Internationalism, Regionalism and Glazunov's Raymonda

By Edgecombe, Rodney Stenning | Musical Times, Spring 2008 | Go to article overview

Internationalism, Regionalism and Glazunov's Raymonda


Edgecombe, Rodney Stenning, Musical Times


The year before I Lombardi, Glinka had shown his fellow-Russians how to portray the mysterious East. Slowly his example was to filter through into the rest of Europe; and by the time of Aida the East was comfortably within Verdi's reach - but not yet. There is little to distinguish the idiom of Asians from that of the Crusaders apart from choppy rhythms, tonic pedals and an emphasis on the Neapolitan sixth - devices which, typically, recur in Aida as 'orientalisms', though of course enhanced by a far more subtle and sophisticated technique.1

TO EXPOSE THE ABSENCE of oriental colour in Verdi's I lombardi, Julian Budden invokes the foil of Ruslan and Lyudmila. What Budden means to say, perhaps, is that Glinka showed his fellow Russians how to portray 'the mysterious East' in a novel way, for they had long been familiar with Franco-German approaches to the topic. The first opeéra comique had been staged in St Petersburg in 1764, and one imagines that Boïeldieu's eight-year sojourn in that city would have popularised the 'janissarity' of Le Calife de Bagdad, a sub-idiom known in any case from Mozart's Piano Sonata K.331 and Die Entfürung aus dem Serail. So the 'mysterious East', rather less mysterious for being a part of the larger Russian west, both topographical and cultural, was in some respects a known quantity in 1842 - as known a quantity as the musical heritage that had blown into the country when Peter the Great flung wide its west-facing windows. In those early days, no doubt, such 'occidentalisms' as rigaudons and minuets, not to mention keys with sharpened leading notes (Tchaikovsky decried the fact that the folk songs Tolstoy gave him had been Procrustified into D major) - such things would no doubt have seemed as piquant to Russian ears as janissary tinklings to European.

But when the early composers of art music east of the Neva began to fashion themselves in the image of the west, they specifically chose the image of Italy - or so one can argue from Bortyansky's decision to serve his apprenticeship in that country. Thereby hangs a tale, perhaps, for the Italians were, for a century and a half, largely indifferent to the issue of regionalism (under which are included melodic habits of the Arabian 'east', whether mysterious or not). There is a marked the lack of Scottish colour in Lucia di Lammermoor, whereas even a minor Dane such as Lovenskjold could lace his Sylfiden with reels and strathspeys, and Boieldieu at least tried, in his pale Gallic way, to Caledonise the melodies of La Dame blanche. Budden is right on the money when he suggests that the Verdi's zingaresco functioned as an all-purpose signifier of the other, whether the Muslims in I lombardi or the native Americans in Alzira:

But in general the Orientals of I Lombardi are merely the conventional operatic gypsies, while the incursion of the banda at the word 'Giuriam' with a motif recalling the men's narrative in Act I brings them firmly back to the piazza of Busseto.2

That allusion to Verdi's home piazza will also remind us that the dominance of opera stifled a viable concert tradition, causing its academic music to seek out the salon, where it was rendered light and bloodless by politesse; while at the other extreme, the blaring municipal band became a powerhouse of the popolaresco (that distinguishing 'note' of the primo ottocento).

A rather different situation obtained to the north of the Alps, however, and had obtained there for decades: three distinct layers to choose from in the chocolate box of style. Beethoven, while he developed sonata form in directions that nobody before or since has been able to match, could also splash on the Turkish colour in The ruins of Athens and, situated on the further side of Neva, use the Razumovsky quartets to showcase a different strain of folksiness from the Ländler and Styrienne of his native 'Germania'. So too Haydn before him, an accomplished symphonist, but partial at the same time to the Verbunkos of the Hungarian steppe, and so too Mozart, symphonic master, author of Die Entfürung aus dem Serail, and purveyor of German and country dances - all three. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Internationalism, Regionalism and Glazunov's Raymonda
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.