hudebních zájmů jejích pořizovatelů, nýbrž
spíše upozornit na některé zajímavé hudebniny, které dokumentují šíři zahraničních hudebních kontaktů olomouckých biskupů v 18. století. Kroměřížská hudební sbírka je již
dlouhou dobu známa muzikologům zabývajícím se hudbou baroka a klasicismu, a to
především ve dvou oblastech výzkumu.239 V první řadě je neutuchající pozornost věnována
kolekci hudebnin z majetku olomouckého biskupa Karla z Liechtensteinu-Castelcorna
(1664–1695), která představuje vzácný zdroj mnoha unikátních kompozic rakouských
skladatelů druhé poloviny 17. století.240 Pomyslný protipól představuje kroměřížská část
hudební sbírky arcibiskupa Rudolfa Jana Habsburského (1819–1831), která obsahuje mj.
arcivévodovy úlohy z kompozice opravené Ludwigem van Beethoven. Jedná se o menší část původní Rudolfovy sbírky, dnes uchované ve vídeňském archívu Gesellschaft
der Musikfreunde.241 Ve světle těchto dvou klíčových oblastí jsou hudebniny pocházející
z „mezidobí“, tj. z doby mezi léty cca 1700 až 1800, poněkud v pozadí. Avšak právě z tohoto období uchovává kroměřížská knihovna celou řadu hudebnin, významně doplňujících
naše znalosti o migraci hudebního repertoáru ve střední Evropě v 18. století.
Z hlediska kulturních vztahů Moravy a Itálie jsou nejzajímavější hudebniny spadající dobou svého vzniku do doby episkopátu Wolfganga Hannibala Schrattenbacha
Předkládaná studie je výstupem projektu finančně podpořeného Filozofickou fakultou Univerzity
Palackého Olomouc (FPVC2015/15).
Jiří Sehnal, „Die Musiksammlung des Erzbischöflichen Musikarchivs in Kremsier (Kroměříž),“ in
Musikgeschichte zwischen Ost- und Westeuropa. Symphonik – Musiksammlungen. Deutsche Musik im
Osten, Bd. 10 (Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag, 1997), 441–446.
Jiří Sehnal a Jitřenka Pešková, Caroli de Liechtenstein-Castelcorno episcopi Olomucensis operum artis
musicae collectio Cremsirii reservata (Praha: Národní knihovna ČR, 1998).
Susan Kagan, Archduke Rudolph, Beethoven’s Patron, Pupil and Friend (Stuyvesant: Pendragon Press,
(1711–1738), který před svým převzetím olomouckého biskupského úřadu pobýval dlouhou dobu v Itálii, mj. v letech 1719–1721 ve funkci místokrále v Neapoli. V první řadě je
to v nedávné době identifikovaná kolekce deseti chrámových skladeb italské provenience,
zakoupená roku 1731 pro kroměřížský kolegiátní kostel sv. Mořice.242 Nákup měl na starosti svatomořický varhaník a regenschori Anton Bernkopf (1675?–1747), jehož jménem
je také podepsán inventář hudebnin vytvořený při té příležitosti.243 Kolekce původně
obsahovala 18 skladeb, dnes jsou dochovány kompozice těchto skladatelů: Antonio Maria
Bononcini (Kyrie a Gloria, Credo, Magnificat, dvoje Litanie), Antonio Maria Pacchioni
(Te Deum, Dixit Dominus, Domine ad adjuvandum) a Francesco Peli (Kyrie a Gloria,
Credo).244 Posledně jmenovaný skladatel obstarání skladeb také zřejmě zprostředkoval,
neboť roku 1731 podle všech indicií osobně pobýval na Moravě a uvedl v Kroměříži svoji
odjinud neznámou operu Coronide a v Brně reprízu svého oratoria L’ultima persecuzione
di Saule contro Davidde.245
Jako odraz hudebních kontaktů se Slezskem je možno vnímat unikátně dochované kroměřížské opisy čtyř skladeb Antonia Bioniho (1698–1739), který působil ve 20. a 30. letech
18. století na různých místech střední Evropy, především na místě skladatele a impresária
italské operní společnosti ve Vratislavi. Jsou to tři kantáty pro soprán a smyčce (Se non
poss’io, Innocente è il mio martire, Se non ti moro à lato) a árie De tanti fidi amanti pro
tenor, vnější kritika pramenů naznačuje (minimálně v případě prvních tří) jejich vratislavský původ.246 Přímý vztah Bioniho ke Kroměříži není sice prokázán, avšak vzhledem
k výjimečnému postavení, které zaujímali italští umělci na dvoře biskupa Schrattenbacha,
je dosti pravděpodobný.247
V případě zmíněných skladeb se jedná bohužel o jediné hudební prameny, které by
snad bylo možno vztáhnout ke Schrattenbachově dvorní kapele. Ostatní notové materiály
(dvě desítky oper a více než 30 oratorií) jsou s výjimkou tří oratorních partitur uložených
Jana Spáčilová, „Repertoár chrámové hudby v Kroměříži v roce 1731. Olomoucký biskup Schrattenbach a hudba vrcholného baroka [III],” Opus musicum 37, No. 3 (2005): 39–45.
Compositiones musicae emptae anno 1731 ex pecunia sacristiae ad usum ecclesiae colleg. s. Mauritii
Crembsirii et mihi infra scripto qua eiusdem ecclesiae directori musices consignatae. Viz Antonín
Breitenbacher, „Hudební archiv kolegiátního kostela sv. Mořice v Kroměříži,“ Časopis vlasteneckého
spolku musejního v Olomouci 40 (1928), suppl., 41–42 (1929), suppl., 43 (1930); 48 (1935), zde na
s. 10. Originál se nepodařilo nalézt, pouze zkrácený soupis pod názvem Compositiones Musicae ex
pecunia Sacristiae Consignatae (součást hudebniny CZ-KRa/A 970).
CZ-KRa/A 970 až A 973, A 1285, A 1286, A 1289, A 1290, A 4856.
Jana Spáčilová, „Hudba na dvoře olomouckého biskupa Schrattenbacha (1711–1738). Příspěvek
k libretistice barokní opery a oratoria“ (disertační práce, Brno: Masarykova univerzita, 2006), 161.
CZ-KRa/A 4100 až A 4103. Srovnej Zuzana Veverková, „Antonio Bioni a jeho kantáta „Innocente“
v kroměřížské hudební sbírce“ (diplomová práce, Brno: Masarykova univerzita, 2009).
K italským umělcům na Schrattenbachově dvoře nejnověji Jana Spáčilová, „Soloists of the Opera
Productions in Brno, Holešov, Kroměříž and Vyškov. Italian Opera Singers in Moravian Sources
c. 1720–1740, Part I.,“ in Musicians’ Mobilities and Music Migrations in Early Modern Europe. From
Source Research to Cultural Studies, eds. Gesa zu Nieden a Berthold Over, v tisku.
dnes v Berlíně a jednoho fragmentu v Oddělení dějin hudby Moravského zemského muzea
Vazby na Vídeň jako hlavní město monarchie jsou pochopitelně četnější. Předmětem
zájmu se v minulosti staly kroměřížské opisy děl Josefa Haydna (částečně s falešnou autorskou atribucí) a Josefa Antonína Štěpána.249 Výzkum kroměřížských hudebnin ve vztahu
k vídeňským kopistům provedl A. Peter Brown v souvislosti se svojí prací na tematickém
katalogu skladeb Carla Ordoneze.250 Ve své práci identifikuje několik kroměřížských hudebnin jako dílo opisovačů Simona Haschke, Leopolda Eberla a Laurenta Lausche.251
Významnější posun v této oblasti představuje výzkum Jiřího Sehnala, jeho zjištění však
pro své publikování v českém jazyce bohužel zůstala bez širší mezinárodní odezvy.252
Teprve v posledních letech dochází ke korekci starších hypotéz ohledně vídeňských kopistů v rámci výzkumného projektu Transferprozesse in der Musikkultur Wiens, 1755–1780:
Musikalienmarkt, Bearbeitungspraxis, neues Publikum.253
Jako odraz vídeňské hudební kultury je možno vnímat také několik hudebně dramatických kompozic uložených v Kroměříži, které dobou svého vzniku spadají do doby po roce
1750. Vesměs se jedná o nepříliš známé prameny, pozornosti dosud unikly z toho důvodu,
že se jedná o součást tzv. Původní zámecké sbírky (PZS), která dosud není na rozdíl
od kolekce biskupa Castelcorna zpracována v katalogu RISM a prakticky je velmi těžko
dostupná, neboť nemá k dispozici ani použitelný lístkový katalog.254 Hlavním účelem
předkládaného textu je proto představení těchto hudebnin z hlediska vnější pramenné
kritiky a pokus o zodpovězení otázky jejich provenience.
K identifikaci hudebních materiálů Schrattenbachovy dvorní kapely nejnověji Jana Spáčilová, „Die
Rezeption der italienischen Oper am Hofe des Olmützer Bischofs Schrattenbach,” in The EighteenthCentury Italian Opera Seria: Metamorphoses of the Opera in the Imperial Age [Colloquia Musicologica
Brunensia, 42, 2007], eds. Petr Macek a Jana Perutková (Praha: KLP, 2013), s. 75–88.
Georg Feder, „Die Überlieferung und Verbreitung der handschriftlichen Quellen zu Haydns Werken,“
Haydn-Studien 1, No. 1 (1965): 3–42.
Peter A. Brown, „Notes on some Eighteenth-Century Viennese Copyists,“ Journal of the American
Musicological Society 34, No. 2 (1981): 325–338.
Jako kopistu označuje Brown také Josepha Georga Harolda, zde se však jednalo o majitele hudebnin.
Děkuji Martinu Eyblovi za upozornění na tuto skutečnost.
Jiří Sehnal, „Hudební kapela Antona Theodora Colloreda-Waldsee (1777–1811) v Kroměříži a Olomouci,“ Hudební věda 13 (1976): 291–349. Zkrácená verze: „Die Musikkapelle des Olmützer Erzbischofs Anton Theodor Colloredo-Waldsee 1777–1811,“ Haydn Yearbook 10 (1978): 132–150.
Workshop „Akteure und Netzwerke“ pořádaný v rámci tohoto projektu ve dnech 19.–21. 6. 2015
v Brně se stal prvotním impulsem ke vzniku předkládané studie.
Část sbírky je podchycena v lístkovém katalogu vypracovaném ve 20. letech 20. století Karlem
Vetterlem, který je uložený v ODH MZM. Přímo v Kroměříži je k dispozici pouze informativní
katalog, který zdaleka nepostačuje moderním parametrům hudební katalogizace. Srovnej Magdalena
Petrášová, „Původní zámecká sbírka v Kroměříži. Katalog její dosud nezpracované části“ (diplomová
práce, Brno: Masarykova univerzita, 2011).
Chronologicky nejstarším dílem dle doby svého vzniku je La Passione di Gesù Cristo Signor nostro Ignaze Holzbauera. Oratorium na libreto Pietra Metastasia vzniklo
v Mannheimu roku 1754, byla to jedna z prvních hudebně dramatických kompozic skladatele v novém působišti (do služeb kurfiřta Carla Theodora nastoupil 1753) a vůbec
první jeho známé oratorium. Opis sestává z vázaného particella a jednotlivých hlasů,
lze rozeznat několik kopistických rukou.255 Pro hudebninu byly použity tři druhy papíru
s vodoznaky: kozel v korunovaném oválu, tři půlměsíce a iniciály BT.
Očividně se jedná o materiál k nějakému pozdějšímu nastudování, jak ukazuje oprava
v duetu Pietra s Maddalenou a vpisky v Giovanniho partu. K tomuto provedení se patrně
vztahují také jména sólistů uvedená na konci zpěvních hlasů: Monsieur Gsur“ na partu
Giuseppe (bas) a „Mademoiselle Teyberin“ na partu Maddaleny (soprán). Z tištěného
libreta je doložena pouze jediná další repríza Holzbauerova Passione, a to 1757 ve Vídni.256
Provedení se uskutečnilo v rámci postních koncertních akademií v Theater nächst der
Burg, které se zde pravidelně konaly od roku 1745.257 Elisabeth Teyber byla zpěvačkou
Burgtheater mezi léty 1757–1763, „Monsieur Gsur“ zřejmě označuje vídeňského basistu
a skladatele Tobiase Gsura (1726/27–1794).258 Kroměřížský notový materiál se tedy s nejvyšší pravděpodobností vztahuje k tomuto vídeňskému provedení Holzbauerova oratoria.
Další dvě oratoria – Gioas Re di Giuda a La redenzione jsou dílem Georga Christopha
Wagenseila. Obě oratoria na libreta Pietra Metastasia vznikla roku 1755 ve Vídni, provedena byla opět v rámci postních koncertů v Burgtheater. Muzikologická literatura kroměřížské opisy dosud neeviduje.
Gioas je dochován v partituře o dvou svazcích vyvázané v tzv. „tureckém papíře“.259
Typ vazby silně připomíná partitury z hudební sbírky hraběte Jana Adama Questenberga
(1678–1752), které byly vázány u vídeňského knihvazače Johanna Rösslera.260 Titulní list
téměř doslova odpovídá partituře uložené ve Vídni včetně vročení 1755.261 Kopista je dle
písařského duktu vídeňského původu, materiál nenese známky používání. Papír partitury
obsahuje vodoznak „tři půlměsíce“ a iniciály FA, pro předsádku byl použit papír s vodoznakem „korunované dvojité W“ a iniciály AR.
CZ-KRa/A 2336 (I-C-11) partitura, A 2337 (I-C-12) party. La Passione di Gesù Cristo Signor nostro.
Musica del Sig. Ignazio Holzbaur [!] M: d: C: d: S: A: E:
I-Bc/Lo.8076 (Wien, Marie Eve Schilgin, 1757). Další exemplář libreta CZ-Bm/B 371 (nedatovaný).
Výzkumem vídeňských akademií se v současné době intenzivně zabývá Marko Motnik, jemuž jsem
zavázána za konzultování této problematiky a poskytnutí dosud nepublikovaných informací.
Dle dopisu Marko Motnika z 24. 6. 2015.
CZ-KRa/A 2329 (I-C-4). Gioas Re Di Giuda. Azione Sacra Per Musica Anno 1755. La Poesia è del
Sig. Abbate Pietro Metastasio Poeta di S: M: Cesarea, e Cattolica. La Musica è del Sig: Cristofforo
Wagenseil Compositore di S: M: Cesarea, e Cattolica.
Jana Perutková, František Antonín Míča ve službách hraběte Questenberga a italská opera v Jaroměřících
(Praha: KLP, 2011), 328–330.
A-Wn/Mus.Hs.18247 Mus (partitura, nekompletní, jen Prima Parte). Gioas Re di Giuda Azione Sacra
Per Musica L’Anno 1755. La Poesia è di Abbate Pietro Metastasio, Poeta di S: M: C: La Musica è di
Cristoffro [!] Wagenseil, Compositore di S: M: C:
La Redenzione je dochováno v nevázané partituře opsané opět kopistou známým z vídeňských dvorních partitur (jiná ruka než Gioas, avšak velmi podobná) a dále v partech
z pera různých písařů, jejichž duktus vídeňskou provenienci nenaznačuje.262 Papír je
opatřen vodoznakem „tři půlměsíce“ s připojeným písmenem W a iniciálami AS. Partitura
je datována 1759, ovšem při bližším pohledu je patrné, že pod poslední číslovkou 9 bylo
původně 5 (tj. datum vzniku díla).263 Na rozdíl od Gioase jde určitě o provozní materiál,
na což ukazují jednak rozepsané kadence ve zpěvních partech, jednak záložky v partituře
usnadňující v áriích otočení zpět na Da Capo (případně Dal Segno). Opravený letopočet
1759 se tedy patrně vztahuje k novému nastudování díla, místo a datum však nelze v tomto
případě zjistit. Pokud se tato repríza odehrála ve Vídni, nebylo to na rozdíl od Holzbauerova oratoria v Burgtheater, neboť k roku 1759 zde není pořádání koncertních akademií
doloženo – jediné známé vídeňské oratorium z tohoto roku Isaccio figura del Redentore
Giuseppe Bonna bylo dáváno v paláci vévody von Sachsen-Hildeburghausen.264 Původ
kroměřížského notového materiálu tedy prozatím zůstává neznámý.
