The skazki (fairy tales) of Nikolai Medtner: The evolution and characteristics of the genre with compositional and performance aspects of selected fairy tales.
Description: The compositional language of Russian composer-pianist Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951) demonstrates an evolution of the traditional forms and harmony. Following the classical and romantic traditions, Medtner's compositional technique reveals his individual and original approaches to form and harmony. The unique architectonic in his works is achieved through particular tonal-harmonic juxtapositions of the sections, the frequent prevalence of the monothematic principle, the increased role of the developmental material in the exposition, and contrapuntal combination of themes. Harmonic vocabulary is characterized by chromatic harmony, altered dissonant chords, augmented triads, complex chains of modulations, and usage and combination of modes and octatonic scale. Counterpoint is of great importance toward understanding the chord progression found in his music. Skazki (fairy tales) are pieces in small form, such as preludes, or novelettes; they hold an important place in Medtner's oeuvre. The fairy tale genre is associated with many artistic traditions, including Russian folk art. Medtner's 38 fairy tales, varied in imagery and character, were composed during different periods of his life. The evolution of the genre is seen in form and harmonic language. The lyrical, subjective mood of the fairy tales of the earlier period, such as op. 8, op. 9 and op. 14, evolve into large-scale works, such as fairy tales op. 20 and op. 35. In his later years, in fairy tales from op. 42, Medtner imbues the form with a greater clarity of expression, a tendency to move toward simpler musical expression, and an expanded use of thematic Russian folklore sources, including more definite ties with song and dance genres.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Chernaya-Oh, Ekaterina
Partner: UNT Libraries