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N. Sokolvyak

About the instrumental expressive means of the Second Quartet (on Kabardino-Balkarian themes) by S. Prokofiev

The article examines the instrumental expressive means in the Second Quartet (on Kabardino-Balkarian themes) by S. Prokofiev. His music is the brightest phenomenon of the world musical culture of the 20th century that attracts the close attention of modern musicologists, performers and listeners. According to the researchers, Prokofiev was not a “chamber-thinking composer”, however, each of his chamber instrumental ensembles concentrates the characteristic features of his style, where classical and innovative are organically combined, and creative artistic ideas find an original incarnation. The Second Quartet (on Kabardino-Balkarian themes), created as a result of the composer’s acquaintance with the folklore of the Caucasian peoples in 1941 during the evacuation in Nalchik, was no exception. This is the first opus in the national history of the genre based on authentic folk melodies of oriental dances, and its uniqueness lies not only in the originality of the artistic idea, but also in its expressive means. The finest elaboration of different articulation techniques and a variety of articulation combinations, original combinations of traditional and little-used in quartet music articulation techniques along with various performance techniques and methods of sound production, on the one hand, serve to convey the intonation and rhythmic features of Oriental dances, and on the other, imitate the sound of folk wind, percussion and plucked string instruments, create effects inherent in folk music.

As a result, the Second Quartet (on Kabardino-Balkarian themes) became a unique example of the genre, where Prokofiev, turning mainly to dance folklore, enriched and expanded the timbre and coloristic possibilities of the bow ensemble, comprehensively revealing its artistic and technical potential. At the same time, the Second Quartet of Prokofiev became a kind of chamber music chronicle of the war years, in which, by referring to the musical origins of Caucasian folklore, the universal unity and cohesion of a multinational country in the face of horrors and disasters of universal scale is expressed.

Key words

Sergei Prokofiev, string quartet, bow ensemble, instrumental means of expression.

For citation

Sokolvyak N. About the instrumental expressive means of the Second Quartet (on Kabardino-Balkarian themes) by S. Prokofiev // South-Russian Musical Anthology. 2022. No. 4. Pp. 5-12.