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Songs 10–15

Richard D. Sylvester Indiana University Press ePub


О, нет, молю, не уходи!

Oh no, I beg you, do not leave!

Op. 4, No. 1

Sophia Satina tells us that Rachmaninoff wrote this song at one sitting, as an improvisation on the piano. The musical phrases are a perfect match for the words. The first line of text is like a title to what follows, an introductory phrase “centered on a pivotal note (F), a prominent feature of much of Rachmaninoff’s music” (Norris, 140); then, with agitated triplets in the piano, the voice rushes ahead with pleading intensity. The sentiments are very like an urban romance made famous by the Gypsy singer Varya Panina “Не уходи, побудь со мною” (Don’t leave, stay with me). This shows Rachmaninoff’s affinity for the popular “Gypsy” style of the day (his song was actually written before the Panina song), but the text and music of his song are much more interesting and expressive.

The Symbolist Dmitri Merezhkovsky (1865–1941) was a serious poet who rarely wrote this kind of “cruel romance” text; he published it in a literary magazine in 1890, but he did not include it in his collected works of 1914. Rachmaninoff found it in the magazine, or perhaps Anna Lodyzhenskaya found it and showed it to him. He referred to it in a letter to Natalia Skalon describing the pain he felt while he was writing the elegiac trio after Tchaikovsky’s death: “As it says in one of my romances, I was in torment the whole time and sick in my soul” (LN 1, 229). Though Slonov and Rachmaninoff first performed it in public in Kharkov, its first performance in Moscow was in March 1893, when Leonid Yakovlev, a baritone, sang it at a concert of the Russian Musical Society; it was so well received he had to sing it twice (LN 1, 520).

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2 Pioneers of the New Azerbaijani Musical Identity

Aida Huseynova Indiana University Press ePub

When Hajibeyov [Hajibeyli] . . . died in 1948, the seeds he had sown in laying the foundations of Azeri music and musical life had only just begun to blossom. A whole generation of composers, including Fikret [Fikrat] Amirov and Kara Karaev [Gara Garayev], would shortly make their mark not only in Azerbaidzhan, but also in the rest of the Soviet Union and abroad.

MATTHEW OBRIEN, Uzeyir Hajibeyov [Hajibeyli] and Music in Azerbaidzhan [Azerbaijan]

He has always been referred to as “Uzeyir bey.” In traditional Azerbaijani society, a bey placed beside a male’s first name signified a person of nobility. Hajibeyli, like all Azerbaijanis, had to Russify his family name under the Russian and then the Soviet empires. By substituting a Russian suffix, “Hajibeyli” became “Hajibeyov” or even, when Russian transliteration rules were also applied, “Gadzhibekov.” Yet none of the political systems could eliminate the respectful “bey” added to the composer’s name, although the combination of “Uzeyir bey” with “comrade Gadzhibekov” strikes the Azerbaijani ear as bizarre. This paradoxical juxtaposition reflects the life and career of the composer, who witnessed and became involved in the tumultuous historical changes that occurred in twentieth-century Azerbaijan.

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12. Sackbut

Edited by Jeffery KitePowell Indiana University Press ePub


Unlike many early instruments that have been revived in the twentieth century, the trombone has remained in continuous use, with relatively slight changes in construction, since its inception more than five hundred years ago. The term “sackbut,” used today to distinguish the early form of the trombone from its modern counterpart, was current in England from the late fifteenth century to the end of the seventeenth century. Probably the name derives either from the old Spanish saccabuche (“draw-pipe” or “pump”) or the old French saqueboute (“pull-push”).

Keith Polk and others have shown that the sackbut evolved from the natural trumpet in several stages. Straight trumpets may have been fitted with rudimentary slides as early as the mid-fourteenth century. By about 1370, an S-shaped instrument had evolved, and around 1400 the folded shape appeared. The true sackbut, with a double-branched slide, appeared sometime in the fifteenth century—perhaps as early as the 1430s, but certainly by the 1470s. In the fifteenth century the sackbut, like the slide trumpet, was often associated with shawms (usually a discant shawm and a bombard) in the alta cappella or “loud wind band.”

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8. Performer

Estelle R. Jorgensen Indiana University Press ePub




Music needs to be brought alive through performance. We may hear music imaginatively without needing to hear it as phenomenal sound; however, we hope ultimately to hear music performed or realized sonically. John Cage’s 4’33”, a piece consisting of silence, is a statement of this reality.1 Its meaning depends on indeterminacy in which the silences within which a listener imagines sounds, or anything else for that matter, play an important role along with sounds. Cage’s preoccupation with silence in this piece is only interesting as it rebuts a pervasive emphasis in musical thinking on the sounding tones in music. He does not want to say that music should consist only of silence, since he spent considerable effort designing such sounds.2 Rather, he broadens the definition of music to include imagined as well as heard sounds and silences.

We define the performer as one who creates the sounds and silences of music in the phenomenal world. Notice that I draw mainly on the image of music as a sonic phenomenon, one of an array of musical images.3 This stance is appropriate because it is commonly in use in the Western classical tradition and others such as jazz, rock, and country music. Although other musical images are suggested, I leave it to another time to mine more systematically the ways in which they might play out in performance.

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15. Plucked Instruments

Edited by Jeffery KitePowell Indiana University Press ePub


Of all Renaissance instruments the lute was, in the words of John Dowland, that which “ever hath been most in request.” Although one of the best-known Renaissance instruments today, the lute, and especially its role in ensemble music, is often misunderstood. It is important to realize that the lute is not just a single instrument, but an entire family of instruments, involving different sizes, tunings, playing techniques, and functions. Thus, the instrument used to perform fifteenth-century chansons is quite a different beast from that used to accompany Elizabethan lute songs or Italian monody. Although few players are able to afford the more than two dozen plucked instruments required to perform music from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century, it is useful to know what instruments were originally used so that, if necessary, intelligent compromises may be reached. In fact much of this repertory can be performed on one or two instruments providing the players understand the techniques involved and are willing to make occasional changes to the stringing of the instruments. Although ideally all of the instruments discussed in this chapter would become part of an early music ensemble’s instrument collection, even a few lutes can be very effectively used in ensembles with the proper scorings and application.

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