Defining Russia Musically: Historical and Hermeneutical Essays

Передня обкладинка
Princeton University Press, 2000 - 561 стор.

The world-renowned musicologist Richard Taruskin has devoted much of his career to helping listeners appreciate Russian and Soviet music in new and sometimes controversial ways. Defining Russia Musically represents one of his landmark achievements: here Taruskin uses music, together with history and politics, to illustrate the many ways in which Russian national identity has been constructed, both from within Russia and from the Western perspective. He contends that it is through music that the powerful myth of Russia's "national character" can best be understood. Russian art music, like Russia itself, Taruskin writes, has "always [been] tinged or tainted ... with an air of alterity--sensed, exploited, bemoaned, reveled in, traded on, and defended against both from within and from without." The author's goal is to explore this assumption of otherness in an all-encompassing work that re-creates the cultural contexts of the folksong anthologies of the 1700s, the operas, symphonies, and ballets of the 1800s, the modernist masterpieces of the 1900s, and the hugely fraught but ambiguous products of the Soviet period.

Taruskin begins by showing how enlightened aristocrats, reactionary romantics, and the theorists and victims of totalitarianism have variously fashioned their vision of Russian society in musical terms. He then examines how Russia as a whole shaped its identity in contrast to an "East" during the age of its imperialist expansion, and in contrast to two different musical "Wests," Germany and Italy, during the formative years of its national consciousness. The final section, expanded from a series of Christian Gauss seminars presented at Princeton in 1993, focuses on four individual composers, each characterized both as a self-consciously Russian creator and as a European, and each placed in perspective within a revealing hermeneutic scheme. In the culminating chapters--Chaikovsky and the Human, Scriabin and the Superhuman, Stravinsky and the Subhuman, and Shostakovich and the Inhuman--Taruskin offers especially thought-provoking insights, for example, on Chaikovsky's status as the "last great eighteenth-century composer" and on Stravinsky's espousal of formalism as a reactionary, literally counterrevolutionary move.


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Defining Russia musically: historical and hermeneutical essays

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The term hermeneutics is omitted from most recently published music dictionaries, but it is making a comeback in scholarly musicological studies. Increasingly, there is an attempt to understand works ... Читати огляд повністю


N A Lvov and the Folk
M I Glinka and the State
P I Chaikovsky and the Ghetto
Who am I? And Who Are You?
Safe Harbors
After Everything
Chaikovsky and the Human A Centennial Essay
Scriabin and the Superhuman A Millennial Essay
Stravinsky and the Subhuman A Myth of the Twentieth Century The Rite of Spring The Tradition of the New and the Music Itself
Notes on Svadebka
Shostakivich and the Inhuman
The Lessons of Lady M
Interpreting the Fifth Symphony

How the Acorn Took Root
Entoiling the Falconet

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Сторінка xxiii - In order to understand, it is immensely important for the person who understands to be located outside the object of his or her creative understanding — in time, in space, in culture. For one cannot even really see one's own exterior and comprehend it as a whole, and no mirrors or photographs can help; our real exterior can be seen and understood only by other people, because they are located outside us in space and because they are others.
Сторінка xxiii - In the realm of culture, outsideness is a most powerful factor in understanding. It is only in the eyes of another culture that foreign culture reveals itself fully and profoundly (but not maximally fully, because there will be cultures that see and understand even more).
Сторінка xxiii - A meaning only reveals its depths once it has encountered and come into contact with another, foreign meaning; they engage in a kind of dialogue, which surmounts the closedness and one-sidedness of these particular meanings, these cultures.
Сторінка xxii - There exists a very strong, but one-sided and thus untrustworthy, idea that in order better to understand a foreign culture, one must enter into it, forgetting one's own, and view the world through the eyes of this foreign culture.
Сторінка xxiii - We raise new questions for a foreign culture, ones that it did not raise itself; we seek answers to our own questions in it; and the foreign culture responds to us by revealing to us its new aspects and new semantic depths. Without one's own questions one cannot creatively understand anything other or foreign (but, of course, the questions must be serious and sincere). Such a dialogic encounter of two cultures does not result in merging or mixing. Each retains its own unity and open totality, but...
Сторінка xxii - Of course, a certain entry as a living being into a foreign culture, the possibility of seeing the world through its eyes, is a necessary part of the process of understanding it; but if this were the only aspect of this understanding, it would merely be duplication and would not entail anything new or enriching.

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Про автора (2000)

Richard Taruskin, Professor of Music at the University of California, Berkeley, is a regular contributor to New Republic, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Opera News, and many scholarly publications. His books include Opera and Drama in Russia, Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions, and Musorgsky: Eight Essays and an Epilogue, now available through Princeton University Press in paperback.

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