Při kolaci obou Wagenseilových oratorií s opisy uloženými v Österreichische Nationalbibliothek bylo zjištěno několik drobných rozdílů, zejména precizněji zaznamenané
údaje o instrumentálním i pěveckém obsazení v kroměřížských partiturách.265 Srovnání
partitury Gioas s třetím existujícím exemplářem v rakouském benediktinském klášteře
Kremsmünster bude předmětem dalšího výzkumu.266
Čtvrté oratorium nemá obálku ani titulní list, proto je v kroměřížských katalozích
uvedeno pouze jako Cain et Abel.267 Analýzou textu bylo zjištěno, že se jedná o oratorium
La Morte d’Abele na libreto Pietra Metastasia. Autor hudby nebyl dosud určen, přičemž
toto Metastasiovo libreto zhudebnilo více než 30 skladatelů. Prozatím byli vyloučeni
Antonio Caldara (Vídeň 1732), Leonardo Leo (Neapol 1732), Niccolò Piccini (Neapol
1758) a Domenico Fischietti (Praha 1763). Obsazení orchestru se smyčci, dvěma hoboji,
dvěma hornami a obligátním fagotem napovídá o vzniku oratoria někdy před polovinou
18. století, další pátrání je však ztíženo tím, že k mnoha známým zhudebněním neexistují
CZ-KRa/A 2330a (I-C-5), partitura. La Redenzione Componimento Drammatico. L’Anno 1759
[původně 1755]. La Poesia è del sig: Abbate Pietro Metastasio, Poeta di sua Maestà cesarea. La
Musica è del Sig: Cristofforo Wagenseil Compositore di Camera di sua Maestà cesarea.
A-Wn/Mus.Hs.17124 Mus (partitura). La Redenzione Componimento Drammatico Per Musica.
L’Anno 1755. La Poesia è di Ab:te Pietro Metastasio Poeta di S: M: C: e Catt:a. La Musica è di
Cristoffero Wagenseil Compositore di Camera di S: M: C: e Catt:a.
Dle dopisu Marko Motnika z 24. 6. 2015.
Např. u Gioase v závěrečném sboru první části jsou ve vídeňské partituře pěvecké hlasy notovány
na pěti řádcích nadepsaných: „2:i Soprani Soli, Soprano R[ipien]o, Alto, Tenore, Basso“, zatímco
v Kroměříži na šesti řádcích s nadpisem: „Due Sop[rani] Primi, Due Sop[rani] Secondi, Coro“
[čtyřhlasý]. U La Redenzione je v kroměřížské partituře v úvodní Sinfonii navíc předpis „Spiritoso“
a údaj „Contrabassi“ u řádku pro basso continuo. Dále u prvního sboru jsou sólisté notováni zvlášť,
zatímco ve Vídni jsou společně se sborem, atd.
A-KR/L 91 (partitura), G 14/42 (hlasy).
CZ-KRa/A 2334 (I-C-9). Hlasy, bez obálky.
hudební materiály.268 Kroměřížský pramen obsahuje jednotlivé party opsané třemi písaři,
jejichž duktus je odlišný od vídeňských opisovačů. Čtyři použité papíry jsou opatřeny
vodoznaky: 1. „korunované W“, 2. „tři půlměsíce“, 3. „kartuše s třemi hvězdami“ a korunované iniciály GF, 4. „tři půlměsíce s nápisem REAL“ a neidentifikovatelnými iniciálami.
Posledním oratoriem je Il Davide della valle di Terebintho Karla Ditterse von Dittersdorf. Oratorium na libreto Ignazia Pinta vzniklo roku 1771, bylo provedeno na zámku vratislavského biskupa Philippa Gottharda Schaffgotsche na Jánském Vrchu u Javorníka.269
Jediná známá partitura je uložena v Královské knihovně v Kodani (pod názvem Davide
e Gionata).270 V Kroměříži sestává materiál ze dvou složek čistě opsaných partů.271 Papír
nese vodoznak „kartuše s rovnoramenným křížem“ a iniciály LEW. Vzhledem k charakteru hudebniny je možno se domnívat, že se jedná o provozní materiál z premiéry
oratoria na Jánském vrchu nebo jeho přímou kopii. Podle Oldřicha Pulkerta se má jednat
o Dittersdorfův autograf, s tímto tvrzením se však nelze ztotožnit.272 Do Kroměříže se
dostala hudebnina zřejmě díky samotnému autorovi, který toto město navštívil v září
1774.273 Oratorium bylo později v Kroměříži také provedeno, a to počátkem 80. let místními piaristy.274
Složka partů obsahuje jednu zajímavou součást, která se může stát významným pramenem k biografii rakouských hudebníků působících ve Slezsku a na Moravě v druhé
polovině 18. století. Je to tištěné libreto německého oratoria Der vor seinen meineydigen
Sohn Absalom zu sterben verlangende David, provedeného v Opavě v minoritském chrámu
V úvahu připadají tito skladatelé: Lorenzo Bracci (1735); Antonio Galeazzi (1735), Innocenzo Gigli
(1737); Domenico Valentini (1741); Niccolo Conti (1748); Carlo Ambrogio Meli (1748); Francesco
Dolé (1752); Girolamo Abos (1754); Giuseppe Zonca (1754); Domenico Vannucci (1757, jako
L’uccisione d’Abele); Giovanni Costanzi (1758); Antonio Gaetano Pampani (1758); Agnelo Seaglies
(1759); Pietro Crispi (1763); Giovanni Vincenzio Meucci (1766); Giuseppe Calegari (1769); Jan
Antonín Koželuh (1776). K dataci vzniku ante quem viz níže.
K osobnosti libretisty a italského sekretáře biskupa Schaffgotsche Ignatia Pinta nejnověji Franz
Heiduk, „Salvatore Ignatius Pintus. Vita minutatim,“ Jesenicko 9 (2008): 5–9.
Davide e Gionata. Oratorio del Sigr. de Dittersdorf. DK-Kk/mu 6402.1531, RISM ID no. 150204185.
CZ-KRa/ A 2335 (I-C-10), party. Il Davide nella valle di Terebinto. Parte I.a. Oratorio Sacro per
Musica. Interlocutori Davide. Canto I:mo in veste da Pastore, è con Fionda. Saule. Tenore. Rè
d’Israele. Gionata. Canto II:o Figlio di Saule. Abner. Basso. Prefetto della Milizia. Eliabbo. Alto.
Fratello di Davide. Con Violini due. Oboe due. Flauto solo. Corni due. Trombe due. Timpani. Viole
due. e Fondamento. Di Carlo de Dittersdorf.
Oldřich Pulkert, „Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf Autographen,“ in Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf. Z życia
i twórczości muzycznej, ed. Piotr Tarlinski a Hubert Unverricht (Opole 2000), 91–107.
Sehnal, „Hudební kapela Colloreda-Waldsee,“ 291–349.
Provedeno 9. 4. 1784, údajně v německém jazyce. Již o rok dříve bylo ale piaristy provedeno nejmenované italské oratorium od Dittersdorfa (18. 4. 1783). OA Kroměříž, Fond B–e, 188/7. Anmerkungen aus den Erlebnissen des Liechtensteinschen Seminars. Srovnej Sehnal, „Hudební kapela Colloreda-Waldsee.“
sv. Ducha na Velký pátek roku 1768.275 Jako skladatel je uveden Anton Albrechtsberger,
„der Zeit Capell-Meister in Grätz“. Toto libreto se již stalo předmětem muzikologického
zájmu, avšak bylo chybně prezentováno: v soupisu Dittersdorfových skladeb v novém
vydání MGG je omylem vztaženo k Dittersdorfovu Davidovi.276 Autor hesla Oldřich Pulkert (či jeho zdroj) si patrně nevšiml toho, že přestože tisk vypadá na první pohled jako
německá verze latinského Pintova libreta, odkazuje k provedení zcela jiného díla odlišného
skladatele. Jediná správná datace vzniku Dittersdorfova oratoria je 1771, jak ukazuje tisk
libreta z premiéry, uložený např. v Oddělení dějin hudby MZM.277
Nově identifikované německé oratorní libreto je přímým dokladem toho, že rakouský
skladatel Anton Albrechtsberger (* Klosterneuburg 1729), bratr známějšího Johanna
Georga, působil ještě v dubnu 1768 v Hradci nad Moravicí jako kapelník barona Karla
Wolfganga von Neffzern. Tamní dvorní kapela byla na značné úrovni, byla schopna provádět i opery.278 Neffzernové vlastnili Hradec do roku 1778, poté jej prodali Janu Karlu
Lichnovskému, známému pro svůj vztah k Beethovenovi (skladatel tento zámek také
několikrát navštívil). Anton Albrechtsberger ovšem z Neffzernových služeb odešel ještě
v průběhu prvního půlroku 1768, neboť na počátku července je již jmenován „der Zeit
Bischöffliche Capell-Meister in Wiennerisch-Neustadt” (na titulním listě libreta oratoria
provedeného u minoritů v Brně k oslavám svatořečení Josefa Kopertinského).279 Titul
biskupského kapelníka byl ale zřejmě jen formální, neboť Albrechtsberger v Brně pobýval
ještě roku 1772, jak uvádí ve své žádosti o místo choralisty katedrály sv. Václava v Olomouci.280 Vztahy tohoto skladatele k Moravě a Slezsku tedy byly zřejmě dosti úzké a jistě
by zasluhovaly další pozornost.
Poslední hudebnina doplňující naše znalosti o odrazu vídeňské hudební kultury
v Kroměříži již nepatří do oboru oratoria, je to kantáta pro soprán a smyčce s názvem
Il Nerone.281 Jako autor je uveden „Pergolese“, autorství však není zcela jasné, neboť
RISM eviduje další opis v Santini Bibliothek v Münsteru pod jménem „Cavaliere Ranieri
CZ-KRa/ A 2335. Der Vor seinen meineydigen Sohn Absalom zu sterben verlangende David, Ein
Vorbild Unsers Vor das menschliche Geschlecht sterbenden Seeligmachers Jesu Christi Dem Andächtigen Christen zu Behertzigung der Geheimnussen, Dessen bitteren Leydens in einem Sing-Spiel
vorgestellet Bey denen W. W. E. E. P. P. Minoriten zum Heil. Geist in Troppau am Charfreytag den
1. sten April 1768. Verfaßter, In die Music versetzt, von Herrn Antonio Albrechtsberger, der Zeit
Capell-Meister in Grätz. Und In demüthigster Sumbission dediciret.
Oldřich Pulkert, „Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf,“ in MGG, Zweite Auflage, Personenteil, Bd. 5, sl. 1115.
CZ-Bm/B 361.
Např. Hasseho intermezzo tragico Piramo e Tisbe, dle libreta vytištěného 1771 v Opavě. Jan Racek,
Beethoven a české země (Praha: SPN 1964), 67.
Sing-Spiel über das Leben des gegen Gott Lieb-vollen heiligen Joseph von Copertin, provedení v Brně
3. 7. 1768, tisk Opava 1768, CZ-Bk/1749.
Jiří Sehnal, Hudba v olomoucké katedrále v 17. a 18. století (Brno: Moravské zemské muzeum, 1988),
CZ-KRa/A 2328, partitura. Il Nerone. Cantata a Voci Sola Con Strumenti [jná ruka:] Pergolese.
Napolitano“ (v tomto pramenu je navíc obsažena i krátká předehra).282 Písař je opět evidentně vídeňský, papír nese vodoznak „kartuše s třemi hvězdami“ a iniciály AHF. Přímá
návaznost na vídeňský hudební život je podpořena přípiskem „al Barone du Beine“ na titulním listě partitury. Joseph Philipp du Beine Malchamps (1717–1803) byl významným
vídeňským sběratelem a hudebním mecenášem, pozůstatky jeho sbírky jsou dnes roztroušeny po celé Evropě (zejména ve Vídni a Berlíně). Jméno Giovanniho Battisty Pergolesiho
(1710–1736) je očividně napsáno stejnou rukou jako vlastnický přípisek.
K zodpovězení otázky, jak se pojednávané hudebniny dostaly do Kroměříže, se jako
účelné ukazuje sledování historických inventářů této sbírky. Pro naše zkoumání jsou relevantní pozůstalostní inventáře biskupů Leopolda z Egkhu a Hungersbachu (1761),283
Maxmiliána Hamiltona (1776)284 a arcibiskupa Antona Theodora Colloreda-Waldsee
(1811).285 K nim je možno přiřadit inventář olomouckého kanovníka a probošta v Brně
Jana Matyáše z Thurnu a Valsassiny (1747).286
Valsassinův inventář eviduje celou řadu oper a oratorií, mj. také La Morte d’Abele
bez uvedení autora. Záznam ale není možno vztáhnout ke kroměřížskému anonymnímu
oratoriu, neboť údaj „1 fascikl o 65 listech“ neodpovídá charakteru materiálu (19 hlasů
o 267 listech). Pokud spolu tyto informace vůbec souvisejí, muselo se v případě záznamu ve Valsassinově inventáři jednat o partituru, která je dnes ztracena, zatímco party se
neznámou cestou dostaly do Kroměříže.287 Chronologicky další inventář biskupa Egkha
zaznamenává v žánru oratorií pouze tři kusy: Natal di Giove blíže neznámého Bucholtze
(ve skutečnosti je to serenata na text Pietra Metastasia), oratorium Antonia Caldary
a jedno nejmenované oratorium získané od hraběte Františka Antonína Rottala, dalšího
významného moravského hudebního mecenáše.288 Hudebniny se dnes v Kroměříži nenacházejí, ačkoliv některé další skladby z Ekghovy doby zde jsou dochovány.
D-MÜs/SANT Hs 3373 (RISM ID no.: 451000081). Určení díla je ovšem chybné, titul uveden
jako „Il Herone“ a jako autor označen Giovanni Simone Ranieri (c. 1590–1649), což je vzhledem
k hudebnímu jazyku díla nesmysl.
Zemský archiv v Opavě, pobočka Olomouc (ZAOO), fond Arcibiskupství Olomouc, karton 1816,
sign. C 46. Srovnej Jiří Sehnal, „Das Musikinventar des Olmützer Bischofs Leopold Egk aus dem
Jahre 1760 als Quelle vorklassischer Instrumentalmusik,“ Acta musicologica 29 (1972): 285–317.
ZAOO, fond Metropolitní kapitula Olomouc, karton 214, sign. F a 9/9, inv. č. 3582. Srovnej Jiří
Sehnal, „Die Musikkapelle des Olmützer Bischofs Maximilian Hamilton (1761–1776),“ Die Musikforschung 24 (1971): 411–417.
Moravský zemský archiv, fond C 9, sign. 13 B, inv. č. 70, 2. část, f. 416–420. Sehnal, „Hudební kapela
ZAOO, fond Metropolitní kapitula Olomouc, karton 870, sign. 9a 91/1, 1746–1748, f. 48–50,
313. Srovnej Jiří Sehnal, „Nové poznatky k dějinám hudby na Moravě v 17. a 18. století,“ Časopis
Moravského musea 60 (1975): 159–180.
Hypotézu o vztahu obou pramenů jsem nastínila ve stati „Barokní hudba v Olomouci,“ in Olomoucké
baroko III. Výtvarná kultura let 1620–1780. Historie a kultura (Olomouc: Muzeum umění, 2011),
„Oratoria. Natal di Giove, Authore Buchholtz. Aliud Authore Caldara. Aliud von Grafen Rothall.“
Pozůstalostní soupis biskupa Hamiltona zaznamenává „[Wagenseilische] Oratoria 5“.289 Není jasné, proč se záznam nachází v oddílu skladeb zděděných po Egkhovi,
protože předešlý inventář – jak jsme viděli – nic podobného neeviduje. Pokud se údaj
vztahuje k Wagenseilovu Gioas a Redenzione, vyvstává další otázka: kam se poděla tři
další „jeho“ oratoria, když Wagenseil kromě dvou jmenovaných napsal jen jediné další
(Il roveto di Mosè, Wien 1756)?290 Daleko pravděpodobnější vysvětlení je to, že pod tímto
záznamem se ve skutečnosti skrývá všech pět do dnešních dnů v Kroměříži uchovaných
oratorií. To, že pisatelé pozůstalostních soupisů olomouckých biskupů nebyli v hudebním
oboru příliš zběhlí, dokládá i následující inventář arcibiskupa Colloreda-Waldsee. Zde je
pod žánr oratoria zařazen pouze Dittersdorfův Il Davide, ostatní čtyři oratoria jsou evidována jako opery.291 Přiřazení všech pěti oratorií Wagenseilovi je tedy snadno vysvětlitelné
omylem katalogizátora. Pokud by bylo možno brát rok 1776 jako datum „ante quem“,
mohlo by to pomoci také při dohledávání autora La Morte d’Abele, neboť okruh možných
skladatelů se výrazně zužuje.
