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  • Russian Sacred Music of the Late Nineteenth Century: Differences and Similarities of the Moscow and St. Petersburg Schools in Theory and Practice in

    an Age of Reform.

    Nataliia Kornetova

    BEd, Voronezh State Pedagogical University

    A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at

    The University of Queensland in 2017

    School of Music

  • ii


    The history of music in the Russian Orthodox Church is a long and complex one that

    evolved alongside the cultural, political, and social developments of the church since the

    Christianisation of ancient Rus'1 in the tenth century. Similar to many aspects of Russian cultural

    life, church music underwent a development that is now seen not only in the context of changes

    within the country, but also through foreign influences since the seventeenth century. Following the

    strongly Western flavour of the work of D. S. Bortnyansky, as composer and church-music

    authority of the eighteenth century, and the censorship of N. I. Bakhmetev of church music during

    the 1860s and 70s, possibilities emerged, in a climate of debate, for the revitalisation and reform of

    Russian church music.

    During the mid to later stages of the nineteenth century, church music was also affected by

    the intellectual climate in which the pros and cons of integration with Western culture were hotly

    debated. In particular, the reformist agenda settled on composers, inspired by the thinking of S. V.

    Smolensky, centred in Moscow. From this arose competing ideologies (paralleled in many rivalries

    between the two capitals) amongst composers grouped, on the one hand, in Moscow (such as S. V.

    Smolensky, A. D. Kastal'sky, S. I. Taneyev, M. M. Ippolitov-Ivanov, A. T. Grechaninov, and P. G.

    Chesnokov) and, on the other, St. Petersburg (such as P. I. Tchaikovsky, N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov,

    and A. A. Arkhangel'sky).

    As in any process around reform, the debate about church music at the end of the nineteenth

    century reveals differences in doctrine and practice. The current thesis contends, through an

    examination of selected representative works of Russian church music from the late nineteenth and

    early twentieth centuries (prior to 1917), that the theory-practice gap was more significant than is

    usually recognised, and, moreover, has this phenomenon is not as well understood as it deserved to


    Early chapters review the current state of knowledge in the field (chapter 1) and develop a

    context for understanding the motivations and actions of the reformists (chapter 2), as well as

    documenting and discussing the specific nature of and problems inherent in the reforms (chapter 3).

    In chapter 4, a range of representative works of composers from both the Moscow and St.

    Petersburg schools of late-nineteenth-century Russian sacred music are examined from a range of

    parameters (textual, textural, intervallic, and compositional) showing that claims about differences

    are overstated. The conclusion provides a synthesis of the contextual and critical chapters and

    1. This term refers to a federation of East Slavics tribes. Its territory stretched from Baltic Sea to Black Sea and covered territories of current Eastern Europe that includes Belarus, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia Russia, and Ukraine.

  • iii

    provides explanations for the discrepancy in theory and practice based on a range of causes, from

    the purely pragmatic to the ideological and the political.

  • iv

    Declaration by author

    This thesis is composed of my original work, and contains no material previously published or

    written by another person except where due reference has been made in the text. I have clearly

    stated the contribution by others to jointly-authored works that I have included in my thesis.

    I have clearly stated the contribution of others to my thesis as a whole, including statistical

    assistance, survey design, data analysis, significant technical procedures, professional editorial

    advice, and any other original research work used or reported in my thesis. The content of my thesis

    is the result of work I have carried out since the commencement of my research higher degree

    candidature and does not include a substantial part of work that has been submitted to qualify for

    the award of any other degree or diploma in any university or other tertiary institution. I have

    clearly stated which parts of my thesis, if any, have been submitted to qualify for another award.

    I acknowledge that an electronic copy of my thesis must be lodged with the University Library and,

    subject to the policy and procedures of The University of Queensland, the thesis be made available

    for research and study in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968 unless a period of embargo has

    been approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.

    I acknowledge that copyright of all material contained in my thesis resides with the copyright

    holder(s) of that material. Where appropriate I have obtained copyright permission from the

    copyright holder to reproduce material in this thesis.

  • v

    Publications during candidature

    No publications.

    Publications included in this thesis

    No publications included.

  • vi

    Contributions by others to the thesis

    No contributions by others.

    Statement of parts of the thesis submitted to qualify for the award of another degree


  • vii


    Firstly, I would like to thank the staff and librarians of the University of Queesnaland

    Architecture and Music Library for providing prompt advice on books and periodical literature. I

    thank Sarah Evans from Research Information Services for continuous assistance with finding

    books in libraries overseas.

    I also thank staff members of the School of Music. I would also like to express appreciation

    to the School of Music’s Research and RHD Administrative Officer, Elizabeth Farrington, for her

    assistance and support throughout my PhD course.

    I would like to express sincere appreciation and thanks to my principal advisor, Dr. Simon

    Perry, for his tremendous mentoring and encouragement in progress with my research. I express my

    gratitude to Dr. Perry for insightful comments and advice that helped to widen my research from

    various perspectives. I would like to thank my associate advisor Dr. Denis Collins for valuable

    comments, especially on the Russian contrapuntalist S. I. Taneyev.

    I am grateful to our friend, Lynne Anderson, for her support along the way.

    Last but not least, I would like to thank my dear husband for supporting me emotionally throughout

    writing of this thesis and in my life in general.

  • viii


    church music, Russian Orthodox, history and criticism, analysis

    Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classifications (ANZSRC)

    ANZSRC code: 190409 Musicology and Ethnomusicology, 100%

    Fields of Research (FoR) Classification

    FoR code: 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing, 100%

  • ix

    Table of Contents

    Abstract ii

    Declaration by author iv

    Publications during candidature v

    Contributions by others to the thesis vi

    Acknowledgements vii

    Keywords viii

    List of Tables

    List of Musical Examples

    List of Abbreviations




    Note on Translation and Transliteration




    Chapter 1—Review of Literature 11

    1.1. Russian sacred music: history and historiography 11

    1.2. Changes in research directions after 1917 20

    1.3. Research of Russian sacred music in the post-Soviet era

    1.4. Research of Russian sacred music in Western scholarly literature



    Chapter 2—Preconditions for Reform of Russian Sacred Music in the Later

    Nineteenth Century

    2.1. Cultural and political context: The relationship of church and state

    2.2. Historical overview of Russian church music and nineteenth-century

    historiographical awareness

    2.3. Nineteenth-century views on Russian sacred music and the reform agenda

    Chapter 3—Late-Nineteenth-Century Russian Sacred Music, Composers, and Reforms

    3.1. Late-nineteenth-century composers of sacred music in the reformist


    3.2. Smolensky, Kastal'sky, Taneyev, and Grechaninov

    3.3. Purported differences between the two Russian schools of sacred music:

    Evaluating the objectives and claims of the reformist composers

    Chapter 4—Critical Discussion of Selected Repertoire of the Moscow and

    St. Petersburg Schools

    4.1. Critical discussion of selected repertoire of the Moscow school

    4.1.1. Text setting


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