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T. Starostina

About the Individual Interpretation of Everyday Church Service Harmonisation in the Matins of Great and Holy Friday by Archimandrite Matthew (Mormyl)

The article is devoted to one of the most important divine services of the annual circle of the Russian Orthodox Church, Great and Holy Friday and its musical embodiment in the hymns harmonized by Archimandrite Matthew (Mormyl). The author of the article concentrates on the analysis of antiphons and sedans, which constitute the basic musical content of the matins service. Specific examples show the logic of musical development chosen by Archimandrite Matthew for the sound embodiment of the events of Great Friday. He prefers melodically the most stringent versions of the statutory vowel tunes: this is the Kievan rospev (voices 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7) and the Tunes of the Zosimova desert (voices 2 and 8). The statutory melody remains unchanged everywhere, harmonization is essentially individualized. According to the author’s observations, the intention of Archimandrite Matthew is to create the balance between the habitual for the flock of the everyday sound of the choral tune and the author’s variants of harmonization. The most pronounced changes concern the Kievan rospev of the 7th voice (it is transferred from the major to the minor) and the Kievan rospev of the 6th voice, which is represented in various textural forms. The author comes to the conclusion that harmonization is mediated by the content of the liturgical texts being sung. Distortion of the harmonic color, the use of harsh void verticals, deviations from the full-sound four-voice music texture – all these harmonic techniques are intended to emphasize the most significant fragments of prayer and set the prayers for an in-depth comprehension and experience of key events of the Gospel history.

Key words

Archimandrite Matthew, harmonization, polyphony, texture, statutory melody.

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