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Students of Vocal Performance are commonly instructed in the rules of diction for French, German and Italian languages, making it an easy task to select songs for performance from among these nationalities. There are also many beautiful, unique, interesting and moving songs from the Russian vocal literature. In an effort to make Russian song more accessible to those not familiar with the language, this treatise will providing a reference regarding one of the composers, Nikolai Karlovich Medtner and his settings of Fyodor Ivanovich Tutchev poems. The singer will find herein biographical information on the composer and poet; descriptions of Medtner's musical style; and transliterations, transcriptions and translations of the texts. Medtner was a prolific song composer, having published 106 songs, sixty of which are settings of Russian texts. He chose poems from five Russian poets of the Romantic era as source material: Aleksander Sergeyevich Pushkin, Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov, Afanasy Afanasyevich Fet, Valery Brussov, and Fyodor Ivanovic Tutchev. His music is highly chromatic with complex rhythms, but with soaring lyric melodies and always a clear tonal center. Medtner was critical of his contemporaries' use of atonality and polytonality, which he called cacophony. He published a book in the Russian language in France in 1935, The Muse and the Fashion. This was then translated into English by his friend, the musicologist Arthur Swan, and published in 1951. This book sets forth Medtner's philosophical views on music and denounces the practices of atonality and polytonality. Tutchev is often referred to as one of three great Russian poets of the Romantic era, along with Pushkin and Lermontov. He was not a poet by profession, but spent his life in government positions. Many of his poems are philosophical in nature, and many express deep and profound emotion. Singers who are unfamiliar with the Russian language will find a valuable resource in the original translations, transcriptions, and transliterations of the 15 Tutchev poems that Medtner chose for these song compositions.
A Treatise submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Music.
Includes bibliographical references.
Wanda Brister, Professor Directing Treatise; Timothy Hoekman, Committee Member; David Okerlund, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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