Interview with Tatiana Bershadskaya_reMusik.org № 2-110830

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					    reMusik Journal




    Saint-Petersburg Contemporary Music Center

Monday, September 05, 2011 • Interview: № 2-110830 - 2011.                                  | Organization | Publication | Recourse Center | Journal | News |


                                                                                                         artistic creation itself and all theories are
                                                                                                         born as a generalization of artistic
                                                                                                         searches of composers. Now, things are
                                                                                                         so variegated that if you look at only the
                                                                                                         European continent, it is difficult to
                                                                                                         imagine some kind of uniform or
                                                                                                                      conception.
                                                                                                         prevailing conceptio I can say now that
                                                                                                         we have, especially in western music
                                                                                                         theory, a certain substitution of ideas
                                                                                                         about musical systems as with laws, born
                                                                                                         by the essence of musical intonation, to a
                                                                                                         conception of them as the sum of various
                                                                                                                                        Western
                                                                                                         compositional techniques. Wester and
                                                                                                         modern        Russian     composers       and
                                                                                                         musicologists are very occupied with this
                                                                                                         at the moment. Testimony to this can be
                                                                                                         found in the published book “Theory of
                                                                                                         Composition in the 20th Century” by
                                                                        Photo by Natalia Krivtsova       authors from Moscow. Essentially, in the
                                                                                                         book they talk about te  techniques. In this
                                                                                                         relationship, the name of the book by
    Tatiana Bershadskaya. The voice of Russian                                                           Kogoutek “Technique of Contemporary
                                                                                                         Composition,” seems to me to more
    music theory in the 20th and 21st century.                                                           accurately correspond to its contents. I
                                                                                                         personally make a very clear distinction
                                                                                                         between the “technique of composition”
                                                                                                         and the l      laws generated by the
                                                          What position does music theory                “intonation essence” of music. In this
                                                    occupy in our present times? Is it                   sense, I would like to think that I am a
                                                                                                         true follower of the national trends of
                                                    possible to talk about some sort of                  music theory. I think that I have reason
                                                    theoretical teaching, like a generally               to say that Russian music theory, as a
                                                    (at      least   within    one     continent)        whole, is based more on the study o theof
                                                                                                         intonation process itself in music.
                                                    accepted conception of a musical
                                                                                                         Yavorsky and Asafiev made the start at
                                                    system, similar, for example, to the                 the turn of the 19th to the 20th century.
Stanislava Evtyushina                                                                                    They spoke about intonation as the
                                                    conception of the major-minor system
                                                                                                         essential aspect of music. In general, I
                                                    of the 18th-19th centuries? If this isn’t
     This interview with Tatiana                                                                         have to say that the concepts of
                                                    possible, then what theoretical schools              procedural music and fun   functionality are
Bershadskaya1, one of the oldest
musicologists, music theorists and                  (or trends) could we name?                           typical for Russian music theory. (Of
respected figures of Russian arts and                                                                    course, I could be mistaken because; it’s
professor of the St. Petersburg State                    It’s difficult for me to answer such a          embarrassing for me to say that I might
Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, was                   general question so quickly. I can at least          not have studied so well all of the trends
lead by the St. Petersburg Center for               say that we will probably not find such a            of western music theory. I talk about it in
Contemporary Music – “reMusik.org.”                 universally accepted theory in our times             a way that seems true to me.)
                                                    likes the major-minor system. This is the                  In tthe words of T. Bershadskaya,
1
 Официальный сайт Т.С. Бершадской :                 case because there are too many trends in            our national theory of music differs from
www.remusik.org/bershadskaya/


                                                                                                                                                        |1
© Санкт-Петербургский центр современной академической музыки                                                                         www.remusik. or g
    reMusik Journal




