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M. Egorova

Sticheron Octoechos for St. Alexander Nevsky: musical form in the context of medieval intermediality

The article is devoted to the unique Old Russian chant, which has a rare musical form that unites the intonation vocabulary of all eight modes of the Znamenny monody. The Sticheron Octoechos for St. Alexander Nevsky, preserved in five copies of the first half of the 17th century, is an outstanding example of ancient Russian singing art with complicated artistic organization that is due to the liturgical function of the chants that were performed on the saint’s commemoration. An analysis of the musical images of the sticheron shows that the leading role in the chant is played by vocal fragments closely related to the key lexemes that explicate the motives of the worship of the relic and its miracles. The emotional and expressive component of the musical form was actualized in the situation of the «rite of kissing » of the shrine with the relics in the church of the Nativity of the Mother of God Monastery in Vladimir, where the tomb of the noble prince was located since 1263. Dominance in the structure of the musical and poetic text of the motives of corporeality, materiality of the relic and its protective status for the city of Vladimir and the entire Russian land finds a direct response in the hagiographic icon with 36 scenes from the church of St. Alexander Nevsky in the Moscow Kremlin, the first mention of which dates back to the 1920s of the 17th century and chronologically coincide with the dating of the earliest copies of the Octoechos. Most of the scenes include iconographic formulas associated with the sacred space and the miracles of the relics of St. Alexander in Vladimir. When performing the «rite of kissing» with the icon during the royal visits to the Kremlin church on November 23, in the presence of the patriarch and the czar, the singing performance of the Octoechos and its musical elements enhanced the resembles between the space of the ritual, its locus sacrus and the tomb of the saint in the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin in Vladimir, what suggests the Moscow origin of the sticheron, which was performed in the most solemn atmosphere.

Key words

ancient Russian singing art, Octoechos, tradition of worshiping relics, St. Alexander Nevsky, intermediality.

For citation

Egorova M. Sticheron Octoechos for St. Alexander Nevsky: musical form in the context of medieval intermediality // South-Russian musical anthology. 2021. No. 1. Pp. 42–54.