Předkládané informace představují pouze první vhled do výzkumu, jehož výsledkem
by měl být pokud možno co nejúplnější pohled na hudbu na dvoře olomouckých biskupů 18. století v kontextu střední Evropy. Přirozený magnetismus hlavního města Vídně
(minimálně pro druhou polovinu 18. století) je možno vidět nejen ve značném zastoupení
skladeb z vídeňských opisovačských dílen, ale také v návaznosti kroměřížských hudebnin na tradici duchovních koncertů ve vídeňském Burgtheater. Přímým pozůstatkem
vídeňského provedení roku 1757 je určitě partitura a party Holzbauerova La Passione,
kde zaznamenaná jména zpěváků dokonce osvětlují dosud neznámé sólistické obsazení.
K tradici vídeňských „concerti spirituali“ odkazují také obě partitury Wagenseilových
oratorií, premiérovaných zde roku 1755. Charakter materiálu k La Redenzione napovídá
o repríze roku 1759, místo prozatím nebylo určeno. Tato hudebnina ale v některých detailech významně doplňuje partituru uloženou ve Vídni, stejně jako Gioas re di Giuda
(na rozdíl od Vídně dochovaný kompletně).
Party Dittersdorfova Il Davide oproti tomu ukazují hudební kontakty olomouckého
biskupského dvora opačným směrem, tj. k rakouskému Slezsku. Vzhledem ke skladatelově
doložené návštěvě Kroměříže a následnému provedení jmenovaného oratoria zdejšími
piaristy nelze očividně o jakémkoli vztahu k Vídni uvažovat. Otázka doposud anonymního
La Morte d’Abele zůstává otevřená.
Ve skutečnosti zní záznam „dtto Oratoria 5“, přičemž „dtto“ se vztahuje k údaji „Wagenseilische“
uvedeném na předchozím řádku. Záznam se nachází v oddílu „Symphonien nach Ihro Hochfürstl.
Gnaden Bischofen von Eckh“.
Nedávno objevené Wagenseilovy německé duchovní skladby (oratorium Mater dolorum, das ist: die
Schmerzhafte Mutter a kantátové cykly k poctě sv. Ignáce a sv. Františka Xaverského) nelze zřejmě
v této souvislosti uvažovat. Srovnej Ladislav Kačic, „Schuldramen und Oratorien bei den Preßburger
Jesuiten im 18. Jahrhundert,“ Musigologica Brunensia 49, No. 1 (2014), 275–290.
„183. Oratorien. Authore de Dittersdorf, 2 Theile il Davide. 184. Opern. Authore Holzbauer la
Passione di Jesu Christo. […] 186. Christophore Wagenseil la Redenzione. 187. Detto Detto Detto
betittult: Gioas Re di Giuda. 188. Von unbekannten Author Abel et Caino“.
Při zkoumání vztahu Kroměříže (resp. Olomouce a dalších biskupských sídel) k okolním hudebním centrům je nutno vycházet z faktu, že zdejší biskupové jako nejvyšší představitelé duchovní aristokracie již ze své podstaty překračovali jak lokální, tak národnostní
hranice. Mnohovrstevnatost „profesních“ i osobních vazeb se v hudební rovině mohla
projevovat v rozličných podobách, z nichž způsoby získávání hudebnin bohužel patří
k těm nejméně postižitelným. Na druhou stranu, právě dochované hudební prameny patří
k nejcennějším dokladům širokých kulturních kontaktů Moravy v 18. století.
Reflection on Musical Contacts of Olomouc Bishops from the 18th Century
in the Kroměříž Music Collection
The study deals with a number of musical manuscripts in the collection of the Archbishop’s
château in Kroměříž, documenting the cross-border musical contacts of the Olomouc
bishops in the 18th century. At the centre of attention are materials for five oratorios
(scores and parts), which the professional public has not engaged with in detail to date
(Holzbauer: La Passione di Gesù Cristo, Wagenseil: Gioas, Re di Giuda, La Redenzione,
Anonymous: La Morte d’Abele, Dittersdorf: Il Davide). Three of these oratorios are directly
connected with the Lenten musical academies held in the Vienna Burgtheater in the
1750s, in which specifically in the case of Holzbauer’s oratorio these evidently concerned
materials from the production in 1757.
Odraz hudebních kontaktů olomouckých biskupů 18. století
v kroměřížské hudební sbírce
Studie pojednává o několika hudebninách ve sbírce Arcibiskupského zámku Kroměříž
dokumentujících přeshraniční hudební kontakty olomouckých biskupů v 18. století.
V centru pozornosti stojí materiály k pěti oratoriím, jimiž se odborná veřejnost dosud
blíže nezabývala (Holzbauer: La Passione di Gesù Cristo, Wagenseil: Gioas, Re di Giuda,
La Redenzione, Anonym: La Morte d’Abele, Dittersdorf: Il Davide). Tři z těchto oratorií
mají přímou souvislost s postními hudebními akademiemi pořádanými ve vídeňském
Burgtheater v padesátých letech 18. století, přičemž v případě Holzbauerova oratoria jde
zřejmě o materiály z provedení v roce 1757.
Oratorio; musical source; inventory; Kroměříž; Ignaz Holzbauer; Georg Christoph Wagenseil; Karl Dittersdorf; Anton Albrechtsberger.
Klíčová slova
Oratorium; hudební pramen; inventář; Kroměříž; Ignaz Holzbauer; Georg Christoph
Wagenseil; Karl Dittersdorf; Anton Albrechtsberger.
Musicologica Olomucensia 22 – December 2015
Hans Mersmann and the Analysis of the New Music292
Martina Stratilková
The scope of Hans Mersmann’s (1891–1971) research was very wide. It ranged from the
study of folk song to treatises on classical music, and theoretical texts and considerations
about New Music occupied a prominent position in it. Mersmann became an important
figure of Melos, a journal focusing on New Music, which he headed in the years 1924–1933
as the editor-in-chief.293 And at the start of the 1920s his attitude towards the theoretical
apprehension of musical structure and musical style was formed. In his first study on the
phenomenology of music he outlined his view of the structural apprehension of a musical
work, which he later presented at the Second Congress for Aesthetics and General Art
Theory (held in 1924) and formulated comprehensively in Angewandte Musikästhetik in
1926. Mersmann found the main organisational principle of the musical process in force
and its dynamic transformations occurring within a certain context. Music encompasses
two dimensions forming a background for there being happening something. The first
dimension, which can also be treated as horizontal and as temporality, has its source in
nature and comprises tone, the other, which is vertical and leads to spatiality, originates
in the will of the spiritual being – the composer. The horizontal dimension is expressed
by force which performs the motion forwards (centrifugal force), the vertical dimension
bestows restrictions upon the pushing flow (centripetal force) and shapes the otherwise
boundless stream. Although Mersmann himself conceded that defining the dimension
of space in music is more difficult than it is in the case of force, he at least expressed the
higher role of negative delineation, which means that the dimension of space is what
This article was published under the 2013–2016 project of the Research Support Foundation of
the Faculty of Arts, Palacký University Olomouc, entitled Phenomenological Analysis of Music
(registration number FPVC2013/14).
A number of writings appeared on the topic of New Music in the 1920s, guided mainly by Paul
Bekker’s book from 1919 (Neue Musik).
denies musical force.294 In Mersmann’s concept force can be understood as an energy
which, in addition to being able to designate weight (as, for example, the force of the
tonic), drives the musical flow towards its continuation in the direction of the future and
towards greater power. If a place appears in the musical structure which divides the musical flow, reduces its intensity, and makes it regular (for example, cadence, metre, repeated
tones, or tones from one harmonic function), the significance of the spatial dimension
grows. The individual musical elements also differ in the extent to which they express the
force dimension or in which they tend to include the category of space. Melody expresses
force to the greatest extent, harmony does so to a lesser extent, and rhythm does it to the
smallest extent. This dualism of forces creates tension, which yields in a form-building
process.295 As a result Mersmann saw the musical work as the “sum of the functions
and forces included in it.”296 Mersmann also specified the nature of the force process as
“the opposition of the inner tension of expansive and centripetal forces”,297 or “the inner tension of a song arising from falling and increasing forces.”298 This is because force
processes constitute the essence of music, and so phenomenological aesthetics “[…]
views the content of music in the sum of its tectonic elements.”299 Mersmann offered
separate explications of the individual elements of musical structure, among which he
distinguished the primary (melody, harmony, rhythm) and secondary (dynamic, agogics,
timbre) ones. His main aim became the identification of the tension and force potential
that tones bear. For example, in the context of melody he observed the force potential of
individual aspects of the actual pitch intervals – their size and direction and the extent
of their fusion (reminiscent of Stumpf’s concept of consonance) – and also the force
potential of higher melodic formations, which he referred to as units or wholes (“melodic
units” and “melodic wholes”).300 For example, an ascending melodic line bears a high
level of tension, in the same way as large intervals with a low quality of fusion. And so
the force moments, which Mersmann called tectonics or tectonic elements, grow to higher
levels of division of the course of the musical work: “The sum of forces […] is contained in
the development of elements in the direction towards form and content.”301 He believed
These concepts are not without difficulties, mainly that of space and its role for the definition of
form, as is outlined in Wolfgang Krebs, Innere Dynamik und Energetik in Ernst Kurths Musiktheorie
(Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 1998), 267–269.
Mersmann admitted that to define the vertical dimension is quite harder because of its essentially
negative nature – it binds the forces together while turning them backwards.
Hans Mersmann, “Zur Phänomenologie der Musik,” Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft 19, Nos. 1–4 (1925): 376.
Hans Mersmann, Angewandte Musikästhetik (Berlin: Hesse, 1926), 715–716.
Ibid., 716.
Mersmann, “Zur Phänomenologie der Musik,” 378.
Hans Mersmann, “Versuch einer Phänomenologie der Musik,” Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft 5,
Nos. 4–5 (1922–1923): 231.
Ibid., 228.
that the phenomenology of music represented an “aesthetics of form”.302 The relationship
of the force and apprehension of form here is highly internal: “The living force is in itself
also a living form.”303
Mersmann also attempted to take into account the aspect of unity and integrity because
we should conceive of music, which is the object of our perception, as a whole. The notion
of the musical work as organism, encompassing the whole of the work, illustrates this
clearly. And accordingly “the goal of analysis is synthesis.”304 And yet Mersmann’s analytical approach is derived from “the analytical grasping of individual unique phenomena
and synthetic insight into what is typical.”305 This means that analysis is implemented in
two steps, of which the first, “preparatory enquiry”,306 should “loosen the forces operating
together in the artwork from their penetration and to understand with the highest possible
clarity the structure of each of these forces individually.”307 So in addition to the primary
and secondary elements, it is tectonic relations, form content, the form process, the content process (outside the tectonic framework), style, and expression which complement
the range of individual aspects of the force process in a musical work. And the goal of the
analysis then consists of revealing the “total sum of tensions” (“Gesamtspannung”).308
Mersmann then seeks out resources for the expression or formulation of the analysis,
which he sees in graphic depiction. This naturally relates to music itself as its translation.
But of course the advantage of graphic representation is its synthetic character, which
corresponds to the aim of musical analysis. But this method of analysis is also hardly
without any doubts. Whereas music is a complex of sound qualities and their relations,
the resulting categories reduce this richness extensively.309 But one must ask whether in
the results of his work Mersmann did not indeed depart from his dynamic standpoint
when he created diagrams of standardised courses of a musical work – when, for example,
he found a sequence of three tones only quantitatively different from a three-movement
sonata, because the reference to direct experience drops rapidly with this.310
Ibid., 244.
Mersmann, Angewandte Musikästhetik, 99.
Ibid., 713.
Ibid., 712.
Ibid., 713.
Ibid., 713.
Ibid., 714.
And at least for tonal music this focus on the direction of musical movement provides commonalities with Schenkerian analysis. Hermann Beck, aware of some proximity between Mersmann and
Schenker, also doubted about the meaningfulness of Mersmann’s analytical approach. Cf. Hermann
Beck, Methoden der Werkanalyse in Musikgeschichte und Gegenwart (Wilhelmhaven: Heinrichshofen,
1976), 208.
Daniel M. Grimley, who took inspiration in Mersmann’s theory for his analysis of Carl Nielsen’s
Symfony no. 3 (Sinfonia espansiva), also raised the objection toward a schematic character of Mersmann’s charts and subjective analytical clues. Daniel M. Grimley, Carl Nielsen and the Idea of
According to Mersmann, analysis constitutes an important part of the comprehensive evaluation of a musical work. This is indicated by the name of his work Angewandte
Musikästhetik, which represents the aesthetic principles of music in their use for a work
of music, but so does the study of the musical aesthetics of value, in which Mersmann
postulates structural complexity as a condition for aesthetic value: “but poorly valued
or valueless music conveys only slight incentives which are pronounced in the simplest
forms,”311 and “we usually analyse valuable music.”312 And so analysis starts to work closely
with evaluation because it should “establish subsequently the felt value.”313 Of course,
Mersmann’s uncompromising standpoint also contains functional differentiation because
Mersmann illustrates it using examples of so-called Gebrauchsmusik. So one must ask
which criteria should be applied to this music.314 We have no reason to consider all music
with a simple structure as being worthless – only that to which the criteria of artistic
creativity apply (for example, not to folk music). Then, of course, according to Mersmann,
we apply the aspect of complexity – polyphony always has greater value than homophony;
in terms of value forms of open development (“Entwicklungsformen,” for example, the
rondo) eclipse forms of closed development (“Ablaufsformen”), based on simple repetition – in the same way as the development of motivic-thematic material surpasses a theme
that is just repeated. And because “in music analysis the notion of form appears to be the
basis,”315 in grasping a concrete musical work it is necessary to understand the uniqueness
of its form. So in knowing the unique solution of form treatment,316 in which Mersmann
appreciated August Halm and Ernst Kurth as its forerunners, we come close to its meaning and value. While determining the individual form of a musical work can be quite
difficult in case of New Music, it seems to be concluded, that so will be its evaluation.
But we should not give up aiming at it.317 Here Mersmann denounces sharp criticisms of
Modernism (New York: Boydell, 2010), 119. This somewhat simplicist graphic mode of demonstrations can have its roots in teaching experience with amateurs, which Mersmann had, as he himself
is saying with regard to the graphs. On the other hand it is just this circumstance what could make
Mersmann sensitive to grasp music as immediately understood in perception. Similar context of
teaching experience could also become decisive for other energeticists, as Rothfarb has noted. Cf.
Lee Rothfarb, “Energetics,” in The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory, ed. Thomas Street
Christensen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 927–955, here 947.
Hans Mersmann, “Versuch einer musikalischen Wertästhetik,” Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft 17,
No. 1 (1935): 34.
Ibid., 34.
Ibid., 35.
Carl Dahlhaus, “Trivial Music (Trivialmusik),” in Bad Music: The Music We Love to Hate, ed. Christopher J. Washburne and Maiken Derno (New York – London: Routledge, 2004), 270–271.
Hans Mersmann, “Zur Geschichte des Formbegriffs,” Jahrbuch der Musikbibliothek Peters für 1930
37 (1931): 32–47, here 46.
This objective also holds true for classical music of W. A. Mozart, for example. Cf. ibid.
On the basis of the “entirely new developmental highness” in comparison with Bartok’s earlier compositions, Mersmann appreciated Bartok’s third and fourth string quartets, the organic constructivist
New Music, lead by prejudices. Traditional classic music enjoys positive attitudes and
quite often this comes from emotional sources and intellectual laziness. It provides us
with safety according to its values (the span of positive or negative evaluations is not as
wide as with New Music), we are used to it, though argument supporting it may be rather
emotional and subjective.318 The critics should open their minds for fresh musical experiences and underlay their judgements with analytical insights.
If we return again to the issue of European western music, we see that in the course
of history it primarily displays a growth in the internal complexity of musical structure.
