Characteristic Features of Valentin Silvestrov’s Own Style in “Two Romances” on Oleksandr Blok's Poems

Anna Kalinina


Relevance of the study. V. Silvestrov is one of the leading Ukrainian composers. To a greater extent, he has shown himself in the sphere of instrumental music, which reflects his way to individualization of the musical utterance. Nevertheless, the chamber vocal opuses for voice and piano are no less indicative in this respect. Clear evidence of this is the cycle “Two Romances” on the poems of O. Blok in which the signs of a mature style are traced. This work still remains outside the scope of research thought, which determines the scientific novelty of the study.

The main objective of the study is to identify the characteristic features of V. Silvestrov’s own style in his early chamber vocal works.

The methodology is based on an integrated approach involving historical, genre-style, structural-functional and comparative methods.

Results and findings of the study. Vocal cycle by V. Sylvestrov “Two Romances” on the poems of O. Blok (1961) is separated from other works in the time space. The work on the next piece — “Silent Songs”, began only in 1974; it shows the crystallization of the composer’s technique. Such a stylistic “leap” allows us to determine the constant methods of the composer's work with poetic texts. If “Two Romances” have not been considered yet, then “Silent Songs” gained a lot of popularity among scholars, which created a solid theoretical basis for the research. In these works, musicologists find such constants of the composer's style as the pursuit of the ideals of beauty and harmony, lyricism, melodiousness, use of silent sounds, change of performance techniques, addressing the music of romanticism, combination of classical-romantic harmony with the linguistic means of the twentieth century. At the same time, principles of embodiment of poetry metrical patterns, caesura, and work with text are still beyond the attention of scholars. Analytical observations have shown that while reflecting the primary sources in “Silent Songs”, the composer changes the metrical pattern of poems by synthesizing several types of vocalization and rhythmic formulas, and at the same time preserves the poetic basis and sticks to the caesura.

Similar techniques mark the early chamber vocal cycle “Two Romances” on the poems of O. Blok. It has full-length poems, logical caesuras, but the stresses of the poetic meter are changed, which makes the figurative semantics deeper. Along with this, the connection with the mature style is also found on other levels of musical texture: in harmony — unclosed tonality is used, in articulation — subtle nuancing, in texture — melodization of voices, in dynamics — prevalence of quiet sounds.

The results obtained regarding evolutionary processes in V. Silvestrov’s early vocal lyrics become an impetus for further research in this direction and contribute to the performers’ deeper understanding of the figurative and emotional world of romances.


chamber vocal creativity of V. Silvestrov; poetry by O. Blok; translation of poetry; romance; author's style


Goryuhina, N. A. (1985). Methods of the national style analysis [Metodika analiza natsionalnogo stilya]. Essays on musical style and form [Ocherki po voprosam muzyikalnogo stilya i formyi]. Kyiv, pp. 81–99. [in Ukraine].

Gusar, M. (2011). Semiotic parallels of music and text in V. Silvestrov's "Silent Songs” [Semioticheskie paralleli muzyiki i teksta v «Tihih pesnyah» V. Silvestrova]. Bulletin of the Precarpathian University. Art Studies [Visny’k Pry’karpats’kogo universy’tetu. My’stecztvoznavstvo]. Ivano-Frankivsk, (21–22), pp. 175–181 [in Ukraine].

Vasina-Grossman, V. (1978). Music and poetic word [Muzyika i poeticheskoe slovo]. P. 2 Intonation [Intonatsiya]. P. 3 Composition [Kompozitsiya]. Moscow: Muzyika, 368 p. [in Russian].

Ilina, A. (2004). Off-style and individual style in the work of Valentin Silvestrov [Vnestelevoe i individualnyiy stil v tvorchestve Valentina Silvestrova]. Scientific Bulletin: Musical Style: Theory, History, Modern Times: collection of research papers [Naukovy’j Visny’k: Muzy’chny’j sty’l’: teoriya, istoriya, suchasnist’: zb. statej]. Kyiv, (38), pp. 236–241. [in Ukraine].

Ilina, A. (2003). Music and the word in “Silent Songs” by V. Silvestrov. [Muzyika i slovo v “Tihih pesnyah” V. Silvestrova]. Scientific Bulletin: collection of research papers [Naukovy’j visny’k: zb. statej]. Kyiv, (28), pp. 177–186. [in Ukraine].

Lunina, A. (2010). Vocal cycle "Steps" by Valentin Silvestrov: specificity of figurative dramaturgy of the work [Vokal’ny’j cy’kl «Stupeni» Valenty’na Sy’l’vestrova: specy’fika obraznoyi dramaturgiyi tvoru]. Kyiv Musicology [Ky’yivs’ke muzy’koznavstvo]. Kyiv, (32), pp. 139–154. [in Ukraine].

Minz, Z. G. (1997). On the first volume of the Blok’s lyrical poetry [O pervom tome liriki Bloka]. Blok A. A. Complete collection of works and letters: Poems [Polnoe sobranie sochineniy i pisem: Stihotvoreniya]. Moscow, (1), pp. 394–629. [in Russian].

Nestyeva, M. (2004). Mysterious power of harmony [Garmonii tainstvennaja vlast']. Silvestrov V. V. Music is the singing of the world about itself... Interspersed conversations and views from the side: Conversations, articles, letters / articles authors, compiler, interlocutor. [Muzyka — jeto penie mira o samom sebe... Sokrovenny razgovory i vzgljady so storony: Besedy, stat'i, pis'ma]. Kyiv, p. 265 [in Ukraine].