    Saint-Petersburg Contemporary Music Center

Monday, September 05, 2011 • Interview: № 2-110830 - 2011.                                       | Organization | Publication | Recourse Center | Journal | News |


others in its attention to the procedural                   terminology is absolutely in a state of           stay as the Leningrad conservatory). This
aspect, the functionality of music and to                   disorder, full of various names and               is, of course, the school of Yuri Tyulin,
a certain system of the intonation                          terms, which theorists, sometimes within          who is the founder of the concept of
process. This idea is exemplified in the                    one current or trend, understand                  variable      functions    and     general
theory of “musical form as a process,”                      differently or with one term define two           functionality and systemic order.
which occupied a large role in the work                     different things. In this sense, the state of     Function (more often than not lad
of Asafiev, in the theory of functionality                  our terminology forces us to judge                             which
                                                                                                              function), whic in classical theory is
and changeable functions of Yuri Tyulin,                    musicology and music theory as still a            understood as an unshakeable feature of
in the concepts of Kushnarev, who for                       very imperfect science.                           a concrete chord in a concrete system,
the first time spoke about monadic lads2                                                                      turned out to be moveable and became a
as a system and in his functional                             “… Russian music theory,                        part of the process. Yuri Tyulin
organization, which is completely                             as a whole, is based more                       transferred this idea of a procedural
equivalent to the major-minor harmonic                                                                        system to all aspects of music. When
                                                              on the study of the
system. Kushnarev spoke about monadic                                                                               n
                                                                                                              Tyulin speaks of the variableness of
lads for the first time as a complete
                                                              intonation process itself in                    function, he talks about this not only in
functional system. Before this, monodies                      music”.                                         the context of harmony and lads but also
were chiefly looked upon with the                                                                             in the context of functionality of form in
position that they were more or less                             Tatiana Bershadskaya thinks that             a way that merges with Asafiev’s
sound rows rather than functional                           working out an exact terminology should           understanding of form as a process.
systems. Kushnarev set up defined,                          be the first task at hand or in any case                                  something
                                                                                                              Although this wasn’t somethin fixed in
specific functions for monadic lads and                     one of the first tasks in music theory,           stone for them in some specific works,
with these, in the judgment of                              which must be done in order that                  we as students constantly heard this in
Bershadskaya, made a discovery in the                       musicologists and musicians understand            our lessons. This was eventually picked
theory of musical systems.                                  each other to a satisfying degree. In the         up and developed as a general problem
     So, the role of our national theory of                 opinion of Bershadskaya, this problem             of the functionality of music in the work
music in the area of the Theory of                          unfortunately is not being observed. This         of Anatoly Milki and as a problem of the
Musical Systems, and above all, in the                      once again underlines the situation that                ionality
                                                                                                              functionality and variableness of the
area of lads (of which, until now has not                   we have an absence of a single,                   function of form in the work of Viktor
fully received a similar term and                           generally       accepted      conception.         Bobrovsky. Especially Tyulin formed all
definition in foreign conceptions), in my                   Musicians look at many things quite               of these ideas as a general principle. I
opinion is undeniable.                                      differently and by working this problem           have already spoken about the role of
                                                            out, in at least some kind of starting            Asafiev as the founder of the concept of
     Tatiana Sergeevna, you have very
                                                            positions, a single conception of                 intonation.
clearly outlined the status of affairs in
                                                            terminology can be had. According to                   Leo Mazel, a marvelous musician,
the very essence of music theory. Do
                                                            Tatiana Bershadskaya, the efforts of              analyzer, and theorist of the Moscow
you think that this status is reflected in
                                                            musicologist should be directed toward            school, was one of the brightest figures
the terminology, which is used in the
                                                            this goal.                                        of the 20th century. There was also
music world today?
                                                                                                              Viktor Zuckerman who worked at the
                                                                Tatiana Sergeevna, could you tell             same time and also jointly with Mazel
     On this subject, I can add one wise
                                                            us please what are the more famous                was a preacher of integrated analysis of
quote of Nikolai Chernishevsky, which
                                                            names in Russian music theory?                    musical works.
says, “the state of scientific terminology
in use is demonstrated in the state of the                       Well, you know there are very many                In the opinion of Bershadskaya,
sciences.” With this thought in mind,                       big names. I will, of course, talk mainly         Christoph Kushnarev was a great
you can say that our musical science                        about those people that I knew and with           master, composer, expert of polyphony
presents itself as a rather sad picture. Our                whom I have interacted. I will also talk          and the creator of a particularly strict
                                                            mainly about my St. Petersburg, or to be          teaching method. Bershadskaya suggests
2
  Lad – A pitch-specific system of subordination of a       more exact, Leningrad conservatory                that the most important thing handed
defined row of pitches or sound elements logically
differentiated by the degree and form of their inhibiting   (because for me it will, always in a way,         down from him was his discovery of the
or supporting roles.


