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Fedorovskaya, Natalya

The Role of Rhetoric in the Russian Culture of Spiritual Singing in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (by the Example of a Repentance Theme)

Ph.D. Far-Eastern State Technical University (Russia), 2003
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A central focus of this thesis is to determine the role of a word and music rhetoric in the sacred musical compositions characterized by the theme of repentance in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Russia. These compositions were written in such genres as sacred (or spiritual) verse, "partes concert", motets and classical choral concertos. Spiritual verse is a genre of monody which appeared in medieval Russia and was notated in znamenny (krukovoi) notation. Even in the late eighteenth century the performance of spiritual verses followed medieval traditions. The "partes concert", motet and classical choral concerto are polyphonic genres which appeared in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, notated on a five-line staff. In the latter genres, the influence of Western European musical traditions on Russia is especially pronounced.

The theme of repentance played an important role in Christianity and often became a basis for religious compositions. Such subjects (the Crying of Adam, Doomsday and spiritual texts -- Plachy i setuiy and Plachy i ridaiy -- as well as other subjects and texts) often appeared in the genres of spiritual verse, the "partes concert", the motet and the classical choral concerto. The present thesis confirms the opinions of Annushkin (1998), Marchenko (1994) and other researchers, that this rhetoric appeared in Russia long before the well-known manual of Lomonosov, "Rhetoric", written in 1748.

Two periods in the development of rhetoric in Russian Orthodox Christianity should be considered. The first of them, the medieval period, began at the end of the tenth century end finished in the early seventeenth century. During this period rhetorical principles penetrated from the Byzantine Church, together with Orthodox Christianity, into Russia. In Russia's Middle Ages rhetoric existed in Christian texts and entered homiletics (art of the homily). The second period, the "New Time" (Modern Era), lasted from the late seventeenth to the early eighteenth century. It is characterized by the powerful influence of Western European rhetoric on Russian rhetoric, and the appearance of the first rhetorical treatises (for example, the "Rhetoric" of Bishop Makaria of 1617-1619).

In the present thesis the author offers a new method for analysing text-music relationships in Russian sacred compositions. This analysis follows a rhetorical method, and includes the investigation of the disposition and rhetorical figures in the text and music of compositions. Texts in spiritual verses, "partes concert" and other genres are arranged according to the laws of rhetorical disposition and contain rhetorical figures.

This rhetorical method allows the monodic spiritual verses, notated in znamenny (krukovoi) notation, to be compared with polyphonic "partes concerts" and other genres notated in five-line notation. In znamenny notation, such terms as "popevka", "fita" and "lizo" comprise musico-rhetorical figures. And musico-rhetorical principles (disposition and figures) are revealed in both spiritual verse and "partes concert" -- confirming the continuity of musical traditions from the Medieval period (in spiritual verse) to the Modern period (in "partes concert"). It should be noted that the function of the musical figures changed. In spiritual verse the figures emphasize the words of the text and play a form-building role. In the "partes concert", the figures play an ornamental role: for example, figures such as the anabasis (ascent), exclamatio (exclamation), suspiratio (sigh), etc. Thirty-three spiritual verses are transcribed by the author, six of them being given in the text of the thesis.