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Abdokov Yu.

Poetics of colour and colouring in Boris Tchaikovsky’s orchestra

The article deals with characteristic properties of the coloristic thinking of Boris Tchaikovsky (1926–1996), one of the greatest orchestral composers of the 20th century. The author explains the semantic relationship and differences between the principles of translating the idea of colour and colouring into visual art and music. The over-objective nature of colour phenomena in the orchestral practice is emphasised. By considering poetic concepts important for the colour (colouring) attribution in the orchestra, the author examines various elements of the musical idiom, such as: the timbre accentuation, a physiognomic isolation and a mutual resonance of orchestral instruments and orchestral sections, a textural and plastic image of various timbres and their combinations, a dynamic expression, etc. The most essential properties of are: plastic and spatial tactility of the colour palette, the specificity of the musical development and timbre extension, the sound and colour reflection (mutual resonance) of orchestral timbres, coloristic attributes of mono- and poly-timbre orchestral compositions, the etymology of a timbre contrast in the orchestra. Taking selected symphonic scores by Boris Tchaikovsky as an example the author examines unusual ways of combining orchestral colours as, otherwise, it seems impossible to reach a qualitative style attribution and the conductor’s interpretation. For the first time in the musical practice, the principles of B. Tchaikovsky’s colour (coloristic) thinking are formulated, and being part of the composer’s original timbre poetics, these principles are confirmed by his composing and teaching activities. The pinciples are as follows: timbre distances between individual orchestral voices and instrumental sections, light (luminescent) logic of the orchestral palette, a typology of the timbre coloristic mixing, the specificity of the timbre orchestral “optics” in connection with a promising structure of the orchestral continuum, problems of the acoustic balance in the context of timbre thinking, problems of the “sound mass” and a specifically orchestral “gravity”, timbre modulating, different types of the timbre picturesque glazing, the logical tectonic importance of the coloristic palette in the orchestral morphogenesis.

Key words

poetics, colour, colouring, orchestra, mixing, timbral texture, Boris Tchaikovsky.

For citation

Abdokov Yu. Poetics of colour and colouring in Boris Tchaikovsky’s orchestra // South- Russian musical anthology. 2020. N 1. Pp. 71–78.