                                                                                                                                                             |2
© Санкт-Петербургский центр современной академической музыки                                                                              www.remusik. or g
 reMusik Journal




Saint-Petersburg Contemporary Music Center

Monday, September 05, 2011 • Interview: № 2-110830 - 2011.                              | Organization | Publication | Recourse Center | Journal | News |


theory of monodic lads, which he created            things that have been traditionally                   My interests were developed in the
from his own national Armenian                      accepted in the past.                            process of study and further professional
monodic music, but which, of course,                      Certainly,   Bershadskaya        feels     activities. I can immediately say that,
greatly     outstepped     the    narrow            closest to problems dealing with                 above all, it is about the problems of
nationalistic framework as it sheds light           harmony and lads and because of that             musical language, of musical intonation
on many new laws, including many                    cannot speak on the topic of Yuri                and the musical pitch system.
regarding contemporary music. In the                Holopov, a brilliant musicologist who                 I began as an adherent to the
words of Bershadskaya, the theory of                created a very large school of thought           problems of harmony having studied in
Kushnarev resonates with the teachings              (in the present case, T.B. is talking about      the class of Nikolai Privano and later
of different national cultures, for                 the degree of prevalence of his concepts,        with Yuri Tyulin.
example with the modal theories of                  which were picked up all throughout                   In the center of Bershadskaya’s
monody of the Near East. Tatiana                    Russia). A different question would be           interests, lie the problems of harmony
Bershadskaya has much evidence to                   how she views these concepts.                    and form. Her final paper to enter
show that the Far East (Mongolia, and               T. Bershadskaya has a bit of doubt about         graduate school was a “complex
China) is responding to this concept. She           his ideas. She doesn’t agree with many                             symphonies of Dvorak.
                                                                                                     analysis” of the symphon
thinks that, maybe, these theorists didn’t          of the fundamental concepts, above all           This paper allowed her to enter the
properly know the work of Kushnarev                 with his rejection of the material               graduate      course    of Y.       Tyulin.
and     already     focused    on     her           substance of harmony, which in her view          Afterwards, Tyulin moved back to
                                                                                                     Tashkent and Bershadskaya fell into the
                              “One of the most important points, that I can                          class of Kushnarev. This move ended up
                              consider a real find of my own, is the concept of a                    defining her future interests and
                              carrier or informant of lad functions. I’m talking                     existence.     Her    dissertation     was
                                                                                                                                            w
                                                                                                     concerned with polyphony in Russian
                              about a certain structure, which is capable of
                                                                                                     folk songs. Although she doesn’t
                              informing us about the functional meaning of a
                                                                                                     consider herself to be a folklorist or
                              given sound group”.                                                    ethnomusicologist, this work, which was
                                                                                                     published in 1961, is still being used as a
interpretation of the given concept.                creates a lot of confusion. Soon, a small        reference in Russia and abroad.
Bershadskaya has received many letters              book on the subject by Bershadskaya will              Interaction     with       Kushnarev
from Mongolia and China with                        come out detailing her objections to              ombined
                                                                                                     combined with what he gave me and
responses of thanks. All of this shows              Holopov. In the words of Bershadskaya            what I had absorbed from Tyulin gave
how much the theory of Kushnarev is                 “we have our differences on this topic,          rise to all of my later research and
really quite valid.                                 but Holopov is certainly one of the              investigation and gave direction to all of
     These are the people whom T.                   brightest.”                                      my observations and generalizations. I
Bershadskaya places in the top row.                      It’s very difficult for me to answer        was occupied with the general problems
     T. Bershadskaya says that there has            questions outright about my colleagues.          of the musical system, above all
been much interesting work done by                  It’s always a bit dangerous that you             problems of lads. Recently, I have been
Julia Yevdokimovaya. The work was                   might forget someone or not name                 working more and more on lads. I was
done during her school years and                    another. I would like to ask all of my           interested in the problems of lads as a
according to Bershadskaya; it is still              colleagues to forgive me for any possible        universally binding, language category
hard to judge “because we are talking               missteps. If I didn’t name someone, it’s         of music, which is independent from the
about a very young person who,                      not because I don’t recognize them or            question of whether there is concrete
unfortunately, left this world at a very            don’t want to consider their point of            tonic or not. I am becoming more and
early age.” Yevdokimovaya has works                 view, it’s just because I name the people        more convinced, and continue to insist,
about polyphony that in the judgment of             whose ideas I am constantly and directly         that outside of lads, intelligent and
Bershadskaya are very interesting, which            connected with.                                  comprehensible music cannot exist and
compel us to look differently at many                                                                the system and organization of lads for
                                                         What is the fundamental direction           music is necessary in the same way that
                                                    of your work?

