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Title:West meets East: Giuseppe Sarti's influence on Russian church music - a study of Western influence and surviving Russian traits
Author(s):Armstrong, Colin
Director of Research:Alwes, Chester L.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Grant, Joe W.; Ward, Thomas R.; Blume, Philipp
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Giuseppe Sarti
Italian influence
Russian church music
Catherine the Great
Eighteenth Century
Abstract:This dissertation explores Italian influence on Russian Church music in the late eighteenth-century. The object of this study is to determine the extent to which Italian compositional forms affected the developmental course of Russian sacred choral concertos. Scholars generally describe the latter half of the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century as the “Italianate Period” in Russian Church music. Because of the large number of Italian composers invited by ruling Tsarinas in St. Petersburg, this is not inaccurate. However, many have gone as far as describing the period as Italian blight on Russia’s sacred traditions, further implying that Western (Italian) traditions completely supplanted pre-existing Russian styles. This dissertation attempts to clarify the specific elements at play, defining the national origins of compositional practices evident in contemporary choral concertos. A more complex picture emerges, illustrating a complex interplay of not only Russian and Italian idioms, but also those of Poland and (modern) Ukraine. Because the Italianization of Russia’s Church music began in the new capital of St. Petersburg, archives in St. Petersburg were an important source of actual music for this study. In order to limit the scope of this study to specific visiting Italian composers and their native Russian/Ukrainian students, recently published books and translations of early Russian scholarship were also used. All sources indicate that Giuseppe Sarti (1729-1802) was in Russia longer than any other Italian composer (1784-1802). He also had the greatest number of known Russian and Ukrainian students through his work (and connections) at the Russian court. Giuseppe Sarti and his native-born students therefore become the center of this study in the attempt to clarify if Russian Church music became truly Italian by the early nineteenth century. I argue that “Italianate Period” choral concertos retained much of the same Russian characteristics evident in their seventeenth-century counterparts. Furthermore, the absorption of foreign elements was not a one-way street; Giuseppe Sarti the teacher became Giuseppe Sarti the student as he composed his Slavonic-texted Orthodox music in his final years.
Issue Date:2012-02-06
Genre:Dissertation / Thesis
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Colin Armstrong
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-02-06
Date Deposited:2011-12

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