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Publications of Shirieva Nadezhda Velerovna
Culture and Art, 2021-5
Shirieva N.V. - Musical symbols of good and evil in Psalms of Repentance by Alfred Schnittke pp. 139-157


Abstract: This article is dedicated to determination of the system of musical-expressive means used by Alfred Schnittke to symbolically reflect the ethical opposition of good and evil in the “Psalms of Repentance”. The relevance of this research is substantiated from the perspective of heightened attention of the composers of the XX century to the musical symbolism that replaced programmability. The study is based on the method proposed by E. M. Akishina for determining the symbols of good and evil in different layers of timbre and texture arrangement of instrumental compositions of A. Schnittke. Application of this method to “Psalms of Repentance” for a cappella choir allows tracing the manifestation of these symbols on the timbre, phonism, melodic arrangement, musical language, and composition. The novelty of this article consists in the fact that unlike instrumental music of A. Schnittke, his compositions for a cappella choir are viewed from such analytical perspective for the first time. The following conclusions were made: the choral and instrumental compositions of A. Schnittke contain a ramified system of musical-expressive means, which clearly distinguishes the symbols of good and evil;  these symbols outline the logic of dramatic development of each part of the “Psalms of Repentance”; their interaction within the framework of general concept of the cycle contains the ultimate ideological message – human choice, which determines his path along the line of sin as eternal Evil or through repentance – on the way towards God as the highest Good.
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