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© Санкт-Петербургский центр современной академической музыки                                                                     www.remusik. or g
 reMusik Journal




Saint-Petersburg Contemporary Music Center

Monday, September 05, 2011 • Interview: № 2-110830 - 2011.                             | Organization | Publication | Recourse Center | Journal | News |


grammatical        subordinations       are         Chopin, we clearly hear a functionally          evacuated to Tashkent around the 20th of
necessary for verbal language. I would              directed chord in each of these points.         August. Only a small group of people
also like to say that the structural                I’m talking about something else: not           stayed, and as scary as it is to say,
similarities between verbal and musical             about a principle of communication, but         continued to study and teach. At this
language happen to be one of the                    about the point as the bearer of function,      time, I was a student in the second
directions of my recent work. I have also           which in mono-harmonic systems is               course (to be more ex    exact, I had just
written an article on this idea. It’s               carried out not by a chord but by a tone.       passed from the first to the second
exactly this conception of lads that took           The chord can exist but it cannot express       course).
me to the idea of lads as a universal               lad function. I consider this to be very             During the first days of the war,
language system in music; acting in                 important in this conception, which, in         everybody was still here but we were
many different forms from one-voice to              summary, I came to hear from Tyulin             quickly mobilized in locale air  air-defense
polyphonic textures.                                and Kushnarev and was revealed to me            teams. I was on a team for management
      One of the most important points,             in the reading of Asafiev, and finally,         of and communication with firefighters.
that I can consider a real find of my own,          which I tried to bring together into one             e
                                                                                                    In the famous picture of Shostakovich on
is the concept of a carrier or informant of         unified system. In the first place, I am        a roof, somewhere it is possible,
lad functions. I’m talking about a certain          firmly convinced that the lad is a              probably, to find me, in so far as I was
structure, which is capable of informing            universally effective category. Secondly,       also there at the time. It was really a time
us about the functional meaning of a                we will never be able to establish a finite     of anxiety but in an educational way. I
given sound group. In the classical                 number of existing lad systems. I believe       really remember well the taking of this
major-minor system, a single tone cannot            that there are as many lad systems as           photo.
be the informant of lad function; only a            there are musical texts, that, along with
chord has this capability. In monody, a             stabilizing stereotypes, every text can
                                                                                                         I
                                                                                                       “I am f  firmly convinced that
tone is sovereign and chords are not                create it’s own system (like the breaking
                                                                                                       the lad is a universally effective
required to confirm the lad function.               of laws in spoken language). On the
                                                                                                       category. Secondly, we will
Oppositely, in music that develops on the           other hand, I propose a scheme, through
                                                                                                       never be able to establish a
basis of monophonic intonation, even                which we can examine and classify the
                                                                                                       finite number of existing lad
with multiple voices, a tone can                    system being used in every separate case.
                                                                                                       systems. I believe that there