But further development went in the direction of the individual components of musical
structure becoming independent, towards unique and unrepeatable solutions of musical form. In an article published in 1962 Mersmann expressed the opinion that via the
concept outlined above of form as the result of the opposing internal forces of a musical
work it was possible to analyse the music of the period 1600–1900. It is not possible to
include the New Music, which does not merely represent a new style, but which proclaims
a new epoch. In the article he then writes about the individual components of musical
structure and specifies its transformations in three phases of development in the twentieth
century. So is it possible to analytically apprehend the music of the twentieth century only
via the characteristics of its individual components? It would appear so. But Mersmann’s
earlier assertion that the aim of analysis is a synthetic apprehension of musical structure
following the understanding of individual components can hardly apply. Moreover, in
a book published in 1938, he expanded his assertion about the essence of the musical
process in conflict forces to cover music in general: “But even when the grammar of
musical language changes, in the end its content remains the same: whether the voices
are connected by harmonic function or pure sound, whether the rhythmic tensions are
absolute or subject to metre, whether the course of the form is unique or corresponds to
fixed laws, music always remains a transforming succession of an increasing and falling,
pushing and loosening, compressing and releasing process, an incomparably fragile web
of mutually fluctuating forces.”319
After the publication of Bekker’s Neue Musik (1919) and the launch of the magazine
Melos, focusing on contemporary musical work, Mersmann quite naturally tackled questions of a specific nature concerning the New Music, as well as its reception and commensurate means of investigation. He was aware that only a small group were seeking
out, creating, and supporting the New Music, because listening to it was demanding and
it disappointed the regular expectations of the audience. But he emphasised that it was
practices with regard to thematic process and form. Cf. Hans Mersmann, “Bela Bartoks Drittes und
Viertes Streichquartets,” Melos 8, No. 11 (1929): 483–485.
It may be added that Mersmann himself could strengthen this tendency by devoting his writings
to Mozart or Beethoven, which can be viewed not only as tenets of traditional musicology (dealing with the concept of master work), but also as consequences of the German cultural region, its
magnitude and influence. Cf. Lubomír Spurný, “Hábova ‘Musik der Freiheit’ pohledem německy
píšící muzikologie,” Musicologica Brunensia 44, Nos. 1–2 (2009): 171–182, here 173.
Hans Mersmann, Musikhören (Potsdam: Sanssouci, 1938), 281.
a transitional period because he considered the New Music to be a historical necessity, also
fulfilled in a comparable manner in other fields of art.320 In his writings he also presented the
aspect of style in the context of the periodisation of music history and he also showed how
society’s approach to music had developed historically: Beethoven brought the personal
standpoint of the composer to musical creation, and the Romantics made it subjective.
From Beethoven on there is a constant reduction in the presence of the common (and also
social) world, recast into music, and in the New Music this common world reached the
most imperceptible dimensions. But music arrived at this state in a logical way (“it also
lies in its essence”).321 In the ’twenties Mersmann published his work on musical phenomenology and also two books and other short studies on the New Music in which he
primarily analysed the musical structural properties of this music.
One key moment in the development of Western European music around 1900 was
Impressionism, and in his later work Mersmann stated quite uncompromisingly: “Impressionism is the end.”322 But naturally primarily in relation to the German area, he also
described the period 1890–1914 as “dissolution of romantic style.”323 And he characterised
both styles as “separation of forces,”324 which is also derived from the core properties of
the New Music, i.e. from the switch from tonality. But of course Impressionism does not
bring with it full atonality, only a release of tonal relations. More than anything else it
represents a transitional period, and, according to Mersmann, the force relations in this
type of music did not stand much of a chance of having a long lifespan – their expressive
possibilities were soon exhausted.
As has already been stated, the first phase of musical analysis consists of the unbinding of the individual aspects (elements) from musical structure and the evaluation of
their force characteristics and potential. Over the course of the nineteenth century they
acquired ever more individual forms. “Elements were opened towards the ultimate possibilities of delicate expression.”325 But of course the language of the New Music brought
“ever greater refinement.” In any case the older music was based on the mutual relations
between the various aspects of musical structure. Then in the course of musical development these relations underwent a certain evolution in which they became constitutive of
music and stabilised in it: “In older music the elements stand in the closest relationships.
They are not only relationships of gravity, but primordial bindings.” “The elements build
an indissoluble unity […]”326 In accordance with the contemporary significance of the
gestalt approach, the most significant relationship is directed towards the whole. “Every
one of the elements is only a function of a common force standing above it and condi320
Hans Mersmann, “Die geistigen Werte der neuen Musik,” Melos 10, Nos. 8–9 (1931): 266–267.
Hans Mersmann, “Musikalische Kulturfragen,” Melos 1, No. 2 (1920): 42–43.
Mersmann, Musikhören, 281.
Hans Mersmann, Musik der Gegenwart (Berlin: Julius Bard, 1924), 8.
Mersmann, Musik der Gegenwart, 8.
Ibid., 8.
Hans Mersmann, Die Tonsprache der neuen Musik (Mainz: Melosverlag, 1928), 11.
tioning it.”327 But naturally, in the New Music “the relationships between the elements
are gradually dissolved and finally deliberately split.” “Every one of the elements stands
under its own inherent law.”328 Musical elements thus escape the original relations, and
so in Mersmann’s typology they are attributed the designation absolute. And all this can
be expressed as a consequence of the switch from tonality: “Tonal music is essentially
relative […]”; “atonal music is essentially absolute.”329
At this point the following critical question must be asked: how can one meaningfully
analyse music if the value of a musical work consists of the unique arrangement of various
musical qualities into a meaningful whole? Whereas the artistic value resides in the totality
of the individual forces, in the case of Gebrauchsmusik, music of a lesser artistic value,
very often one parameter is predominant – the melody.330 For example, Mersmann states
that a reduced complexity of music corresponds to its lesser artistic ambitions. How else
is it possible to find a whole where the individual elements are absolute, i.e. they are freed
of mutual relations? That which is not in music cannot be thought up for it. “And yet it is
appropriate to talk primarily of the elements alone as the foundation of the New Music.”331
So what changes fundamentally in the case of the New Music is the inner correlation
of components which forms the musical style, while form is not affected so strongly by
the changes in the musical language. In any case, Mersmann did not fail to show that
as a reaction to Schoenberg – the most striking exponent of the New Music – there was
a wave of neoclassicism, to some extent a return to the earlier musical styles. Such a development actually corresponded to Mersmann’s expectations – Mersmann emphasised
that in the case of Webern, for example, the absolute nature of the melody went so far
that it was no longer possible to escalate it.
From the aspect of analysis the fact that the integrity of the musical structure, which
could no longer be categorised according to common traits, was broken, was fundamental:
“The music of the earlier centuries could be understood from the standpoint of empirical
typology. Discoveries which were made concerning the works of Haydn, and established
typical significances, were also valid for Mozart, Beethoven, or Schubert. […] The possibility of typological order in the case of contemporary music is either restricted or
entirely missing. Facts which are gathered from an analysis of Schoenberg are scarcely
applicable to Bartok, Stravinsky, or Hindemith.”332 And this state corresponds primarily
to the fact that musical elements acquire an absolute character. For example, the relative
Ibid., 11.
Ibid., 12.
Mersmann, Musik der Gegenwart, 70.
Hans Mersmann, “Versuch einer musikalischen Wertästhetik,” Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft 17,
No. 1 (1935): 39.
Mersmann, Die Tonsprache der neuen Musik, 13.
Hans Mersmann, “A Method for Analysis of New Music,” International Music Educator M, No. 6
(1962): 177.
melody of the previous period was replaced by absolute melody, very similarly to how it
had worked in older music, where the tonal space performed the function of tonality.333
One can deduce the coherence of Mersmann’s argument about phenomenological
analysis and about New Music from Mersmann’s own analytical commentaries. At their
centre there is always the analysis of individual elements from the aspect of their force
course. The analyses in Angewandte Ästhetik (employing examples from folk music, which
Mersmann knew thanks to the focus of his dissertation, and otherwise recruiting mainly
from the classical and romantic period) and analysis of Haydn’s Sonata in Eb Major
(Hob. XVI: 49), presented in an earlier study introducing musical phenomenology (1923),
are particularly instructive. The strong focus on thematic material, its force characteristics,
and the further course arising from it in its force profile are evident from the analyses.334
Although Mersmann mentions the start of the gradual dissolution of the relations
between the elements as far back as Beethoven and primarily amongst the Romantics, he
asserts that there was a clear turning point in musical resources in the works of Richard
Strauss, Gustav Mahler, and Max Reger. The melodic lines of their compositions lack
a pregnancy of contour; he observes “how swinging their curves are, how weak the binding, continuously rising forces are in them.”335 These composers still worked with arched
melodic lines, but in them it was evident that: “Melody displays a strong force; it flows
without weight, without antagonism and without constructive binds.”336 The further development of this type of melody expressing the untamed Dionysian force337 culminated
in the work of Schoenberg and was taken to its very limit by Webern, in whose works we
cannot hear a blooming of the melodic line. Absolute melody and the way it influenced
the logic of the musical process are also reflected in the area of harmony. Wide intervals
in particular must now be understood otherwise, because tonal thought linked them
with the functions of harmonies. Mersmann characterised developments in the field of
harmony as primarily having two tendencies. One was the increasing value of the purely
sound aspect of harmonies (on which impressionism was based in an exemplary manner)
and the other was the horizontalisation of harmony – “escalation of the horizontal.”338 So
even when chords follow one another in the musical flow, their force potential focuses
on melody – the chord links with the following one via the individual tones and not as an
Mersmann, Die Tonsprache der neuen Musik, 14.
Mersmann developed the notion of a theme and a complex of its relations (Substanzgemeinschaft)
which determine the evolution of form. Among later analysts who were equally seeking for thematic
cohesion and development in music, we can remind us of Rudolf Réti with his well-known The
Thematic Process in Music (1951). Cf. Felix Wörner, “‘Thematicism’: Geschichte eines analytischen
Konzepts in der nordamerikanischen Musiktheorie,” Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie 6,
No. 1 (2009): 77–89, here 77–78.
Mersmann, Musik der Gegenwart, 9.
Ibid., 17.
Mersmann, Angewandte Musikästhetik, 158.
Mersmann, Musik der Gegenwart, 21.
integral unit. And Mersmann associated the increasing role of timbre, which now must
be included amongst the primary elements, with the increasing decline of working out
thematic material.339 Form-building elements are also in decline in rhythm, which Mersmann also refers to as absolute, which primarily means not bound by metric structure.
The most important sources for learning about Mersmann’s analytical approach applied to the New Music are his analysis of Artur Schnabel’s Sonata for Solo Violin written in 1919340 and also the analytical notes accompanying his explanation in studies
about New Music in general; the characteristics in Die Tonsprache der Neuen Musik are
of particular value. Primarily on the basis of the analysis of Schnabel’s Sonata, it can
be seen that the interest of Mersmann’s deductions lies more than anything else in the
analyses of the tectonic course of the shorter sections (in particular themes) rather than
in the demonstration of the force process at the level of form. But of course this may
be associated with the general characteristic of the New Music, which does not use the
traditionally established methods of thematic work and construction of form based on
them. For example, the expression of the difference between the theme of the first and
fifth movements of Schnabel’s sonata, based on the quality of intervals and the direction
of melody, seems convincing. It also goes along with higher susceptibility of the melodic
element to the analysis of force dynamics. Moreover, music departing from the thematic
basis truly appears to abandon its reliable resource of form-building impulses too, which
is not actually the case with Schnabel. Despite this, here Mersmann formulates analytical
observations on the basis of his energeticist phenomenological concept, presented as
a system three years later, and may specify the formal arrangement of the individual
movements of the sonata – but not on the basis of the relationship between the individual
parts of the development of the thematic material, but by observing the “developmental
rhythm of the whole movement.”341 In his treatment of the cyclic form in Schnabel’s
Sonata Mersmann identified a pattern reminiscent of the bridge form – the association of
the first and fifth movements (applying the form principle of Entwicklung) and the second
and fourth movements (Ablaufsform). At the same time he also designated the theme
of the first movement as open – expressing the further development – and of the fifth
movement (with the same form type) as closed. So the tectonics of the last movement do
not follow the initial quality of the themes from the aspect of force determination. In the
analysis Mersmann also asserted a range of elements by which he later characterised New
Music (rhythm, “dissolution of all tectonic forces”342). Analysis should have not stopped
with describing individual aspects, it should exceed it toward understanding a form and
style. Whereas melody or harmony is to be grasped quite easily in New Music, the same
cannot be said about form, which ceases to be understood in immediate experience and
Ibid., 37.
Hans Mersmann, “Die Sonate für Violine allein von Artur Schnabel,” Melos 1, No. 18 (1920):
Ibid., 412.
Ibid., 414.
must be acquired through synthesis. And next it is important to qualify the traits of the
work according to their originality (individual and typical properties), while within the
individual qualities it is possible to specify those, which are typical for contemporary music. The notion of developmental value (“Entwicklungswert”) then contributes to assess
this holistic view of tectonics.343 The fact itself that Mersmann didn’t gave many analyses
of contemporary compositions speaks for the conclusion that Mersmann considered
analysis of elements the more reliable phase of music analysis of New Music and at the
same time he concentrated on the analysis of style features.
Hans Mersmann wrote about the music of various musical periods, and in connection
with this and his great knowledge of music theory he developed a concept of musical
structure expressed through analytical as well as synthetic terms for the designation of
its individual aspects. The unifying concept of this view is force, which exists in every
structural aspect of its scope of expression. In the case of tonal music based on functions
which attract (or repel) the individual tones, Mersmann’s (and Kurth’s before him) force
concept is presented quite naturally. But in contrast to this, in the case of New Music, for
which the abandoning of tonality is characteristic, there arise doubts as to the analytical
use of Mersmann’s “applied aesthetics”, evident mainly in grasping larger wholes. It is
also necessary to emphasise that although analytical approaches focusing on atonal music appeared later, none of them gained such renown to apply as a generally functional
and sufficient analytical method. From this aspect Mersmann’s analysis is seen as being
by no means an outdated and merely historically significant method. Indeed, it may apply as an alternative to the pitch class set analysis, in contrast to which it remains close
to direct musical experience. But of course Mersmann himself later called the method
into question on the basis of the only slightly differentiated glossary for forms of atonal
music. It is difficult to point out the individual qualities of a musical work using the term
“absolute melody” (harmony, rhythm). Hopes would evidently be high were it possible
in the context of the individual musical elements (and their “absolute” nature) to outline
the force properties of certain types of processes. This possibility is yet to be evaluated.
Hans Mersmann and the Analysis of the New Music
The article deals with the concept of New Music, which in the 1920s involved considerations concerning the fundamentally different character of 20th century music. It focuses on
the definition of New Music from its influential proponent, Hans Mersmann, and primarily looks at the relationship of the concept of New Music to Mersmann’s phenomenology
Hans Mersmann, “Die Untersuchung neuerer musikalischer Kunstwerke,” Melos 1, No. 14 (1920):
310–313, here 311–313.
based on the notion of musical forces. Whereas with his phenomenologically-based aesthetics Mersmann pursued a practically verifiable application – aesthetics applied to
concrete musical works – his definition of musical analysis and theory of musical structure
cast doubt on the possibility of analytical exploitation of this applied aesthetics with
regard to the music of the 20th century. This uncertainty is confronted with Mersmann’s
analytical comments on 20th century music.
Hans Mersmann a analýza Nové hudby
Příspěvek se zabývá konceptem Nové hudby, který ve dvacátých letech dvacátého století
zaštiťoval úvahy o zásadně odlišném charakteru hudby 20. století. Soustřeďuje se na definici Nové hudby u jejího výrazného proponenta, Hanse Mersmanna, přičemž sleduje
především vazbu konceptu Nové hudby na Mersmannovu fenomenologii, založenou na
systému hudebních sil. Zatímco Mersmann sledoval svou fenomenologicky založenou
estetikou prakticky ověřitelné uplatnění – estetiku aplikovanou na konkrétní hudební díla,
jeho definice hudební analýzy i teorie hudební struktury zpochybňují možnost hudebně
analytického využití této aplikované estetiky na hudbu 20. století. Tato pochybnost je
konfrontována s Mersmannovými analýzami hudby 20. století.
Music analysis; force; Hans Mersmann; musical form; New Music; phenomenology of
Klíčová slova
Hudební analýza; síla; Hans Mersmann; hudební forma; Nová hudba; hudební fenomenologie.
Musicologica Olomucensia 22 – December 2015
Varhanní tvorba Josefa Förstera mladšího a Josefa Bohuslava Foerstera
v kontextu přeměny zvukového ideálu varhan v Čechách
v druhé polovině 19. století344
Václav Metoděj Uhlíř
1 Úvod
V historii české hudby představuje varhanní tvorba konce 18. století až poloviny 20. století
méně reflektovanou žánrovou oblast. Tato skutečnost má své příčiny. Pomineme-li linii
varhanních skladatelů, reprezentovaných především aktivními interprety či pedagogy,
jakými byli např. Skuherský, Klička, Tregler a zejména Wiedermann (který jediný dokázal dosáhnout výrazných uměleckých úspěchů a vytvořit varhanní dílo trvalé hodnoty),
nepředstavují varhanní skladby předních českých skladatelů dané doby kvantitativně, ale
nezřídka i kvalitativně ani náznakově pandán k tvorbě autorů v zahraničí (Liszta, Regera
a celé generace francouzských skladatelů v čele s Franckem, Widorem, Viernem a řadou
dalších). Uvedená skutečnost vyplývá z několika faktorů. Zásadní roli sehrálo především
silné ceciliánské hnutí, které koncertní varhanní tvorbě nebylo příliš nakloněno. Dále šlo
o potřebu českých autorů reagovat na jiné žánrové oblasti, jež byly klíčové pro konstituování moderní české národní hudby; v neposlední řadě také o jejich potřebu udržet krok
s evropským děním v bouřlivě se rozvíjející hudbě 20. století.
