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A. Selitsky

Catholic chants by Nikolai Karetnikov: the history of creation, form, stylistics

One of the last works by N. Karetnikov is “Hymns to the Holy Catholic Mass for performance with parishioners” (1991) on Russian texts of prayers. The composition was written by order, remained in manuscript and, in all probability, was not performed. The very fact of its creation poses four groups of problems to the researcher. The first of them concerns a possible customer and the reasons for such an order (they can only be answered hypothetically). The second group relates to the socio-cultural context of the origin and implementation of the plan, to the state of the Catholic Church in the Soviet Union, which was able to function normally only in the late 1980s. At the same time, according to the decisions of the Second Vatican Council, which belatedly reached the late USSR, Russian Catholic parishes began to pray in their native language. The third group of problems is related to the texts: being traditional, they existed in different translations at that time, because they had not yet been approved by the liturgical commission. Finally, the fourth is designed to characterize the stylistics of the work. The analysis shows that the composer does not strictly follow the aesthetics of Gregorianism. At the same time, the melodies show similarities with znamenny chant. Perhaps Karetnikov violated the norms of church music unconsciously, yielding to his own creative individuality. This music in its original form is not quite suitable for singing by the community, which, most likely, served as an obstacle to its performance in the temple. At the same time, in terms of the subtlety of working with intonation material, in form, in a meaningful and heartfelt attitude to the verbal text, Karetnikov’s Mass is a masterful composition that deserves attention. Of the nine parts of the Mass, the third and fourth are the most extensive; No. 3 “Glory to God in the Highest” is considered in more detail.

Key words

Catholic Church in the USSR, mass, Russian translations of Latin divine service texts,community singing, Gregorianism, znamenny chant.

For citation

Selitsky A. Catholic chants by Nikolai Karetnikov: the history of creation, form, stylistics // South-Russian Musical Anthology. 2022. No. 3. Pp. 79-88.