consonantly dictate the function. I divide          I propose a series of separate and
                                                                                                       are as many lad systems as
lad informants into three categories: a             important indicators: the type of
                                                                                                       there are musical texts, that,
tone, a chord, and finally, a tone, colored         functionality, the type of sound material
                                                                                                       along       with       stabilizing
by a chord, which by itself does not act            and so on, all of which divides into many
                                                                                                          ereotypes,
                                                                                                       stereotypes, every text can
as a definer of function. To me it seems            of my subcategories, each of which can
                                                                                                       create it’s own system (like the
that nobody has really mentioned this.              continue into infinity, specified only by
                                                                                                       breaking of laws in spoken
This is because conceptions of the role of          the direction of their characteristics.
                                                                                                       language)”.
                                                                                                       language)
melodic connections and organization of                  This would be the main direction of
systems as melodically connected chords             my thought, in which the problems of
existed long ago. Reti, Persichetti and             lads have formed into a stock of                     When most of the conservatory had
many others speak about this, but not               polyphony, melody, harmony and all the          gone, we the remaining people continued
one of these people asks questions about            other forms of musical organization.            to be a part of these war teams. We had a
what, in these circumstances, acts as the                                                           headquarters for the air-defense. I have
                                                        Tatiana Sergeevna, tell us please           saved with me, printed on papyrus paper,
expresser of function and then there
                                                    about    the   wartime      at    the                                              Tatiana
                                                                                                    identifications that state that I, Tat
won’t be differences between, let’s say,
                                                    conservatory?                                   Sergeevna Bershadskaya was a fighter
the harmony of Bartok and the harmony
of Chopin in the case of ellipses, i.e., of                                                         on the conservatory command and
                                                         Yes, I can really say quite a lot
movement, for example, from the                                                                     communications team. I have two
                                                    about this. I spent all of the war and
dominant of C major to the seventh                                                                  papers: one signed by P. Serebyakov
                                                    blockade in Leningrad and was closely
chord built on the second scale degree of                                                                        evacuation and the second
                                                                                                    before the evac
                                                    connected to the conservatory during that
F major or F minor. When we listen to                                                               signed by Tihomirovaya, who was the
                                                    time. The key staff of the conservatory


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© Санкт-Петербургский центр современной академической музыки                                                                    www.remusik. or g
 reMusik Journal




Saint-Petersburg Contemporary Music Center

Monday, September 05, 2011 • Interview: № 2-110830 - 2011.                             | Organization | Publication | Recourse Center | Journal | News |


