Tempo

Research Article

MICROTONAL STORM AND STRESS: GEORGY RIMSKY-KORSAKOV AND QUARTER-TONE MUSIC IN 1920S SOVIET RUSSIA1

Lidia Ader

‘Passed by the political censor’ – Commissar Lunacharsky

The new Russian generation of composers in 1920s Russia is widely known as the ‘musical avant-garde’. Maximilian Shteinberg, the professor of the Petrograd-Leningrad Conservatoire, who studied under Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, called his pupils more simply: ‘musical lefties’. The older generation tried to define this new trend that was evolving as the younger generation' explorations in the fields of musical systems, sounds, subjects, etc. Among the radical musical events in 1920s Soviet Russia, the quarter-tone system of temperament takes first place.

Lidia Ader is a Ph.D. student of Saint Petersburg Conservatoire, studying under Prof. Liudmila Kovnatskaya. She is specializing in Russian musical culture of the 1920s (Shostakovich, his early musical experiences, Conservatoire education, musical circles and associations) and the musical avant-garde (microtonal music, acoustics, inventions).

Footnotes

1 This article is a translation and enhanced version of the one published in the collection Muzei teatra i muzyki v mezhdunarodnom prostranstve: Opyt, traditsii, sotrudnichestvo with the title ‘Georgy Rimsky-Korsakov and the “Circle of quarter-tone music”’ (St. Petersburg, 2008; pp. 89–99). Please note the following abbreviations – TsGALI SPb: The State Russian Archive of Literature and Art in St.-Petersburg. PS. Rimsky-Korsakov: Paul Sacher Stiftung. Wyschnegradsky collection. MF 258.1. ‘Rimsky-Korsakov Georgij Michajlovič’.