Non-conformism or nationalism? Yuriy Butsko and his “Russian dodecaphony”

Dubinets, Elena (2015) Non-conformism or nationalism? Yuriy Butsko and his “Russian dodecaphony”. Studia Musicologica, 56 (4). pp. 317-325. ISSN 1788-6244


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During most of the Soviet era, it was considered ideologically suspect — and anti-nationalistic — to perform, compose, or study any kind of sacred music. How some composers who identified with Orthodoxy conveyed their spirituality through their art in spite of official prohibitions illuminates an interesting way of expressing Russian identity through heritage revival. This paper explores a unique compositional technique that bridged liturgical experience and the concert stage by means of a rather calculated but inspired methodology that expanded the znamenny chant structure into a 12-tone row. Starting with his Polyphonic Concerto (1969), composer Yuriy Butsko (1938–2015) successfully adapted the old chant to modern times while preserving its religious meaning. “Butsko’s row” indigenized a transnational compositional technique (dodecaphony) by kneading principles of Russian chant scale into its core. In the midst of the Cold War a Russian composer reached out to the world by globalizing an inherent pre-Soviet musical element. At the time (though seemingly without any explicit intent on the part of the composer) this could be considered a non-conformist gesture against the regime. Paradoxically, however, Butsko’s system marked his desire to validate his music as a legitimate means of the Russian national representation. Butsko’s utilization of the znamenny chant could have supported the state, had the state patronized the Orthodoxy.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music / zene, szövegkönyvek, kották > M1 Music / zene
M Music and Books on Music / zene, szövegkönyvek, kották > M1 Music / zene > M10 Theory and philosophy of music / zeneelmélet, muzikológia
Depositing User: László Sallai-Tóth
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2017 06:47
Last Modified: 31 Dec 2017 00:18

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