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Title: The role of Sobornost in twentieth-century Russian music : from Alexander Skriabin to the transcendental style of Sofia Gubaidulina
Author: Pelekanou, Anna
ISNI:       0000 0004 5359 3567
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2014
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Sobornost is an aspect of the symbolism surrounding Russia's Orthodox religious rites. Its primary use in religious texts was to describe such gatherings in which the authority of God was invoked upon all communal activities. Sobornost emerges as a critical thread running through Russian musical culture. It was introduced into music by Alexander Skriabin, appropriated by the first modernist avant-garde in the later 1910s and 20s, and then reinterpreted at critical stages in the development of later Russian music. The aim of presenting this historical trajectory is to contextualise the 'second avant-garde' that developed during the 1970s, and to acknowledge Skriabin and the early avant-garde as consequential in the evolution of the later ' transcendental style.' Skriabin, similar to the ' Mystics' symbolist movement, attached metaphysical significance to the concept of the' artist as a creative vessel' which, as is the case with Nikolai Berdiaev's (1874-1948) ' ethics of creativity' , affirms the value of the unique and the individual. The desire to establish a thread that links sobornost - unity - and the indi vidual approach to the compositional process fOlms an impoliant part of this study. Exploring the different developments within the fragmented evolution of twentiethcentury Russian composition is integral in this context. Cultural and religious afterimages became the initial attraction and stimulus for the formation of new music that developed at the margins of the Soviet Union's 'official' concert life. Sobornost as expressed within the ritual of the Olihodox liturgy bears similarities with the 'transcendental idiom' that evolved from the second avant-garde during the 1970s. This transcendental idiom is at once a celebration of time and of eschatological reality; an anticipation of the 'world to come', as well as nostalgic of a concrete historical past. Several of Sofia Gubaidulina's pieces have the tendency to transcend the purely musical in favour of the symbolic, and often connote a ritual action; even their structures refer to something extra-musically religious, such as the cross, crucifixion, resurrection and transfiguration. In this context, Gubaidulina's music is presented as a case study to examine the changing role of sobornost in twentiethcentury Russian music. Significant works are used as exemplars of this larger pattern of historical interpretation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available