Tyto tendence potvrzuje i varhanní tvorba Josefa Förstera ml. a Josefa Bohuslava
Foerstera. Díla zmíněných skladatelů na poli varhanní hudby jsou významným dokladem
o vlivu cecilianismu v českých zemích. U Josefa Förstera ml. je umocněný skutečností, že
právě on prosadil a navrhnul stavbu prvních varhan koncipovaných dle zásad cecilianismu
v českých zemích (v pražském chrámu sv. Vojtěcha). Josef Bohuslav Foerster reprezentoval spíše konzervativnější kompoziční proud a reagoval na nové kompoziční směry
poměrně zdrženlivě, avšak snad právě proto mu byly ceciliánské myšlenky blízké a s nimi
Zpracování studie bylo umožněno díky účelové podpoře na specifický vysokoškolský výzkum udělené
roku 2015 Univerzitě Palackého v Olomouci Ministerstvem školství, mládeže a tělovýchovy ČR.
i specifické pojetí žánru varhanní hudby. Je proto otázkou hlubší analytické reflexe, jak
se tyto vlivy promítly do jejich skladeb pro varhany ve smyslu stylovém i kvalitativním.
Naznačená „okrajovost“ varhanního díla u skladatelů jako Smetana, Dvořák, Foerster,
Novák, Martinů i Leoš Janáček (snad s výjimkou Varhanního sóla z Glagolské mše), však
naznamená, že by tato oblast představovala bezvýznamný předmět pro muzikologickou
reflexi. V mnoha ohledech je tomu přesně naopak.
Analýza varhanní tvorby Josefa Förstera ml. a Josefa Bohuslava Foerstera doposud
v české hudební vědě chybí. Je proto žádoucí na jejím detailním rozboru zodpovědět
otázky míry vlivu cecilianismu, stylových specifik, postavení žánru v kontextu ostatní
tvorby obou skladatelů, stejně jako začlenit zkoumané varhanní dílo do vývojové linie
české varhanní tvorby. Jelikož je však kompoziční charakter odkazu Josefa Förstera ml.
a Josefa Bohuslava Foerstera v řadě aspektů odlišný, je zapotřebí ke každému z nich
přistoupit zcela jinak.
2 Rod Försterů
Prvním autorem rodu Försterů, jehož skladby se dochovaly, je otec Josefa Förstera mladšího Josef Förster starší345 (1804–1892), který pocházel ze staré kantorské rodiny. V této
tradici pokračoval v Osenicích u Jičína jako kantor a varhaník. Nejvýznamnější jsou jeho
mše, zejména zádušní (např. Česká mše za zemřelé). Ze záznamů v Osenicích je patrné,
že zde prováděl i náročná díla Mozartova a Beethovenova. Žádná dochovaná varhanní
literatura tohoto autora však dosud není známa.
2.1 Josef Förster mladší
Josef Förster mladší (1833–1907), syn Josefa Förstera st., byl původně připravován
na převzetí rodové tradice a poslán na vzorovou školu do Prahy. Jeho navazující studium
na Pražské varhanické škole, kde absolvoval roku 1852 jako nejlepší v ročníku, ho však
dovedlo na varhanické místo do Vyššího Brodu a později na místo pedagoga varhanické
školy v Praze. V Praze také zastával varhanické místo v několika kostelích. Například
u sv. Mikuláše, u sv. Vojtěcha, nebo v kostele Nejsvětější Trojice. Roku 1887 se stal ředitelem kůru katedrály sv. Víta na Pražském hradě. Později se jeho pedagogická činnost
rozrostla na výuku sborového zpěvu a hlavně hudební teorie. V této oblasti se nesmazatelně zapsal učebnicí Nauka o harmonii (1887, Praha), kterou ovlivnil následující generaci
českých hudebníků.346
Někdy uváděný také jako Foerster. S touto podobou příjmení se můžeme setkat i u některých vydání
skladeb Josefa Förstera mladšího.
Bohumír Štědroň, „Josef Förster,“ in Československý hudební slovník osob a institucí, eds. Gracian
Černušák, Bohumír Štědroň a Zdenko Nováček (Praha: SHV, 1963), 342–343.
Zásadní období přeměny jeho hudebních preferencí a příklonu k cecilianismu, resp. cyrilismu proběhlo během jeho působení u sv. Vojtěcha ve funkci regenschoriho. Zde pozvedl místní kůr (kde byl tehdy varhaníkem Antonín Dvořák) pěstováním velkých figurálních
mší za účasti sólistů Prozatímního divadla. Záhy se však přiklonil k ceciliánskému reformnímu hnutí, které studoval mj. pobytem v Kolíně nad Rýnem, kde se seznamoval s díly
starých mistrů.347 Toto jeho zaměření se během několika let začalo projevovat napříč jeho
tvorbou. V jeho kompozicích, ovlivněných reformou, můžeme vysledovat dvě období. Zatímco zpočátku se pevně přidržoval vzorů reformní hudby, později se jeho projev uvolnil
a Förster začal používat i novější postupy.
2.1.1 Josef Förster ml. – iniciátor změn
Josef Förster ml. byl hlavním iniciátorem přeměny dispoziční a v důsledku i technické
podoby varhan u nás. V polovině 19. století v českém varhanářství ještě doznívala pozdně
barokní zvuková estetika, která jen velmi pomalu reagovala na aktuální hudební trendy.
Zřejmě jako první se začaly od barokní tradice na začátku 19. století odklánět rozsahy
manuálových a pedálových klaviatur. Zatímco první chromatizace spodních oktáv, rozšíření manuálových rozsahů zprvu po f3 a pedálu většinou do c1 se začaly objevovat již
počátkem 19. století (i přesto lze ještě kolem roku 1870 vystopovat stavby varhan v ryze
barokním duchu)348, zvuková proměna proběhla až mnohem později během 70. a 80. let
19. století, a to zejména díky propagaci cyrilismu Josefem Försterem ml. a dalšími.
Estetický ideál varhan se definitivně proměnil z tzv. Werkprincipu na nástroj sloužící
v první řadě k doprovodu, schopný velmi jemných barevných odstínění v základní osmistopé (u větších nástrojů i čtyřstopé) poloze. Zvukovou podobu varhan výrazně ovlivnila
i proměna technického řešení. Přechod z kancel tónových na kancely rejstříkové si vyžádal
zvýšení tlaku vzduchu, což mělo na výslednou zvukovou podobu varhan velký vliv. Byla
výrazně posílena základní osmistopá poloha na úkor alikvotních smíšených hlasů, které,
pokud se v jednotlivých strojích vyskytovaly, tak pouze jednotlivě. Oblíbenými se staly
smykavé rejstříky a rejstříky výchvěvné.
Technická proměna varhan se týkala také spojování jednotlivých strojů, které se oproti
předchozí praxi znatelně rozšířilo. Kompenzován tím byl ústup z již zmíněného Werkprincipu. Oblíbené byly kolektivy, tedy pevně dané kombinace rejstříků, často označované
dynamickými znaménky (p, mf, f, ff…). Těch ve svých skladbách (dokonce již v rukopisech) používal i Josef Förster ml. Jak si jejich konkrétní podobu představoval, můžeme
vidět u jím navržených nástrojů, nejlépe u sv. Vojtěcha v Praze.
Anna Beránková, „Pražští cyrilisté a jejich vztah k řezenskému cecilianismu. Komentovaná edice
korespondence pražských cyrilistů F. X. Wittovi“ (diplomová práce, Praha: FF UK, 2010).
Například nástroj Augustina Španěla mladšího (1830–1878) v Širokém Dole z roku 1869 měl ještě
45 tónů v manuálu (C-c3 s krátkou oktávou) a 12 v pedálu (C-a s krátkou oktávou). Dispozice byla
také ryze barokní. Viz Václav Uhlíř, „Varhanářský rod Španělů“ (bakalářská práce, Olomouc: FF
UPOL, 2013).
Vliv cecilianismu na radikální změnu podoby varhan v Čechách však jistě není jediným. Schopnost postupného crescenda a volby jemných barevných detailů v rámci registrace skladeb 19. století je jistě i dílem vlivu slohového, tedy romantismu. Kompozice
pro varhany se tímto přiblížili těm orchestrálním. Více se tomuto tématu věnoval Dr. Petr
Lyko v publikaci Die Orgel, a bylo by redundantní zde toto téma nadále rozvíjet.349
Mezi nejznámější dispozice navrhované Försterem je dispozice v kostele sv. Vojtěcha na Novém městě v Praze, tedy v kostele, kde Förster působil. Varhany postavené
v duchu reformy postavila roku 1877 továrna G. F. Steinmeyera z Oettingenu v Bavorsku
(opus 163):
I. manuál (C – f3, 54)
Viola di Gamba
Flétna smuteční
Mixtura 4×350
II. man (C – f3, 54)
Principal houslový
Flétna jemná
Fagott – Clarinette
Pedál (C – d1, 27)
František Ekert v Posvátných místech Prahy napsal: „Hudební kruchta dostala roku 1877
nové umělecké varhany soustavy kuželových závorů, jež zhotovila firma Steinmeyerova
v bavorských Etinkách. Stroj ten, posud v Praze svého druhu jediný, má 19 znějících
hlasů, 2 kópuly [rozumějme spojky] a 4 kolektivy, stál přes 4 000 zlatých a vzbuzuje
obdiv všech znalců.“351
Mezi méně známé záznamy o Foersterově organologické činnosti patří následující
zápis z Čáslavské farní kroniky ze dne 26. 6. 1881:
Konstrukce a dispozice, jakož i neúplné spodní oktávy obou manuálů a pedálu a jich
ambitus jsou patrným důkazem, že pochází tento stroj z časů dávno minulých a tvrdím,
že varhany tyto více než 160 roků staré jsou. Po prohlédnutí měchů (tři klínové měchy)
a píšťal (21 rejstříků), nabyl jsem toho přesvědčení, že materiál kovový i dřevěný úplně
opotřebován a zubem času úplně rozhlodán jest. Z řečeného vysvítá, že o opravě jakéhokoliv rozměru neb o jakémsi přestavení neb doplnění tohoto stroje nemůže býti řeči, a že
nezbývá nic jiného, než aby pořízen byl stroj nový, a činím návrh, aby nový stroj objednán
byl u některé firmy zahraniční, poněvádž domácí varhanické práce za oněmi v cizozemsku
valně pokulhávají. Mezi firmy solidní i umělecké řadím především u nás již osvědčenou
Petr Lyko, Die Orgel im Gebiet von Jeseník, Olomouc, Prostějov, Přerov und Šumperk in den Jahren
1860–1960 (Olomouc: VUP, 2011).
Tomíček, Varhany a jejich osudy (Praha: PM vydavatelství, 2010), 233.
Tomíček, Varhany a jejich osudy, 244.
továrnu G. F. Steinmeyer, o jejíž přesné práci, ušlechtilé a charakteristické intonaci rejstříků
a o výtečnosti kuželové soustavy na několika místech přesvědčiti se možno.
Rakouské varhanické firmy navrhuji – závod varhanický Riegra a bratří v Jägerndorfu
a neb firmu Julius Augusta v Pětikostelích v Uhrách.
Navrhuji tyto firmy, stojím na stanovisku objektivním, na stanovisku pokroku a umění,
které neznajíc monopolu, jest majetkem všech národností a konfesí. Proslulá továrna na hudební nástroje v Hradci Králové má světové jméno, varhanáře „Červeného“ však u nás
s bolestí postrádáme.352
Pokračování tohoto zápisu pak nejen že dává závěrečné usnesení, které nevyplnilo Försterovo přání, ale hlavně ukazuje jeho návrh dispozice:
Na základě tohoto dobrozdání usnešeno, na dodání nových varhan do zdejšího děkanského
kostela konkurz v novinách uveřejniti, následkem téhož přihlásili se: G. F. Steinmeyer, Karel
Eisenhut, Karel Schiffner, Emanuel Petr.
Dne 18. května 1883 byl městskou radou a děkanem učiněn návrh obecnímu zastupitelstvu, aby stavba nových varhan svěřena byla české firmě Emanuel Petr z Prahy na základě
dobrozdání profesora a vládního znalce v oboru hudby J. Foerstera ze dne 10. března
1883, z kterého zřejmo, že Emanuel Petr osvojil si v Čechách největší pokrok a zručnost
v soustavě moderních varhan jehlicových, totiž soustavu jehlicovou. Výhody této soustavy
jsou i snadné, ano hravé registrování, přesné a okamžité ozývání se i nejjemnějších rejstříků,
jakož i možnost zařízení kolektivních tahů.353
Návrh dispozice:
I. manuál (C – f3, 54)
Kamzičí roh
Mixtura 4×
II. man (C – f3, 54)
Principal housl.
Pedál (C – d1, 27)
10 2/3'
Lze si povšimnout dispoziční podobnosti s nástrojem u sv. Vojtěcha v Praze, který byl
českým varhanářům evidentním vzorem. Jak velký podíl na tvorbě dispozice u konkrétních
nástrojů měl Förster (jako později například Wiedermann), není prokazatelné.
Farní kronika je dodnes uložená na faře v Čáslavi.
Farní kronika dodnes uložena na faře v Čáslavi.
Příklad 1: Předehra a dohra k písni V posvátné úctě klekáme354
V dnešním Kancionálu českých a moravských diecézí (Praha 1988) pod číslem 524.
Podobnou organologickou činnost lze u Josefa Förstera ml. zaznamenat například
v Lounech (kostel sv. Mikuláše, firma Em. Š. Petr, op. 25), Havlíčkově Brodě (kostel
Nanebevzetí Panny Marie – firma Steinmayer, op. 156) a u mnohých dalších.
2.1.2 Josef Förster ml. – skladby pro varhany
K nejčastěji hraným skladbám Josefa Förstera ml. patří paradoxně ty, které mají nejmenší uměleckou hodnotu. Jsou to hlavně jeho úpravy písní v Katolickém varhaníku (1860,
op. 13) a za často používaný lze také označit Praktický úvod ku hře na varhany (1862,
op. 15), který obsahoval kromě komentovaného úvodu a jednotlivých instruktivních cvičení i malé chorály a jiné drobné skladby, často tematicky spojené s písněmi z Katolického
varhaníka.355 Tyto drobné skladby lze zařadit do období Försterova vyhraněného cecilianismu, tedy neobsahují žádné harmonicky příliš evoluční postupy a jsou i vzhledem k jejich
pozdějšímu využití konzervativní a prosté.356
Z ukázky je zřejmé polyfonní vedení hlasů v rámci poměrně jednoduché harmonické
sazby. Autor se drží tématu písně jen v jejím začátku, velmi často jej nechává zaznít imitačně. V průběhu skladby lze sledovat i začínající sklon k chromatickým postupům. Tato
i podobné dochované varhanní kompozice však mají být dostupné i amatérským varhaníkům, a tak je třeba je v dnešním kontextu chápat. Ceciliánské vyhýbání se koncertnímu
stylu je zde příkladné.
Mezi jediné kriticky vydané skladby Josefa Förstera ml. patří Fuga f moll, Fugato E dur
a Fuga Es dur. Vydal je Český rozhlas v rámci své ediční řady České varhanní skladby ve druhém díle.357 Datace těchto skladeb je mezi lety 1851–1852 a prvního vydání se dostalo
těmto skladbám pod názvem Compositions-Versuche von Jos. Förster.358
Nejrozsáhlejší a nejpropracovanější je Fuga f moll. Ta se někdy také uvádí jako Introdukce a fuga f moll.359 Avšak introdukce tvoří jen zanedbatelný zlomek celé skladby
a jistě by při svém rozsahu cca 10 taktů nemohla být samostatně uváděna. Považujme tedy
tento název za méně vhodný. Celá skladba má klasickou stavbu fugy s rytmicky stálou
protivětou. V provedení jsou zpracovávány jednotlivé motivy tématu velmi nápaditým
způsobem. V průběhu fugy je až bachovsky dodržován komplementární rytmus, závěrečná
těsna je pak opět vzorně vypracovaná po vzoru bachovské fugy. Harmonická stránka je
jedinou, která jasně řadí dílo do druhé poloviny 19. století. I přes evidentní vzor ve staré
formě se nevyhýbá chromatickým postupům zejména v melodických tónech. Přechod
mezi provedením a závěrem pomocí generální pauzy spíše odkazuje na staré české fugy.
