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Issue 27

(Fall 2015)






Katerina Maniou: The relationship of Alfred Schnittke to serialism and its application during the post-experimental phases of his work


This article investigates Schnittke’s relationship to serialism on an ideological and compositional level. Initially, it presents the specific conditions that favored the dissemination of serial techniques in the early post-Stalin years. It focuses on their connection to the formation of the unofficial Soviet music, which coincides with the rise of Schnittke’s generation, while collates the specificities of serialism’s application in the Soviet environment in comparison to the West during the Cold War. Then, it examines the unfolding of Schnittke’s relationship to serialism, while tracing its main characteristics. Key point of this is proved to be Schnittke’s ideological convergence to the concept of “Idea” as described by Arnold Schoenberg. Through a comparative study of the two composers’ opinions, a remarkable identification concerning the apprehension of the compositional process emerges, whereby the ostensible contradiction between Schnittke’s judgmental attitude towards serialism, with its simultaneous adoption as a sovereign tool throughout his creative life is clarified. Finally, through four case studies, it is attempted to show and codify various versions of serialism’s application, as well as to highlight Schnittke’s ideological affinity to the first modernism, which routes from the obedience to the concept of “Idea”.



Sokratis Georgiadis: Compositional thought and cadential structures in early and middle Renaissance polyphony: Fishing in troubled waters


In an attempt to approach some of the most important issues that keep recurring in the scholarship of the past twenty years, we will try, through this article, to focus on specific aspects concerning the evolution of compositional thought during early and middle Renaissance polyphony. By observing the thought of the theoretical minds of this era, we will attempt to point out some of the most essential prerequisite structural elements of cadential structures, which the theoretical writings of this period seem to share in common. In the outset of this survey, we will offer some points for further discussion on our effort to approach safer grounds regarding the validity of our conclusions. Finally, we will try to elaborate on our ability to substantiate our research in a most effective way, by aiming at highlighting the need to adopt a more cautious and rather wider approach, more sensitive to the actual music as well as the theoretical texts that the creators of the period passed down to us.



Dionysia Blazaki: Hegel and Schopenhauer: The abstraction in music


The present paper attempts to indicate, systematize and reconstruct the significance of the notion of abstraction in Hegel’s and Schopenhauer’s aesthetics of music. Since both philosophers include the art of music in their system of aesthetics by setting criteria for the nature of music itself that are related to the way in which each philosopher constructs his idealism, the article examines the notion of abstraction as this transits from the theory of knowledge to the art of music through each one’s individual theory of aesthetics. In the case of Hegel, we approach the principles of aesthetics of music that the philosopher establishes in reference both to his system itself and to the contemporary reflection on his texts; we additionally explore the notion of abstraction from the point of view of the musical forming process and in the context of its organic development, and also the correlation that the form has with its content. In the case of Schopenhauer, we examine the notion of abstraction in regard to the possibility of music to attribute directly its emotional contents; also, as a reference to the phenomena of representation, as well as in relation to the social and cultural parameters; finally we highlight the problems that arise from the methodology of Schopenhauer.


Solon Raptakis: The Fifth Piano Sonata of Alexander Scriabin: A dialogue with sonata forms


The ten piano sonatas of Alexander Scriabin are considered to be one of the composer’s most important bodies of works, in which becomes visible with considerable clarity the gradual evolution of compositional technique and selection of musical material along with the resulting formation of a unique personal style. The Fifth Sonata, opus 53, stands on the verge between the styles of late romanticism and emergent modernism; this ascertainment is based for the most part on judgments and evaluations that concern its harmonic features, the handling of motivic material, as well as extramusical associations, while research has so far placed less weight on its formal design. The present study ventures to fill this gap; it focuses on the peculiarities of form and attempts to compare it with and incorporate it in the different guises of sonata form (tripartite, bipartite et al.), on the basis of which the work’s formal design can be explicated. We do not set as our foremost goal the identification with a particular structural model, as the most fitting, but rather the highlighting of the problematic of form in Scriabin’s mature work, along and in combination with the above mentioned components.


Vasileios Kalagkias: Form and technique in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s independent sets of variations for keyboard (Part I)


This study refers to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s independent sets of variations: 16 solo keyboard sets, 2 sets for keyboard and violin, and one for keyboard duet. Through the consideration of the works, is attempted the outcome of conclusions about the form and the techniques Mozart used and the way that Mozart improvised, since some of them were performed in public by the composer even before they had been written. In the first part of the study the variation sets are considered in chronological order, which is validated by recent literature. The study of each work includes historical information, which is followed by an examination of the structure and important elements of the themes and leads to the consideration of modifications that Mozart uses in each variation separately and in relation to the overall structure of each set. The second part includes the conclusions in respect to the form of the themes, the types of variations in the studied repertoire, the sequence of the variations and the techniques used by the composer. These conclusions are placed within the broader historical context, considering important theoretical studies.


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