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Music of Russia. Russian Federation. Largest country in world (spans Europe and Asia) Demographics: 80% ethnic Russian Religion: Eastern Orthodoxy (establ. 988) is predominant. 1861-abolition of serfdom 1917-coup ended 300 years of monarchy 1922- Soviet Union formed (White Army defeated)

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Overview l.jpg

Largest country in world (spans Europe and Asia)

Demographics: 80% ethnic Russian

Religion: Eastern Orthodoxy (establ. 988) is predominant

1861-abolition of serfdom

1917-coup ended 300 years of monarchy

1922- Soviet Union formed (White Army defeated)

1991-dissolution of Soviet Union

Overview


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Music of the Peasants

  • Feudal social system: serfs considered property of landowner, obliged to give percentage of crop to landowner

  • Layering of Christian traditions and rituals over older pagan beliefs

  • Lives governed by family and agricultural cycles

1909 Peasant Girls (Prokudin-Gorskii)


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Peasant Music

  • Songs and music were integral to village life

  • Types of songs:

    1. calendar songs (e.g. pre-Lenten songs, seasonal festivals, harvest songs

    2. rite of passage songs (esp. wedding songs and dances)

    3. Work songs (e.g. harvesting, haymaking)


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Music of the Cossacks

  • Militaristic communities, renowned for self-reliance and horsemanship

  • Allegiances: religion and motherland

  • Group singing is heterophonic, melody is middle voice

  • Songs often historical epics


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The Russian Folk Orchestra

  • Originated in 19th cent. Elite interest in “national character”.


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Vasiliy Vasilievich Andreyev (1861-1918)

  • “Father” of the Russian Folk Orchestra

  • Adapted and arranged folk music for the salon and stage

  • Composed new pieces


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Russian Folk Orchestra

  • Appropriated, controlled, used by Soviets as state-supported “new folk music.”

  • Establishment of conservatories for study of “folk instruments” (i.e. balalaika, domra, bayan); composition, conducting

  • Post-Soviet period, “Russian Folk Music” conservatories and ensembles still exist.


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Instruments

BALALAIKA

BAYAN

DOMRA

GUSLI


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The Slavonic Bass

  • Feodor Chaliapin (Russian) (1873-1938). Considered one of greatest opera singers; debuted with Met in 1907; lived in exile since 1921.

  • Boris Christoff (Bulgarian) (1914-1993). Sang as boy in church choir; famous for opera; religious music; Russian songs.


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