Veronika Velenová, „České varhanní školy a možnost jejich praktického využití“ (diplomová práce,
Brno: HF JAMU, 2014).
Anna Beránková, „Pražští cyrilisté a jejich vztah k řezenskému cecilianismu. Komentovaná edice
korespondence pražských cyrilistů F. X. Wittovi“ (diplomová práce, Praha: FF UK, 2010).
Josef Popelka, České varhanní skladby II. (Praha: Český rozhlas, 2012), 4–5.
Uloženo v knihovně Pražské konzervatoře pod signaturou 1 C 55.
Autorem tohoto názvu je zřejmě prof. Jan Hora, který ji takto na svých koncertech uváděl.
Příklad 2: Fuga f moll – příklad Försterovy typické krátké introdukce a uvedení tématu
Fugato E dur a Fuga Es dur jsou menšího rozsahu a svou formou a způsobem zpracování
odpovídají zcela Fuze f moll. Svou propracovaností a náročností na interpreta jsou však
na nižší úrovni. Sloužili tedy zřejmě jako kompoziční cvičení, nebo později jako didaktický materiál.
Slavnostní předehra D dur (op. 4) odpovídá kompozičně introdukci a fuze, tedy formě,
kterou Förster použil například u Fugy f moll. Závažnost této skladby odpovídá spíše
školní práci, proto lze i přes absenci přesné datace tuto skladbu zařadit zhruba před rok
1850. I přes harmonickou prostotu je však fuga na poměrně vysoké úrovni. Nemá příliš
závažné, ani rozsáhlé téma, ale je řemeslně zpracována velmi dobře.
Registrace Försterových skladeb se řídí jeho pokyny naznačenými dynamickými znaménky. Je pravděpodobné, že Förster sám hojně používal pevné kombinace stejných
názvů, které se objevují na všech jeho navrhovaných varhanách. Ve Slavnostní předehře
D dur se navíc udává pokyn „Plným strojem“, což odpovídalo tutti celého nástroje.
2.2 Josef Bohuslav Foerster
Josef Bohuslav Foerster (1859–1951) neměl být dle přání jeho otce Josefa Förstera ml.
hudebníkem z povolání, avšak již po roce studia chemie na německé technické škole nastupuje na podzim roku 1879 na pražskou varhanickou školu. Od roku 1882 působil jako
varhaník nejprve v kostele sv. Vojtěcha, později v chrámu Panny Marie Sněžné. Zároveň
referoval v Národních listech a čile komponoval. Z tohoto období stojí za zmínku hlavně
opera Debora (1891), Stabat Mater (1892), písňové cykly a církevní kompozice. Roku
1893 se spolu se svou ženou stěhuje do Hamburku, kde se věnuje nadále žurnalistické,
pedagogické i kompoziční činnosti. Stejně jako v případě jeho prvního stěhování, podruhé
je jeho příčinou angagement jeho ženy. Foerster se tedy nevrací do Čech, ale následuje svou ženu roku 1903 do Vídně. Působí zde jako profesor na Universität für Musik
und darstellende Kunst, jako referent listu Die Zeit a stále komponuje. Mezi skladby
tohoto Foersterova vrcholného tvůrčího období patří například IV. symfonie „Veliká noc“
(1905), symfonické básně Legenda o štěstí (1909) a Jaro a touha (1912), III. smyčcový
kvartet (1907), I. houslový koncert (1911) nebo klavírní cyklus Erotovy masky (1912). Jeho
návrat do Čech byl spojen s funkcí profesora na Pražské konzervatoři, kde vedl svou mistrovskou třídu a dalšími významnými funkcemi (rektor Pražské konzervatoře, prezident
České akademie věd a umění atd.). Od roku 1939 se Foerster stáhl z veřejného života
a věnoval se pouze kompozici.360
2.2.1 J. B. Foerster – skladby pro varhany
Josef Bohuslav Foerster se na rozdíl od svého otce nijak zvlášť neangažoval v oblasti
organologické. Jeho životní směřování bylo více kompoziční, a tak je rozbor jeho skladeb
sice bez organologického kontextu, o to zajímavější je z kompozičního hlediska. V prvé
řadě je nutno podotknout, že Foerster byl i dlouho ve dvacátém století kompozičně velmi tradiční, až konzervativní. Tedy v přímém rozporu s Janáčkem, Martinů a ostatními
skladateli, kteří pro varhany velmi zřídka, ale přece psali. Platí tedy i zde zažité výroky
o tom, že až smrtí tohoto autora v roce 1951 končí český romantismus.
Rukopisy i skici varhanních skladeb J. B. Foerstera jsou dnes uloženy v Českém muzeu
hudby v Praze.
První Foersterova dochovaná varhanní skladba Fantazie C dur (1896, op. 14) spadá
do hamburského období. Svým způsobem se zaměření jeho komponování v Hamburku
vymyká, neboť se zde Foerster věnoval hlavně písním, sborům a kompozicím profánním.
Důvod jejího vzniku není zcela jasný. Avšak ve vydání vydavatelství Hermann Beyer
Bohumír Štědroň, „Josef Bohuslav Foerster,“ in Československý hudební slovník osob a institucí, eds.
Gracian Černušák, Bohumír Štědroň a Zdenko Nováček (Praha: SHV, 1963), 331–337.
a Söhne je na úvodní stránce uvedeno „Herrn Professor Ernst Rabich gewidmet“. Skladba
tedy byla věnována kantorovi a tehdejšímu hudebnímu řediteli kůru města Gotha, který
jako osobnost mohl být i impulsem k této kompozici.361
Rozsáhlá skladba pracuje s dvěma hlavními (a, b) a jedním vedlejším tématem (c).
Hlavní témata se prolínají celou skladbou a vzájemně se doplňují a kombinují. Vedlejší
téma tvoří základ náznaku fugy ve střední části, jinak se ve skladbě téměř nevyskytuje.
Práce s těmito tématy je řemeslně příkladná a potvrzuje Foersterovo tradiční chápání
hudby. Avšak na rozdíl od svého otce skladbu graduje evolučním zpracováním. Během
skladby se často mění tempo, témata jsou diminuovaná, objevují se i jako protivěty a dynamika celé skladby je velmi rozmanitá. V tom je asi největší rozdíl proti tvorbě Josefa
Förstera ml., který dynamiku komponoval blokově. J. B. Foerster zachází s varhanami
jako s orchestrem. K registraci používá dynamických znamének jako jeho otec, ovšem
s širší paletou nabízených dynamik. Harmonicky se autor nevyhýbá prudkým modulacím
a zlomům, které však používá poměrně střídmě pouze jako obohacující prvek jinak velmi
melodické skladby.
Druhou známou varhanní skladbou je Impromptu (1925, op. 135).362 Zajímavá je původní tužkou psaná skica této skladby, která má titul Fantazie pro varhany. V čistopisu je
název přelepený nadpisem Impromptu. Kdy ke změně názvu došlo, nevíme, ale zřejmě
před jejím prvním vydáním, protože se jinde název Fantazie pro varhany nevyskytuje.
V Čechách vyšla skladba v roce 1951 ve vydavatelství Orbis Praha363 a také v rámci edice
Česká varhanní tvorba Jiřího Reinbergera a Čeňka Gardavského, která vyšla ve Státním
nakladatelství krásné literatury, hudby a umění v letech 1954–1958.
Paradoxně je Impromptu ve svém průběhu daleko evolučnější než Fantazie C dur.
Má dvě hlavní témata, kterých se ovšem autor nedrží tak striktně jako ve zmíněné Fantazii.
Hned po svém uvedení jsou evolučně rozvíjena a harmonický děj je o něco překvapivější
a prudší. Obě skladby jsou primárně homofonní, bohatým dynamickým dějem napodobující skladby pro orchestr. Hlavní složkou a pojícím prvkem je melodie, ať již v sopránu
nebo některém jiném hlase. Impromptu je bohatší v modulačním plánu a jeho témata mají
výraznější hlavu. Obě skladby však čerpají z možností takové podoby varhan, jak je u nás
propagoval Josef Förster ml., tedy s širokou paletou osmistopých rejstříků a postupného
crescenda, tak jak je to možné u orchestru, a také s využitím kolektivů. Dynamika je tedy
nastíněna stejně jako u J. Föerstera ml. dynamickými znaménky.
Celkově je tvorba J. B. Foerstera pro varhany velmi tradiční, až zpátečnická, což odpovídá jeho celkovému zařazení jako skladatele. Neobsahuje žádné inovativní postupy,
známé u jeho vrstevníků Janáčka, Martinů nebo Wiedermanna.
Uvedené vydání bohužel nemá dataci, je uloženo v Českém muzeu hudby a stálo 1,20 marek.
V předmluvě ke Čtyřem skladbám pro harmonium je uveden rok vzniku této skladby 1927 bez bližšího
odůvodnění. Ostatní prameny (Fojtíková a další) shodně uvádějí rok 1925.
Označení této skladby vydavatelstvím Orbis Praha: EO 367.
Příklad 3: Fantazie C dur (op. 14) – uvedení a prolínání témat ihned v úvodu skladby
Z významných nahrávek varhanních skladeb J. B. Foerstera lze jmenovat CD Jana Hory
Complete Organ Works nakladatelství Vixen z roku 1997. Na tomto kompaktním disku je
Fantazie C dur i Impromptu J. B. Foerstera.
3 Shrnutí
Varhanní hudba Josefa Förstera ml. a Josefa Bohuslava Foerstera je zajímavá ze dvou hledisek. U Josefa Förstera mladšího je to hlavně v kontextu s celkovou proměnou estetického
ideálu varhan v Čechách, kterou z velké části sám inicioval. Z kompozičního hlediska
jsou jeho skladby z formálního hlediska precizně zpracované, svou invencí však výrazně
nepřesahují dobový skladatelský průměr. Skladby J. B. Foerstera nejsou svým organologickým kontextem tak důležité, neboť staví na podobě varhan, jak je propagoval Josef
Förster ml. Jsou však daleko zajímavější svou skladebnou stránkou. Varhany J. B. Foerster
používá jako orchestr, s jemným odstíněním pestré dynamiky, výraznými harmonickými
i dynamickými zvraty, a také primární avšak proměnlivou melodikou. Tím vzniká dílo,
které je oproti Josefu Försterovi ml. více evoluční, avšak i přes svou dataci (1896, 1925)
stále poplatné ryze romantickému cítění. Jen malému zlomku těchto skladeb se dostalo
kritického vydání. Některé z nich by si to však v budoucnu jistě zasloužily.
Works for Organ by Josef Förster Jr. and Josef Bohuslav Foerster
in the Context of the Transformation of the Organ Sound Ideal
in Bohemia in the Second Half of the 19th Century
Organ compositions by Josef Förster Jr. and Josef Bohuslav Foerster are interesting from
two points of view. In connection with Josef Förster Jr., this can primarily be seen within
the context of the overall change of in the aesthetic organ ideal in Bohemia, which was
mostly started by Förster himself. His compositions are professionally composed, but their
invention does not exceed the average of contemporary compositions. The compositions
of J. B. Foerster are not particularly interesting in terms of their organ-building context,
as J. B. Foerster bases his character of the organ on that promoted by Josef Förster Jr.
J. B. Foerster’s compositions are more interesting in terms of their compositional aspect.
J. B. Foerster makes use of the organ like an orchestra, with a delicious intensification
of multicoloured dynamics, with both distinct harmonic and dynamic twists, and also
with a primary, but nevertheless changing, melodic. In this way a composition with the
following characteristics arises: in comparison with Josef Förster Jr. more evolutionary,
regardless of the time of creation (1896, 1925) but always conforming to a purely romantic
feeling. Only a few of these compositions have been already critically edited and published.
A number of them are definitely deserving of this in the future.
Varhanní tvorba Josefa Förstera mladšího a Josefa Bohuslava Foerstera
v kontextu přeměny zvukového ideálu varhan v Čechách
v druhé polovině 19. století
Varhanní hudba Josefa Förstera ml. a Josefa Bohuslava Foerstera je zajímavá ze dvou hledisek. U Josefa Förstera mladšího je to hlavně v kontextu s celkovou proměnou estetického
ideálu varhan v Čechách, kterou z velké části sám inicioval. Z kompozičního hlediska
jsou jeho skladby z formálního hlediska precizně zpracované, svou invencí však výrazně
nepřesahují dobový skladatelský průměr. Skladby J. B. Foerstera nejsou svým organologickým kontextem tak důležité, neboť staví na podobě varhan, jak je propagoval Josef
Förster ml. Jsou však daleko zajímavější svou skladebnou stránkou. Varhany J. B. Foerster
používá jako orchestr, s jemným odstíněním pestré dynamiky, výraznými harmonickými
i dynamickými zvraty, a také primární avšak proměnlivou melodikou. Tím vzniká dílo,
které je oproti Josefu Försterovi ml. více evoluční, avšak i přes svou dataci (1896, 1925)
stále poplatné ryze romantickému cítění. Jen malému zlomku těchto skladeb se dostalo
kritického vydání. Některé z nich by si to však v budoucnu jistě zasloužily.
Josef Bohuslav Foerster; Josef Förster Jr.; organ compositions; contemporary compositions.
Klíčová slova
Josef Bohuslav Foerster; Josef Förster ml.; skladby pro varhany; současná kompozice.
Musicologica Olomucensia 22 – December 2015
A Discourse on Belarusian Music and its Role
in the Construction of Identities in Belarus
Anastasia Wakengut
Introduction: Belarusian Identities
Belarus, a post-Soviet state in the heart of Eastern Europe, is characterized by the complexity of historical and cultural impacts. Before it became independent in 1991, Belarus
belonged to and was culturally influenced by different regions, such as the Grand Duchy of
Lithuania, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Russian Empire and, finally, the Soviet
Union.364 The Russification policy of the Russian Empire marginalized the Belarusian language, and the process of marginalization continued in Soviet Belarus. Officially, Belarus
has two state languages – Belarusian and Russian. However, Russian is widely used, while
Belarusian remains marginalized: only a minority of Belarusians speak the language in
everyday life. This minority often evokes controversial reactions: it is either politicized
and linked with opposition or associated with rural people.365
Different scholars describe Belarusian national identity as “malleable”366 or as “less
well developed” than in neighboring states.367 It is evident, however, that two different
conceptions of national identity exist in Belarus. Nelly Bekus describes these opposing
discourses as “the official and the alternative Belarusianness.”368 This model suggests that
the nation, which is ethnically Belarusian in the vast majority, is split into two different
Cf. Thomas M. Bohn, Victor Šadurskij, and Albert Weber, eds., Ein weißer Fleck in Europa: Die
Imagination der Belarus als Kontaktzone zwischen Ost und West (Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2011),
The latter are also often associated with the so-called Trasyanka, a mixed Belarusian-Russian variety
of the language.
Cf. Andrew Wilson, Belarus: The Last Dictatorship in Europe (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 2011).
Cf. David R. Marples, Belarus: A Denationalized Nation (Amsterdam: Harwood Acad. Publ., 1999).
Nelly Bekus, Struggle over identity: the official and the alternative “Belarusianness” (Budapest: CEU
Press, 2010).
political nations. Each of them employs its own identity politics, discourses, symbols, and
cultural practices to express itself. The “alternative Belarusianness” involves the engagement in Belarusian pre-Soviet history, usage of the Belarusian language, anti-establishment
discourses and cultural practices, and post-colonial positioning. On the contrary, the “official Belarusianness” relates to the idea of national identity as maintained by the official
“pro-Soviet” discourse and embraced by a larger, Russian-speaking part of Belarusians.369
The issue of national identity is inextricably linked with the issue of the Belarusian
language, and these issues remain in the foreground at different levels – not only at the
academic level but also at the social and cultural ones. As a post-Soviet state, Belarus
continues to preserve the cultural legacy of the Soviet past. At the same time, many young
Belarusians strongly identify with Europeans in different ways. Processes of identity construction are extremely multifaceted and can be described as “transcultural.”370 Analyzing the eclectic “identity projects,” and the diverse perceptions of Belarusian culture as
articulated through cultural practices such as music, one can develop an understanding
of current issues, and specifically the issue of identity, in Belarus.