Postulovskaya, N. (2013). To the question of the genre dominant of “Meditation” from the cycle “Silent Songs” by V. Silvestrov [K voprosu o zhanrovoj dominante “Meditacii” iz cikla «Tihie pesni» V. Sil'vestrova]. Kyiv Musicology [Kyivske muzykoznavstvo]. Kyiv, (46), pp. 94–101. [in Ukraine].

Ruchevskaya, E. (2011). About the correlation of words and melodies in Russian chamber-vocal music of the early twentieth century [O sootnoshenii slova i melodii v russkoy kamerno-vokalnoy muzyike nachala ХХ veka]. Works of different years [Rabotyi raznyih let]. Saint Petersburg, (2), pp. 43–90. [in Russian].

Ruchevskaya, E. (1988) Word and music [Slovo i muzyika]. Analysis of vocal works: a training manual [Analiz vokalnyih proizvedeniy: ucheb. posobie]. Moscow, p. 352 [in Russian].

Tarasova, O. O. (2003). The role of articulation in chamber vocal music of the twentieth century (on the example of “Silent Songs” by V. Silvestrov) [Rol artykuliatsii v kamerno-vokalnii muzytsi ХХ stolittia (na prykladi «Tykhykh pesen» V. Sylvestrova)]. Culture of Ukraine [Kultura Ukrainy]. Kharkiv, (11), pp. 95–103 [in Ukraine].

Filatova, T. (1989). About some peculiarities of tonal-harmonic structures in “Silent Songs” by V. Silvestrov [Pro deiaki osoblyvosti tonalno-harmonichnykh struktur v “Tykhykh pisniakh” V. Sylvestrova]. Ukrainian Musicology [Ukrainske muzykoznavstvo]. Kyiv, (24). pp. 104–117 [in Ukraine].

Shirokova, V. (2011). “Word and Music” in the works of E. A. Ruchevskaya [“Slovo i muzyika” v trudah E. A. Ruchevskoy]. Works of different years [Rabotyi raznyih let]. Saint Petersburg, (2), pp. 497–504. [in Russian].

GOST Style Citations

Горюхина Н. А. Методика анализа национального стиля // Очерки по вопросам музыкального стиля и формы. Киев, 1985. С. 81–99.

Гусар М. Семиотические параллели музыки и текста в «Тихих песнях» В. Сильвестрова // Вісник Прикарпатського університету. Мистецтвознавство : зб. наук. статей. Івано-Франківськ, 2011. Вип. 21–22. С. 175–181.

Васина-Гроссман В. Музыка и поэтическое слово : в 3 ч. Ч. 2. Интонация. Ч. З. Композиция. Москва : Музыка, 1978. 368 с.

Ильина А. Внестилевое и индивидуальный стиль в творчестве Валентина Сильвестрова // Науковий вісник Національної музичної академії України імені П. І. Чайковського: Вип. 38 : Музичний стиль: теорія, історія, сучасність : зб. ст. Київ, 2004. С. 236–241.

Ильина А. Музыка и слово в «Тихих песнях» В. Сильвестрова // Науковий вісник Національної музичної академії України імені П. І. Чайковського. Вип. 28 : Семантичні аспекти слова в музичному творі : зб. ст. Київ, 2003. С. 177–186.

Луніна А. Вокальний цикл «Ступені» Валентина Сильвестрова: специфіка образної драматургії твору // Київське музикознавство : зб. ст. Київ, 2010. Вип. 32. С. 139–154.

Минц З. Г. О первом томе лирики Блока // Блок А. А. Полное собрание сочинений и писем : в 20 т. Т. 1. Кн. 1 : Стихотворения. Москва : Наука, 1997. С. 394–629.

Нестьева М. Гармонии таинственная власть // Сильвестров В. В. Музыка — это пение мира о самом себе... Сокровенны разговоры и взгляды со стороны. Беседы, статьи, письма / автор статей, состав., собеседница М. Нестьева. Киев, 2004. 265 с.

Постоловская Н. К вопросу о жанровой доминанте «Медитации» из цикла «Тихие песни» В. Сильвестрова // Київське музикознавство : зб. ст. Київ, 2013. Вип. 46. С. 94–101.

Ручьевская Е. А. О соотношении слова и мелодии в русской камерно-вокальной музыке начала ХХ века // Ручьевская Е. А. Работы разных лет : в 2 т. Т. 2. Санкт-Петербург, 2011. С. 43–90.

Ручьевская Е. А. Слово и музыка // Ручьевская Е. А. Анализ вокальных произведений : учеб. пособие. Москва, 1988. 352 с.

Тарасова О. О. Роль артикуляції в камерно-вокальній музиці ХХ століття (на прикладі «Тихих песен» В. Сильвестрова) // Культура України : зб. наук. праць. Харків, 2003. Вип. 11. С. 95–103.

Філатова Т. Про деякі особливості тонально-гармонічних структур в «Тихих піснях» В. Сильвестрова // Українське музикознавство : наук.-метод. зб. Київ, 1989. Вип. 24. С. 104–117.

Широкова В. П. «Слово и музыка» в трудах Е. А. Ручьевской // Ручьевская Е. А. Работы разных лет : в 2 т. Т. 2. Санкт-Петербург, 2011. С. 497–504.

ISSN 2522-4190 (print)
ISSN 2522-4204 (online)