Two Russian nationalistic idioms in the composition of Romansi: a graduate lecture recital Lindsay Nuesca, mezzo-soprano


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Two Russian nationalistic idioms in the composition of Romansi: a graduate lecture recital Lindsay Nuesca, mezzo-soprano
Physical Description:
Project in lieu of thesis
Nuesca, Lindsay
College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla


The lecture and recital explain and illustrate the appropriation of certain musical devices as constructions of nationalist culture in the romansi, or art songs, of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Modeste Musorgsky, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Russians have struggled to establish a national identity and culture throughout their history. But in nineteenth-century Russia, the Francophile aristocracy, offended by Napoleon’s Russian offensive, was propelled into creating a unique collection of literature, music, and intellectualizing directed toward discovering and assimilating their Russian roots. Consequently, the nineteenth century witnessed the first full flowering of nationalist rhetoric and culture in Russia. Marina Frolova-Walker has identified two deliberately crafted paradigms of Russian nationalism in Art—literary nationalism and musical nationalism. Late nineteenth-century composers combined literary and musical nationalistic idioms in song, where literature and music merge. The genesis of nationalism, the evolution of the concept of nationalism in Russia, four key events from Russian history, Russian nationalist intellectuals (individuals who spearheaded the cultivation of national culture in Russia), and exoticism in music are discussed leading into the two constructions of nationalism, a literary construction and a musical construction. Literary nationalism is more commonly known and relies on melancholy and tragedy as its main characteristics. Musical nationalism draws on folk celebration materials and embodies hope in the future. Russian romansi occupy a unique place in nationalistic culture. Music and literature combine to form a dual voiced medium that uses elements of both constructions to create a more complete picture of what is ‘Russian.’ These three composers each took a very different approach to the same problem of establishing a national culture. Musorgsky explored two very different styles before his death cut short his creativity. Tchaikovsky sought to inject something Russian into the existing European canon. Rimsky-Korsakov illustrates the life of one who lived in extremes, first embracing the limits of musical nationalism, and then rejecting those premises, though not escaping them. Ultimately, Russian nationalism was a movement by and for the nineteenth-century Francophile Russian elite, constructed to grant themselves a new identity. Romansi combine the intimacy of singing with expressions of identity, exercising all the tools of both the literary convention of melancholy and the musical convention that includes folk celebratory materials. The Kuchkist composers and Tchaikovsky used nationalist tools and European tools to differing extents, but for the same ends: to create Russian culture.
General Note:
Music Performance terminal project

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University of Florida Institutional Repository
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University of Florida
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