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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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Publications during candidature
Publications included in this thesis
No publications included.
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
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.
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%
Table of Contents
Declaration by author iv
Publications during candidature v
Contributions by others to the thesis vi
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
2.1. Cultural and political context: The relationship of church and state
2.2. Historical overview of Russian church music and nineteenth-century
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