Methodological Framework
The article emerged in the framework of a dissertation project, “Popular Music and the
Construction of Cultural Identities in Post-Soviet Belarus,”371 conducted in the context of
the interdisciplinary post-graduate studies programme with the title “The Construction
However, Belarusian speakers should not automatically be associated with certain political views,
as Russian speakers should not necessarily be linked with conformism.
Cf. Wolfgang Welsch, “Transculturality: the Puzzling Form of Cultures Today,” in Spaces of Culture:
City, Nation, World, eds. Mike Featherstone and Scott Lash (London: Sage, 1999), 194–213. According to the theory of transculturality, cultures are not closed, homogeneous, uniform national
entities or communities, but represent a plurality of possible identities. The concept implies that
transcultural cultures do not just coexist but are interpenetrative and are thus “hybrid.”
The term “popular music” as a common term in Popular Music Studies is neutral and is used to
describe various genres and styles of music. Popular music is commonly understood as music
that began to develop with the growth of industrialization in the 19th century and reached broader
audiences by the 1950s, as sheet music was completely replaced by vinyl records. Popular music can
be defined as “readily comprehensible” to a large amount of people with no obligatory knowledge of
musical theory and techniques: cf. Stanley Sadie, ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London: Macmillan, 1980), 87.
In the present study, popular music is understood as a discursive practice that offers cultural meanings and thus participates directly in the construction of identities: cf. Peter Wicke, Vom Umgang
mit Popmusik (Berlin: Cornelsen, 2001).
“Identity” is understood here as a process, which indicates its continuing, flexible, non-stable and
changeable character. Identity can be described as a “becoming” or process, rather than a fixed entity
involving the “suturing” of the “discursive outside” with the internal processes of subjectivity: cf.
Stuart Hall, “The Question of Cultural Identity,” in Modernity: an Introduction to Modern Societies,
ed. Stuart Hall et al. (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1996), 595–634.
of Identities of Young Adults in a Post-Socialist Society in Transformation: The Case of
The article is based on research involving participant observation, twenty-one semistructured guided interviews, and two focus groups, all conducted in Minsk, Belarus.
Throughout three stays in Minsk in 2013 and 2014 (about ten weeks in total), I did “field
work” that can be described as ethnographic research with a focus on young people and
their music preferences. In the study, I approach music as “a key to identity [offering]
a sense of both self and others,”373 and as “a resource in [which] and through which agency and identity are produced.”374 Without giving preference to a specific genre, I place
a “microsociological” focus upon people and their musical practices in the attempt to
recognize “the ways in which music is used and the important role that it plays in everyday
life and in society generally.”375
Statistical data are provided by a survey which was developed by the members of the
post-graduate studies programme in cooperation with the Center of Social and Political Investigations (CSPI) of the Belarusian State University, Minsk. The representative,
nation-wide survey consists of standardized interviews with 1000 Belarusians, aged 18 to
30 (representing 493 female and 507 male respondents). The CSPI conducted the survey
in late 2013.376
Sixteen focus group respondents as well as thirteen interviewees were recruited by
the CSPI, whose networks are broad enough to offer a wide range of representatives of
Belarusian youth with various possible music preferences. In addition, one interviewee
was an acquaintance that I made at a concert.377 The remaining seven interviewees were
recruited through my personal network in Minsk, and were selected based on a strong
identification with a particular music style (or styles). The selection method can thus be
described as snowball sampling, which enables the researcher to get access to the inner
structure of the field and, ideally, to the contrasts in the field,378 which appeared to be
the case in this research.
In the studies programme, a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods is applied. Description of the project:
Simon Frith, “Music and Identity,” in Questions of Cultural Identity, eds. Stuart Hall and Paul du
Gay (London: Sage, 1996), 110.
Tia DeNora, Music in Everyday Life (Cambridge: University Press, 2000), 5.
Sarah Cohen, “Ethnography and Popular Music Studies,” Popular Music 12 (1993): 127.
The selection method that the CSPI applied was random-route sampling. The language of the survey
was Russian as it is the language most-used among Belarusian population.
It was a punk rock concert in the Piraty club in Minsk, which made an impression of an underground
club that was situated far from the center. The performing bands were Adaptatsiya from Kazakhstan
and the famous Belarusian band Neyro Dyubel.
Cf. Aglaja Przyborski and Monika Wohlrab-Sahr, Qualitative Sozialforschung, 4th ed. (München:
Oldenbourg, 2014).
Given the project’s focus on the construction of cultural identities in a post-Soviet
society, focus group respondents were selected on the basis of their identification with
“European” or “Cosmopolitan” culture.379 In other words, the first focus group was supposed to represent “European” or “Cosmopolitan” identifications, while the second one
was supposed to lack the “pro-Western” orientations. However, it proved difficult to
organize the focus groups by the principle “West versus East” because the question of
(trans)national identity is highly complex in Belarus (as shown in the following sections).
Differently than planned, the first focus group was eventually characterized by primary
identifications with “European” and “Cosmopolitan” cultures but also with “Slavic” culture, while in the second group identifications with “European” culture prevailed.380
The interviewees were initially selected on the basis of their positioning toward underground culture; therefore, a portion of the respondents were supposed to identify with
underground culture and music. The model “non-underground versus underground” in
relation to popular music seemed to reflect the model of the “official and the alternative
Belarusianness.” Although the reality proved to be far more complex than a dichotomy
model, it is remarkable that almost all “underground” and “subcultural” respondents
were found outside of official institutions, while the majority of “non-underground” respondents were among those recruited by the CSPI. Among other topics, the focus was
placed on participants’ subjective perceptions of the terms “underground,” “subculture,”
and “mainstream,” as well as of “Belarusian,” “European,” or “Russian” culture. The focus
groups and interviews showed that, on the one hand, these categories are perceived quite
ambivalently, but on the other, they can generate a vivid discussion revealing a person’s
positioning and providing further insight into discourses taking place in society.
Overall, the participants of the interviews and focus groups were young adults ranged
from 17 to 30 years, living in Minsk. The majority of them were Russian-speaking, while
four interviewees were Belarusian speakers. All participants, except for one person, were
currently studying or already had higher education. The respondents were people with
different musical preferences – from punk rock, metal, folk and indie, to reggae, rap, pop
or various forms of electronic music. Some of the interviewees expressed belonging to
a subculture, such as punk, goth, skinhead, or hip-hop. Half of the interviewees, as well as
some of the focus group participants, were professional or amateur musicians, and some
respondents had a musical education. The interviews and focus groups were conducted
in Russian.381 All names were changed.
The focus groups, each consisting of eight participants, were conducted in cooperation with Agnes
Reiter, whose project deals with young Belarusians’ dress behaviors and their role in identity constructions.
Many respondents simultaneously identified with Belarusian culture, which indicates that the perceptions of it are ambiguous and can represent the opposing “East-West” poles.
Because of an insufficient command of Belarusian, I had to ask Belarusian speakers for an interview
in Russian. (It should probably be mentioned that I was born and grew up in Kazakhstan, not in
Popular Music in Belarus
The genres of music involved in Belarusian contemporary music-making include rural
repertoires, classical music, variety performance or “entertainment” music (Estrada),
staged folklore, bardic performance, and pop and rock music382 (including electronic
music in its diverse forms as well as styles that are only indirectly related to pop and
rock, such as reggae and hip-hop). Figures 1 and 2 show general stylistic preferences of
young Belarusians:
Fig. 1: Distribution of favorite music styles
Cf. Maria Paula Survilla, Of Mermaids and Rock Singers: Placing the Self and Constructing the Nation
through Belarusan Contemporary Music (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 62.
Fig. 2: Distribution of favorite live music
Figure 1 reflects the classical “pop-rock” division, although one should bear in mind that
genres such as “pop” and “rock” are broad meta-categories and can be interpreted very
differently. The graph showing live music preferences does not reveal such a division because, firstly, the respective question offers more options and, secondly, the meta-category
of rock is split into several “sub-styles.”
Russian and Western music is most widespread in Belarus. Music stores in Minsk
usually offer Western, Russian and Belarusian music, but the latter often seems underrepresented. Overall, there is a marked lack of a music industry in Belarus.383 Languages
that Belarusian musicians use in songwriting are, in most cases, Russian, Belarusian and
English, with Russian being most preferred. It can be stated that Belarusian and especially
Belarusian-language music has a marginal status in Belarus, compared to music from Russia and the Western countries. This is evidenced by the following statistics: in answering
the question “What country’s music do you prefer most?” 50 percent of the respondents
indicated a preference for music from Russia, while a further 34 percent chose music
Cf. Maria Paula Survilla, “Belarus,” in Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, VII, eds.
John Shepherd, David Horn, and Dave Laing (New York: Continuum, 2005), 48–52.
from the USA or Great Britain.384 Music of Belarus was indicated by 5,5 percent (see
figure 3). Of these 5,5 percent (or 55 respondents), 30 persons indicated that the texts in
music they prefer are in Russian, 9 respondents chose English, and 14 persons indicated
Belarusian. This demonstrates the low proportion of Belarusian-language music in Belarusian music, as well as the low popularity of Belarusian-language music among young
Belarusians. In the question “What further countries’ music do you prefer?” Belarus was
chosen by 15 percent, Russia by 22 percent, and USA/Great Britain by 26,5 percent of
the respondents. These results indicate that Belarus as the “country of music’s origin”
occupies a marginal position in music preferences of young Belarusians, staying far behind
Russia and the USA and Great Britain.
Fig. 3: Distribution of countries of favorite music’s origin
The distribution of language preferences in music is similar (see figure 4). Comparing
the graphs in figures 4 and 5 reveals a parallel between preferences in music’s languages
There is a discrepancy here between the survey data and the results of ethnographic research: while
pop music and Russia as the “country of music’s origin” prevail in preferences according to the
survey data, the interviews and focus groups reveal that most people dissociate themselves from
Russian pop music (generally labeled as popsa).
and languages considered native. Nearly 52 percent of the respondents identified Russian
as their native language, and 55 percent pointed to the Russian language in music they
prefer. However, this parallel is obvious only in relation to the Russian language, not to
Belarusian. While 35 percent of the respondents consider Belarusian their native language,
less than two percent said that their favorite music’s texts are written in Belarusian. This
discrepancy can be explained, firstly, by the fact that considering a language native and
actually speaking this language do not necessarily coincide in Belarus. Many Belarusians,
who identify Belarusian as their native language, in fact speak Russian in everyday life:
of the 35 percent of the respondents who consider Belarusian their native language, only
8,3 percent said that they use it in everyday life. Secondly, the music market is primarily
provided with Russian and Western music rather than Belarusian, so it is hardly possible
for Belarusian-language music to gain priority.
Fig. 4: Distribution of languages in favorite music
Fig. 5: Distribution of languages considered native
The responses to the question “In which further languages are your favorite music’s texts
written?” show that Belarusian is indicated by nearly 15 percent, Russian by 28 percent,
and English by 41 percent of the respondents. Both the distribution of the “countries of
preferred music’s origin” and the distribution of “languages in favorite music” reveal that
Belarusian music (which may be in Russian or English) as well as Belarusian-language
music occupies a marginal position in music preferences of young Belarusians. This is
also evident in the discourse on Belarusian music, as shown in the following section.
The Discourse on Belarusian Music
It is possible to emphasize three major aspects in the discourse on Belarusian music: the
first aspect is in regard to Belarusian music’s existence, which leads to the second aspect
of the music’s authenticity and, finally, to the third aspect of language. The aspects of the
discourse are closely interconnected and flow into one another. Ultimately, they reflect
the extremely complex perception of Belarusian culture by young people as well as their
self-perception within this culture.
“Belarusian music doesn’t exist”
To some respondents, the marginal position of Belarusian music raises the issue of its
very existence. The topics of Belarusian music and Belarusian culture were often closely
interlinked in the interviews and focus groups. As the following examples demonstrate,
young people’s perceptions of Belarusian culture vary significantly. Some of the respondents stated that Belarusian culture does not exist, and others supported this statement.
“Nonexistence” of Belarusian culture is usually explained by the country’s position between Russia and the Western states as well as by the inevitable influences of other cultures. Some respondents of focus group 1 pointed out that under these influences, Belarus
has lost or never had its own identity, as can be seen from the following interview excerpts:
R4: As for Belarusian culture, I think there is practically no such notion. Because Belarusian
culture is rather a formation of culture of Russia, Ukraine, the neighboring countries. It is
connected rather with the history; it is a historical development. If in music there is some
progress – it is made and becomes more popular… Then, as for Belarusian clothes – there
are none. Everything is formed from the neighboring countries. We don’t have a distinct
Belarusian culture. There is something, but it is weak, I wouldn’t consider it culture, if we
speak just of clothes and music.
R3: I don’t know any distinctive features of Belarusian culture. But people who work on
that are trying to find Belarusian culture, to highlight what was destroyed in the Soviet
Union, and to form it in the context of global culture. I am in the search, trying to find it
to formulate it for myself. On the other hand, there are so many other cultures – Indian,
African, American. To me, this is all interesting. The world is moving toward globalism.
All we can do is our contribution, i.e. throw Belarusian culture into the global melting pot.
R6: We are still a very young country. So the absence of culture is not a big catastrophe.
This passage reveals that “distinctiveness” of culture and music is viewed as a criterion of
their existence. The attempts to discover and articulate differences between other cultures
and one’s own culture are clear evidence of the ongoing search for identity. As one of the
respondents (R3) put it, he is “in the search” of Belarusian culture, while being interested
in other cultures as well. Transculturality and national identity formation are, therefore,
not mutually exclusive processes and can coexist within one person or group.
“Nonexistence” of Belarusian music is similarly explained by the lack of the music’s
distinctiveness. As one of the respondents of focus group 1 stated, Belarusian culture and
music fail to be “unique” and are “lost” in other cultures:
Remaking and imitation, that’s the dead-end development of Belarusian culture. […] it is
trying to become popular by copying. But it isn’t unique; it just gets lost in European, in
world culture. We have folk musicians, and that’s the only thing that makes us different
from the masses. […] All the rest is European or world culture in miniature.
Some respondents expressed the opinion that Belarusian music is “backward” and lacks
progress. It is usually compared with Western music, which is considered more innovative.
Matvey says, “Everyone listens to Western music, […] in Belarus there is no music, actually. […] It doesn’t develop at all, […] it’s backward. […] We are behind [the West] because
in Soviet times there was the iron curtain, when it was not allowed to listen to Western
music.” This attitude understandably produces disinterest in Belarusian music because
it, in Matvey’s words, “falls behind Western music for decades.” The disinterest is also
justified by the assumption that the state does not support and develop Belarusian culture
and music, as some respondents claimed. Thus, eventually, beliefs in the “absence” of
Belarusian music result from disinterest produced by assumptions of the music’s “backwardness” and of the government’s passive attitude toward Belarusian culture. Disinterest
is also often explained by the music’s imitative character. For example, Yuliya says:
No, I don’t listen to Belarusian music, actually […]. Maybe because I don’t feel it’s close
to me.
Interviewer: Even Belarusian rock?
Yuliya: I would say there are very, very few such bands. And even if there are some bands –
excluding Lyapis Trubetskoy – they are so unknown that… How do I say that? Their music,
I would say, doesn’t have something distinct. As far as I know, our bands perform in English
[or perform tributes.]
Mark made a similar statement about Belarusian music being a “copy” of something else:
“On television, too, it’s all very pitiful. If it’s not ideology, then it’s copies of something
successful from the West or from Russia. There is nothing [of its] own.” Terms such as
“not unique,” “copying” or “different from the masses” raise the issue of authenticity,
which obviously plays a very important role in the perception of Belarusian music for
many people. The quite common opinion that “Belarusian music doesn’t exist” should
therefore be understood as “Belarusian music that is distinct and authentic doesn’t exist.”