headquarters commander after the                    Lyublinsky, who had just returned from
evacuation.                                         the front (where he had lost one eye).                  Tatiana Sergeevna BerBershadskaya
                                                                                                     was born on July 4th, 1921 in Petrograd
      We lived at the conservatory in                     So, we were able to have classes,          (from 1924 – 1991 the city of Leningrad,
barracks. They let us go home once                  but, if suddenly during the lesson the air       from 1991 – present the city of Saint
every few days. When the alarms                     raid sirens went off, all the classrooms         Petersburg). She is a musicologist,
                                                                                                     professor, Doctor of art history, Honored
sounded, we fled to the roof or to the              were closed and we ran to our posts. We          Russian Art Worker, and member of the
attics. When the firebombs fell, we had             suffered from hunger and cold, but we            Union of Composers.
to put them out. My duties were mostly              continued to study. The conservatory                    T.Bershadskaya studied music
                                                                                                            T.Ber
                                                                                                     throughout her childhood. Having
in the attics. To this day, I know by heart         lived.                                           finished secondary school, she entered
all of the attics and their numbers at the                In the spring of 1942, a great joy         history/theory department of the music
conservatory. For example, attic number             awaited the remaining people in                  school N.A Rimsky  Rimsky-Korsakov and
                                                                                                     graduated in 1940. The same year she
one is located in the opera studio;                 Leningrad. A present was sent to the             entered     history/theory    branch      of
numbers three and four are on the fifth             conservatory from our friends in                 Leningrad Conservatory (now known as
floor of the Small Hall, attic number               Tashkent. I’m not speaking about this            the St. Petersburg Conservatory).
                                                                                                            Since 1945 she has been working as
eight is on the fifth floor of the academic         from a material standpoint; for the              a teacher of harmony and form at the
building where the classes of the foreign           starving Leningrad Conservatory, a gift                               Rimsky-Korsakov and
                                                                                                     music school N.A Rimsky
department are. All of this, for me, is still       of rice and dried fruit was something                                Conservatory. In 1960,
                                                                                                     since 1979, at the Conse
                                                                                                     she received the title of lecturer and in
just “living material.”                             simply unbelievable. This was not the            1979 she was awarded with a professor
      Despite the fact that we were                 most important thing. More important             title.
members of a war team, we still studied             were the feelings of camaraderie and of                 Since the 1960s, she has been
                                                                                                     involved in the study of theoretical
at the same time. We had classrooms                 someone to lean on – “They didn’t forget         problems of harmony and mode as
where lessons were taking place. If I               us!” – this was the most important thing.        general categories of music. In 1978, her
remember correctly, there were thirty-              Somehow, after that, things became a bit                 “Lectures on Harmony” (second
                                                                                                     book “Lec
                                                                                                     edition – 1985, third edition – 2004),
nine of us left. Recently, the                      easier.                                          which brought together the results of
conservatory put out a compilation called                 The day the blockade was lifted and        many years of study and reflection, was
“The Leningrad Conservatory During the              the words of Levitan “Citizens of                issued. In 1985, she defended her PhD
                                                                                                     thesis based on materials of this book.
War Years” were they listed all of the              Leningrad, the firing no longer threatens               Quite a lot of her works over recent
students that continued to study there at           you!” are unforgettable. This day sticks         years have been issued including her own
                                                                                                     collection of “Articles of different years”
the time. I was a part of this group.               in my memory even a bit more than the
                                                                                                     (2004) which contains articles of
      The classes we had were all run by            9th of May.                                      absolutely new directions of thought such
the use of oil lamps and the students all                 In the spring of 1944, everyone            as “Analogies and parallels in musical
                                                                                                     and verbal languages” together with early
wore fur coats and felt boots. The                  from the conservatory returned and
                                                                                                     works.               Polemical       article
conservatory, like everyone else, was not           slowly things began to return to normal.         “Misunderstanding becoming a tradition
yet finished. You can definitely imagine                                                             (dedicated to the problems of tonal and
                                                         Thank you so much, Tatiana                  modal modes)”, concerning the problem
how it must have been. The teachers
                                                    Sergeevna,  for  the  fascinating                of classifying modal systems, was printed
wore gloves with cutout fingers when                                                                 in the magazine “Musical Academy” №1,
                                                    interview.                                       2008.
they played the grand pianos because
without them it was impossible. The
keys were very icy. History of music
lectures were given by Mikhail Druskin,
                                                                                                           More about Tatiana Bershadskaya:
instrumentation by Rudolf Mervolf and
                                                                                                            www.remusik.org/bershadskaya/
analysis by Vladimir Berf. All of these
professors with the exception of Druskin
died of hunger during these years.
Ekaterina Dalgovet, one of the more
famous pianists of her time, held a
general piano course, and later, when she
died, the course was taken up by the


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Description: Tatiana Bershadskaya. The voice of Russian music theory in the 20th and 21st century. This interview with Tatyana Bershadskaya, one of the oldest musicologists, music theorists and respected figures of Russian arts and professor of the St. Petersburg State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, was lead by the St. Petersburg Center for Contemporary Music – “reMusik.org.”