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V. Kiseyev

Music theater by Meredith Monk: traditions and innovation

This article is devoted to the comprehension of the creative concepts by the major American composer, choreographer and performer Meredith Monk. The author pays special attention to the problem of implementation of folklore traditions in the works by M. Monk. Such traditions are embodied in a special voice technique. It is based on the principles of throat singing, timbres, free transfer from the female to the male registers, glissando. There takes place the combination of traditional manners of performing with creative ideas of musical minimalism (in particular – the use of reduced material and specific methods of patterns’ development), with a perception of each sound as a value in itself, when the transition from one sound to another in the framework of the whole work is perceived as an event. All these features create a special artistic world. Music theater compositions by M. Monk immerse a viewer into archaic ritual with liberation from any personal element; they refer to the ancient basis of all the world religions, the idea of a collective subconscious. The article presents the analysis of some bright works which are indicative in compositional and performing style by M. Monk. They demonstrate an organic compound of expression and meditation, individual material with a strong national base and the rigid minimalist structure of its (material’s) presentation and development, freedom of improvisation and compositional rigor. Basing on analytical observations, the author substantiates the affiliation of creative searches by M. Monk to a major direction of modern musical culture – postminimalism.

Key words

Musical theatre in the late XX – early XXI century, performance, minimalism, folk music.