As Simon Frith has argued, the term “authenticity” is misleading. What should be examined is not how “true” a piece of music is, but how it constructs the idea of “truth.”385
Remarkably, the fact that music is made in Belarus often turns out to be insufficient for
considering it “truly” Belarusian. As commonly believed, criteria for the music’s authenticity are the use of traditional instruments and of the Belarusian language. The discourse
on the “imitative” character of Belarusian music arguably has its roots in the Soviet
culture politics, which propagated folk musics of Soviet republics with the use of native
languages and traditional instruments. Folk repertoires were evaluated “as a contemporary
Simon Frith, Taking Popular Music Seriously: Selected Essays (Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate,
2007), 261.
musical mirror of a Soviet society united in work as well as in expression.”386 Folk music
was regarded as authentic and genuine to the Soviet people, since it was the “music
of the people.” Popular music with folk components (such as the “vocal-instrumental
ensembles”) was appreciated, while Western rock music was represented as being the
product of the antagonistic capitalistic world and of the “bourgeois” society, and therefore
influences of Western music were often perceived extremely negatively. Soviet music that
happened to reveal Western influences was devaluated, at least by official structures, as
being “inauthentic.” Soviet legacy arguably still plays a role in many discourses, including
the discourse on Belarusian music and its authenticity. The “idea of truth” constructed
around Soviet popular music is part of cultural memory, which in different, transformed
ways can affect young people born after the fall of the Soviet Union, as evidenced by the
respondents’ claims about the imitative character of Belarusian music.
The issue of language in Belarus plays an extremely important role in the perception of
culture and music as authentic. In one of the focus groups, some respondents pointed
out that Belarusian culture as a fusion of different cultures is unique, particularly, by
being a fusion. Others similarly argued that Belarusian culture is distinctive and differs
from other cultures. One of the respondents (respondent 4 of focus group 2) expressed
the opposite opinion, saying that there is nothing “special” about Belarusian culture,
which provoked a negative reaction from some others. She emphasized the importance
of the language, and her doubt in the existence of Belarusian culture results from the
fact that the Belarusian language is in a marginal position. Overall, the following passage
demonstrates the diverse ways in which young people perceive Belarusian culture, and
therefore is quoted at length:
Moderator: So, is there other cultures’ influence? In the questionnaire, you indicated different answers to the question “What culture(s) do you identify with?” Some of you indicated
“European,” others chose “Russian” or “Belarusian.” So how do you feel, what culture is closest
to you, and why?
Respondent 6: I don’t feel that Belarusians are part of Russia. In my opinion, we have our
own culture, a Belarusian one, not like others. And I indicated two options – Belarusian
and European – because tendencies of Europe are close to us. We communicate with Lithuanians and Poles. And I think it is important for us. I am part of European society. But
this doesn’t stop me from being part of Belarusian society.
R2: This, in my opinion, is what makes Belarusian culture unique. I believe that we do have
our own culture. Although, when you read scientific literature, many authors state there
is no Belarusian culture, it hasn’t developed yet. Yes, it is young. And the uniqueness…
Maria Paula Survilla, “Rock Music in Belarus,” Rocking the State: Rock Music and Politics in Eastern
Europe and Russia, ed. Sabrina Petra Ramet (Oxford: Westview Press, 1994), 223.
R4: So what makes it evident?
R5: What about our traditions? This is also culture. And they are not young at all.
R2: Traditions, it’s clear. Unfortunately, they practically disappeared while we belonged
to other states.
R6: They didn’t die. They’ve been almost stifled but they are being reborn.
R2: Yes, they are stifled. And I would be glad if they were reborn again. And what makes
our culture unique, it is a blend. We’ve always been between Europe and Russia (I almost
said Asia). And I can’t say for sure that I feel like part of Europe or Russia. I feel I am
a Belarusian, and I’m glad that both Russian and European tendencies influence me.
R8: I would agree with Kseniya because throughout history, we’ve been a ping pong ball
between Europe and the Russian Empire, which has somewhat negatively influenced us.
Although they kind of say “Slavic brothers.” But I’m not going into historical detail. But
yes, we are a blend. A blend of cultures […]
R5: I believe we have a distinct culture. Because if you simply judge by literature, Russian
classics such as Pushkin and Lermontov and Belarusian classics are absolutely different.
[…] Belarusian festivities embody the old traditions […]
R6: Ethnic weddings.
R5: Yes, yes, all that. And there is a lot of that. Our culture is individual, and it differs from
others. It has similarities because it’s close but…
R4: To me, the notion of culture is an ambiguous one. Especially the notion of Belarusian
culture. I don’t know why they say it’s special. Traditions, what traditions have we adopted?
Kupala is celebrated. What further Belarusian traditions? The key indicator of culture is
language. How many percent do we have speaking Belarusian?
R5: Not everyone, but many, enough. Recently, I was buying guitar strings in a music shop,
and there was a young man, a little older than me, who spoke pure Belarusian.
R2: That’s just a single case.
R5: But still, there are such people.
R4: These are some sort of subcultures. But we are talking about Belarusian culture. Language is the key factor. Practically no one speaks Belarusian.
R6: This is our problem that no one speaks it.
These examples of articulation of culture illustrate young people’s active search for identity. The discussion reveals several issues in the discourse on Belarusian culture. First,
perceptions of what represents Belarusian culture vary; second, there are different opinions on whether Belarusian culture is distinct; and third, one can observe an awareness
of the role of language for Belarusian identity. The passage demonstrates that for young
Belarusians, it is obviously important to discover and articulate national identity, albeit
in different ways. While some respondents express uncertainty in relation to Belarusian
identity, others articulate it by means of the dissociation from Russia and, simultaneously,
identification with the “European society,” which indicates the perception of Belarus as
part of Europe. Another view of Belarusian identity is that it is distinct and is neither
“Russian” nor “European,” albeit influenced both by Russian and European cultures.387
Some others dissociated themselves from the Soviet past or, on the contrary, emphasized “unity”
of Slavic cultures and associated themselves with Russian or Slavic culture.
However, many respondents of the interviews and focus groups express the ambiguous perception of Belarusian identity, which is inextricably linked with the issue of the Belarusian
language. In other words, the marginal position of the language is one of the primary
factors in the ambiguous self-perception as Belarusian. Many respondents articulated
the difficulty in a complete identification with Belarusian culture because of insufficient
command of Belarusian. The critical engagement with the issue of language is, therefore,
a key factor in the ongoing processes of national identity formation.
However, the lack of use of Belarusian in everyday life can be compensated by cultural
practices different from language use, and particularly by music. The following passage
from the interview with Aleksandr demonstrates the symbolic meaning of cultural practices in the process of identity construction:
To me, Belarusian culture is something intelligent and forgotten… You can’t call it guilt
that I am a Belarusian and don’t speak Belarusian, but there is something in it. If I see an
opportunity somewhere to express myself as a Belarusian, I do that. For instance, I choose
the Belarusian language in a computer program and I listen to Belarusian music. Or I have
a t-shirt with the Ў print.388 Indeed these are small things but still I like to do that.
Many respondents perceive their insufficient command of Belarusian as a negative phenomenon that results from the country’s historical developments. Some of them, indeed,
seem to have feelings of guilt and embarrassment because of not speaking Belarusian, as
Aleksandr suggested. In such cases, Belarusian-language music has a function of compensation and is favored, among other meanings that the music offers, as a language practice.
In this way, by means of music, the Belarusian language is made an everyday practice
without the necessity to actually speak it in everyday life.
The Belarusian language often seems to have a symbolic meaning for Belarusian
identity. In music making and music preferences, the symbolic meaning of the language
is especially evident. Boris describes himself as an apolitical skinhead of the SHARP
movement389 and plays guitar in a punk-hardcore band. He identifies with Belarusian
culture (which he perceives as having European roots) and speaks Russian but considers it important for the band to have songs in Belarusian in order to be able to properly
represent Belarus abroad:
Interviewer: Do you have a good command of Belarusian?
Boris: I do, but I kind of don’t care about speaking it. There are people who are crazy about
all that. But I… I grew up in Russian, was brought up in Russian…
Interviewer: Still, you write your texts in Belarusian as well.
Ў is a sign of the Galereya Ў, a gallery in Minsk, which promotes Belarusian-language literature and
music as well as Belarusian-made artefacts, such as clothes, souvenirs, toys etc. Galereya Ў postulates
itself as a mediator of Belarusian culture and is a meeting point for young Belarusian speakers.
The term “SHARP” stands for “Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice.”
Boris: Well, of course. But that’s more for people from other countries, so that they know
how our language is, how our culture is. Our lead singer […] doesn’t speak Belarusian either
but nonetheless, he appreciates Belarusian culture very much.
The symbolic use of the language obviously functions as a means of maintaining authenticity of the music for Boris and his band. It is important to them to be able to represent
Belarus in a way that would emphasize its difference from other countries: by means of
the language of the lyrics. In this way, musicians construct authenticity of their music
(and of themselves).
Belarusian-speaking respondents, who were in a minority, favored Belarusian music,
and particularly Belarusian rock. The latter is often associated with nationalistic attitudes.
Belarusian rock as an expression of Belarusian identity offers Belarusian speakers a sense
of national identity.390 Maksim’s words support this observation: “It is obvious that in
Belarus, Belarusian culture is suppressed, trampled down, and it’s going on… And often
those who are interested in Belarusian culture, their own culture, among those people
there are many, who listen to Belarusian-language music, Belarusian music and so on.”
Maksim would fall within the concept of conscious “alternative Belarusianness”:391 he
speaks Belarusian in everyday life and maintains a pro-Western attitude as well as criticism
of Russia’s political and cultural influence in Belarus. He prefers Western and Belarusian
music, which is mainly rock, folk rock and folk metal. To him, the existence of Belarusian
music is undeniable, and is dependent on the level of interest in one’s “own” culture. In
Maksim’s opinion, every Belarusian, who considers herself as such, should and will appreciate both the Belarusian language and music.
It is eventually important to mention that some Belarusian-speaking respondents feel
irritated by the “demonstrative function” of language in music, as well as by politicization of Belarusian-language music (especially rock and rap). In their opinion, Belarusian
music should be appreciated not for the use of language, but for aesthetic or expressive
qualities. For example, Belarusian-language rapper Mark explains, “Of course I identify
with Belarus and consider myself a Belarusian, but I don’t like it when they make music
in Belarusian just for it to be in Belarusian.” He adds, “The language as well as music is
a means to express oneself” and should not be politicized because politicization restricts
both the language and music. Stas similarly claims that “music is music” rather than
a “political instrument.” The respondents’ view of Belarusian music reveals another dimension in the articulation of identity: they dissociate themselves from the “demonstrative”
use of language and regard it purely as a means of communication and self-expression,
which indicates an aspiration of “Belarusianness” as a state of mind, not as an indicator
Paula Maria Survilla, Of Mermaids and Rock Singers: Placing the Self and Constructing the Nation
through Belarusan Contemporary Music (New York and London: Routledge, 2002).
Nelly Bekus, Struggle over identity: the official and the alternative “Belarusianness” (Budapest: CEU
Press, 2010).
of political attitudes. This, as concluded from their considerations, is the only way for
the future of Belarusian culture, language, and music.
The discourse on Belarusian music reveals the extremely complex perceptions of Belarusian culture and indicates a continuing process of identity formation of young
Belarusians. This is mainly evidenced by the aspect of authenticity expressed in the
attempts to discover and articulate the difference of Belarusian culture and music from
other cultures and musics. The difficulty in articulating this difference leads to disinterest
in Belarusian music, which in turn results from such themes of the discourse as “nonexistence,” “lack of uniqueness” or “backwardness” of Belarusian music. The discourse
is organized around the issue of the Belarusian language in Belarus and often seems
to be influenced by young people’s awareness of insufficient command of Belarusian.
Unpopularity of Belarusian-language music among young Belarusians reflects the status of the Belarusian language. Belarusian music represents a cultural landscape that
reveals the issue of the language in Belarus, i.e. the lack of Belarusian in most people’s
everyday lives. Both the Belarusian language and Belarusian music often have a symbolic meaning for Russian speakers. The symbolic meaning of Belarusian music eventually facilitates the construction of Belarusian identity without using the language as an
everyday practice. Belarusian music can thus fulfill the functions of compensation and
authentication. For some Belarusian speakers, Belarusian music and language represent
a resource through which they construct and articulate conscious positioning of (proWestern) Belarusianness; for others, the music and language represent an aspiration
toward cultural self-expression as Belarusians beyond politics.
A Discourse on Belarusian Music and its Role in the Construction
of Identities in Belarus
Issues of national identity remain a topic of great importance in Belarus, the state
between “East and West”. In this article, I identify the discourse on Belarusian music
taking place among young Belarusian adults. This discourse is centred on three major
aspects: the very existence of a distinct Belarusian music, its authenticity and the aspect of
language. The article attempts to demonstrate that the discourse, characterized by young
people’s ambivalent perceptions of Belarusian culture and music, reflects the ongoing
process for the search for identity. The complexity of the notion of Belarusian culture
and the ambiguity of the term “Belarusian identity” is linked with the issue of the Belarusian language, which occupies a marginal position in Belarus. In this article, I analyse
the interconnection of the perceptions of music, culture and language in Belarus, and
identify the functions which Belarusian music fulfils, both for Belarusian- and Russianspeaking Belarusians.
Hudba a její role v procesu tvorby identit v Bělorusku
V Bělorusku, ve státě ležícím mezi „Východem” a „Západem“, zůstávají otázky národní
identity zásadním tématem. Studie představuje diskurz běloruské hudby mezi mladými
dospělými lidmi v Bělorusku. Zmíněný diskurz vychází ze tří klíčových aspektů: jde
o samotnou existenci specifické běloruské hudby, její autenticitu a s tímto související
jazykový aspekt. Cílem studie je ukázat, že diskurz, charakterizovaný ambivalentními
postoji mladých lidí k běloruské kultuře a hudbě, reflektuje pokračující proces hledání
identity. Komplexní charakter kultury v Bělorusku stejně jako víceznačnost „běloruské
identity“ souvisí s problematikou běloruského jazyka, v daném prostředí hrajícího spíše
okrajovou roli. Studie analyzuje provázanost vnímání hudby, kultury a jazyka v Bělorusku.
Dále identifikuje funkce, které běloruská hudba plní jak pro populaci mluvící bělorusky,
tak pro občany, jejichž primárním jazykem je ruština.
Authenticity; Belarusian music; cultural practice; discourse; identity; popular music.
Klíčová slova
Autenticita; hudba v Bělorusku; kulturní praxe; diskurz; identita; populární hudba.
Musicologica Olomucensia 22 – December 2015
Mike Ford
Affiliation: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey – New Brunswick
Address: 500 Riverside Dr, Apt 4B, New York, NY, 10027, USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Mirjam Frank
Affiliation: Royal Holloway, University of London
Address: Bei St. Ursula 12, 86150 Augsburg, Germany
E-mail: [email protected]
Alexandra Grabarchuk
Affiliation: UCLA Department of Musicology; Visiting Lecturer, Joint Music Program
of the Claremont University Consortium
Address: 3614 Empire Dr., #207, Los Angeles, California, 90034, USA
E-mail: [email protected]
David Kozel
Affiliation: Katedra hudební výchovy, Pedagogická fakulta, Ostravská univerzita v Ostravě
Address: Fráni Šrámka 3, Ostrava-Mariánské Hory, 709 00, Czech Republic
E-mail: [email protected]
Manfred Novak
Affiliation: Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz
Address: Hauptstraße 5/2, 8813 St. Lambrecht, Austria
E-mail: [email protected]
Jana Spáčilová
Affiliation: Katedra muzikologie, Filozofická fakulta, Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci
Address: Univerzitní 3, 771 80 Olomouc, Czech Republic
E-mail: [email protected]
Martina Stratilková
Affiliation: Katedra muzikologie, Filozofická fakulta, Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci
Address: Univerzitní 3, 771 80 Olomouc, Czech Republic
E-mail: [email protected]
Václav Uhlíř
Affiliation: Katedra muzikologie, Filozofická fakulta, Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci
Address: Univerzitní 3, 771 80 Olomouc, Czech Republic
E-mail: [email protected]
Anastasia Wakengut
Affiliation: Institut für Musik, Fakultät III Sprach- und Kulturwissenschaften, Carl von
Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg
Address: Postfach 2503, 26111 Oldenburg, Germany
E-mail: [email protected]
Musicologica Olomucensia (Acta Universitatis Palackianae Olomucensis) welcomes contributions in musical-historical and theoretical studies. All submissions will be peer-reviewed.
Essays can be sent electronically to [email protected] Essays should
conform to the style (notes and bibliography), as defined by The Manual of Style found
at The editors can assume no responsibility for
the loss of manuscripts. Manuscripts may not be submitted elsewhere simultaneously.
Individual issues of Musicologica Olomucensia (Acta Universitatis Palackianae Olomucensis)
can be ordered through the publisher’s e-shop at
Musicologica Olomucensia 22 (December 2015)
Editor-in-chief: Lenka Křupková
Executive editor of Volume 22: Jan Blüml
Cover: Ivana Perůtková
Technical editor: Anna Petříková
Palacký University, Olomouc
Křížkovského 8
771 47 Olomouc
Czech Republic
[email protected]

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