Interpreting Cycles of Preludes and Fugues by Soviet Composers: Problems of Performance and Perception

Ursova, Tetyana. 2009. Interpreting Cycles of Preludes and Fugues by Soviet Composers: Problems of Performance and Perception. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The focus of this study is on performance aspects of cycles of Preludes and Fugues by composers from the former Soviet Union. This little-known part of 20th century piano repertoire has been largely neglected by music scholars. In this thesis it is purposely examined from a performer's perspective, with a particular emphasis on study of analytical processes and practical procedures at various stages of performance interpretation.

Large-scale polyphonic cycles of preludes and fugues, analogous to the Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach, became phenomenally popular among Soviet composers after the 1950s, with more than 20 substantial cyclic works appearing in the second half of the last century in Russia, Ukraine, Armenia and Uzbekistan. My performance research thesis focuses on the following works: 24 Preludes and Fugues by Dmitri Shostakovich, Rodion Shchedrin, Sergei Slonimsky, Nikolai Kapustin and Dmitri Smirnov; 34 Preludes and Fugues by Valentin Bibik, 12 Preludes and Fugues by Alexander Yakovchuk and 6 Preludes and Fugues by Myroslav Skoryk. These eight cycles by Russian and Ukrainian composers are among the most influential Soviet polyphonic works, most of which are regularly performed in the countries of the ex-Soviet bloc.

Although this thesis avoids drawing specific parallels between the historical, political and cultural context and the musical text, one of its main aims is to enhance performers' and listeners' awareness of the contextual complexity of the works under discussion.

The main body of my thesis explores the interpretative challenges of the works under discussion, with individual chapters dedicated to such performance and perception aspects as understanding of the overall cyclic structure and programming issues, investigation of the cultural and historical context and its influence on the perception of the Soviet music, approaches to analysing scores, manuscripts and available recordings.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00028775

Keywords:

Preludes, Fugues, composers, Soviet Union, Dmitri Shostakovich, Rodion Shchedrin, Sergei Slonimsky, Nikolai Kapustin, Dmitri Smirnov, Valentin Bibik, Alexander Yakovchuk, Myroslav Skoryk

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music

Date:

2009

Item ID:

28775

Date Deposited:

12 Jun 2020 09:15

Last Modified:

12 Jun 2020 09:16

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/28775

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