Russian Musical Elements: An Analysis of Selected Piano Works by Mily Balakirev (1837-1910)
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractMily Balakirev (1837-1910) was a Russian composer, piano virtuoso, teacher, conductor, and a key proponent of the nationalist spirit that distinguished much of mid-19th century Russian classical music. Balakirev is considered, among historical Russian composers, to have been the one who ushered in a new era for Russian classical music. This document examines Piano Sonata No. 2 (1905), and Mazurkas Nos. 6 (1902) and 7 (1906) within the context of Russian musical elements such as folk song elements, plagal and alternative cadences, mediant key relationships and the Russian sixth harmonic progression. The purpose of this study is twofold: first, to identify, define, and locate the appearances of these elements or devices within the selected solo piano works; second, to advance the argument that these devices represent and evoke an aesthetic that one can identify as distinctly Russian in nature. After a brief overview and statement of purpose in the introductory chapter, a discussion of Balakirev’s life, biographical information and compositional output with attention paid to his close relationship with the members of the Moguchaya Kuchka composers concludes Chapter II. Chapter III offers an historical overview of Russian musical elements, which are presented, analyzed and illustrated through annotated examples from Balakirev’s piano works selected for this document. The final chapter confirms Balakirev’s successful and influential use of Russian musical elements and provides a deeper understanding of Balakirev’s innovative style of integrating those elements into classical music of the 19th-century.
Degree ProgramGraduate College