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G. Andrievskaya

Musical performing art in the early critical essays by B. Asaf’ev (1914–1917)

The article is devoted to the early period of B. Asaf’ev’s music-critical activity. The key aesthetic and artistic purposes of the young critic and his genre preferences in the named sphere (as review, notice, bibliographic paragraph) are exposed. It is mentioned the majority of Asaf’ev’s pre-revolutionary essays is connected with musical theatre, first of all performances of the operas and ballets by Russian composers. Hence Asaf’ev’s opinions on the musical performing art are characterized by the priority role of an interpreter in realization of composer’s intention as deeply “vital” phenomenon which overcomes a conditional character of musical-theatrical practice. Some introducing of “operality” into the concert stage genres (for example Russian romance of the 19th and early 20th centuries) is welcomed by the critic too from a position of “dramatic truth”. The named approach is considered by Asaf’ev as the way of involving the varied musical-performing means into the process of essentially “symphonic” realization conformably to the artistic concept of the opera or ballet performance, chamber vocal work etc. Therefore it seems no accidental the special consideration to be given by Asaf’ev the concert and musical-theatrical performances of S. Rachmaninoff as pianist and conductor. Exactly Rachmaninoff is appreciated by critic in the capacity of the universal artist and interpreter gravitating towards the organic synthesis of “theatricality” and “symphonism” in the both spheres of his performing activities. The opera performances and concert programs with F. Shalyapin’s participation are the analogous examples for Asaf’ev in the sphere of the vocal performing art. The great musician staying on the scene realizes the original “directing” as applied not only his own part but also musical performing process in the whole. On Asaf’ev’s opinion the named intentions are predetermined by the deeply realization of the most important role which contemporary interpreting activity plays in congenial representation of composer’s creative work.

Key words

B. Asaf’ev, music critique, Silver Age of the Russian culture, Russian musical theatre of 1900–1910s, musical performing art.

For citation

Andrievskaya G. Musical performing art in the early critical essays by B. Asaf’ev (1914–1917) // South-Russian Musical Anthology. 2022. No. 1. Pp. 5–13.