Music of the Repressed Russian Avant-Garde, 1900-1929

By Larry Sitsky | Go to book overview

3
Aleksei V. Stanchinskiy: The Diatonic Webern

Aleksei Vladimirovich Stanchinskiy, was born on March 9, 1888 in Obolsunovo and died on October 6, 1914 in Logachevo. This extremely talented composer, despite his early death, left a mark on twentieth-century Russian music. As a musician, he began his development very early: at the age of six he had already composed and performed his first piano piece. From 1899 on, Stanchinskiy lived in the village of Logachevo, near Novospasskiy, where Glinka had also spent his youth. The region is very rich in folk music, and this left a strong imprint on the creativity of Stanchinskiy as well. In the autumn of that same year, Stanchinskiy entered the Smolensk High School, where he studied the piano with I. A. Lhevinne and K. R. Eiges, and composition with A. T. Gretchaninov. The latter introduced Stanchinskiy to S. I. Taneev. Working with N. S. Zhilaev and Taneev, Stanchinskiy began producing serious compositions from the age of sixteen onward. Taneev, by all accounts, was somewhat puzzled by, and occasionally hostile to, the young composer's individuality.

After completing high school in the autumn of 1907, Stanchinskiy moved to Moscow and then entered the Conservatoire ( 1909), enrolling in the piano class of K. N. Igumnov, the counterpoint/fugue class of Taneev, and the composition class of Zhilaev who especially appreciated the young composer's gifts. His earliest pieces during this period show a preoccupation with polyphony. Possessing huge creative energies, Stanchinskiy worked in a highly organized and focused fashion and he studied in depth the works of Moussorgsky, Scriabin, Grieg, and Medtner.

In 1908, Stanchinskiy succumbed to a schizophrenic illness, apparently triggered by the death of his father. He spent a year in a clinic, alternating between periods of lucidity, religious mania, and hallucination. One symptom of the illness was a violent dislike of his work, and he managed to destroy a number of his own manuscripts. Some works, however, were rescued and reconstructed by friends and his teacher, Zhilaev. He was eventually released from the clinic, although pronounced incurable, and managed to compose sporadically for the remaining few years of his life.

It was at this time that he developed a kind of obsession about pure polyphony and canon in particular -- perhaps a manifestation of his mental illness. Gradually, Stanchinskiy abandoned free composition and moved closer and closer to a very strict counterpoint, with often polytonal layering of sound. He wished to compose "objective" music, as against "subjective" music, an idea espoused at the same time by the Russian philosopher, Gurdjieff.

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Music of the Repressed Russian Avant-Garde, 1900-1929
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • 1 1
  • Bibliography 7
  • Part I - The Precursors 10
  • 2 - Vladimir I. Rebikov: The Inventor of Whole-Tone Music 10
  • Bibliography 25
  • 3: Aleksei V. Stanchinskiy 27
  • Part II - The Big Three 38
  • 4 - Nikolai A. Roslavets: The Russian Schoenberg 38
  • Bibliography 58
  • 5: Aleksandr V. Mosolov 60
  • 6: Arthur V. Lourié 87
  • Part III - The Smaller Five 111
  • 7 - Leonid A. Polovinkin: The Partial Avant-Gardist 111
  • Bibliography 132
  • 8 - Vladimir V. Shcherbachev: Old Wine in New Vessels 133
  • 9: Lev K. Knipper 149
  • 10: Boris N. Liatoshinski 158
  • 11 - Vladimir M. Deshevov: The Man of the Theater 171
  • Part IV - The Reluctant Avant-Gardists 183
  • 12 - Samuil E. Feinberg: The Post-Scriabin Pianist 183
  • Bibliography 198
  • 13: Anatoliy N. Aleksandrov 199
  • 14 - Boris A. Aleksandrov: Son of the Composer of the Soviet Anthem 216
  • Part V 217
  • 15: Aleksandr A. Krein 219
  • 16 - Grigoriy A. Krein: Toward Assimilation 225
  • Bibliography 229
  • 17 - Yulian G. Krein: Precocious Cosmopolitan 235
  • 18 - The Ukrainian Bartók and Bloch 241
  • 19: Mikhail F. Gnessin 242
  • Part VI 248
  • 20 248
  • 21: Nikolai Obukhov 254
  • 22: Iosif M. Schillinger 264
  • 23: Aleksandr N. Tcherepnine 273
  • Part VII 283
  • 24 283
  • 25: Leonid L. Sabaneev 291
  • 26 - Dmitriy M. Melkikh: Rhapsodist 309
  • 27: Gavrill N. Popov 310
  • 28: Aleksei S. Zhivotov 318
  • 29: Efim Golyshchev 323
  • 30 - Georgi M. Rimsky-Korsakov: Microtonist 328
  • Appendix: Further Scores for Study and Reference 329
  • Index 343
  • About the Author 349
  • Recent Titles in Contributions to the Study of Music and Dance 351
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