Rus Articles Journal

Old Russian spiritual singing. Let`s remember a znamenny chant?

Since 17th century church singing became already slightly another. It incorporated a lot of things from the Western European music.

At the same time in XIX - the beginning of the 20th century in Russia huge interest in Old Russian art flashed, including - to icons and to a znamenny chant. Moscow was the center of these Slavophile aspirations. Exactly there all those who did a great job in studying of old times lived.

Old Russian cult tunes were carefully stored - and not only Old Believers. Ancient manuscripts in monasteries, especially in northern remained.

It is very difficult to list names of all those who in the 19th century worked on a subject of Old Russian music. But one name can be familiar to much - Vladimir Fedorovich Odoevsky is a writer, the philosopher, the musicologist (1803-1869, Moscow).

As the writer it is known for books “Motley Fairy Tales“, “Russian Nights“. As the musicologist - the interest in a folk music and Old Russian singing. Odoevsky is the author of a set of highly specialized works from which it is possible to distinguish “The Russian and so-called general music“, “Music from the point of view of acoustics“.

It was encyclopedically educated and extraordinary person absolutely independent in the preferences: “ Strange my destiny, for you (Muscovites - G. K.) I am the western progressionist, for St. Petersburg - the thorough conservative - the mystic; it pleases me because is a sign that I on that narrow way which one conducts to truth “.

The prince Odoevsky devoted the whole last years to studying of a znamenny chant which he considered as a unification of divinity, philosophy, graphics, ethics, vocal art. As the musician it understood that remained in a folk music and records to an old sacred music of tradition strongly differ from those that predominated in his time. Moreover, he even thought up and ordered for himself the special tool - engarmonicheskiya klavitsin. This unusual tool remained (in the museum of Glinka), and here use his heritage in the field of the theory of music now in the West more.

There was also the whole cohort of composers - professionals who composed a sacred music - representatives of the so-called “new direction“: P. Chesnokov, A. Grechaninov. Alexander Dmitriyevich Kastalsky is of special interest.

Kastalsky was born in 1856 in Moscow in the known family (the grandfather is an icon painter, the father is an archpriest). Studied in the Moscow conservatory at P. Tchaikovsky and S. Taneev. Upon termination of actually all life worked in Synod school of church singing.

Moreover - after revolution of 1917 Kastalsky remained to work there, only the school that was renamed into the Moscow national choral academy.

It is possible and to meet the indignant exclamations up to that moment on the fact that Kastalsky became a member and “groups of red professorate“, and “Associations of proletarian musicians“. But whether the elderly person had a choice? Besides - he was always interested in folk art. The invitation from the USA was, but he did not leave.

Kastalsky`s works in the field of ethnography are very interesting. He carried out work difficult and laborious: “ this Work was for me really unbearable: it was necessary to make previously for itself two tables for reading hooks - znamenny and demestvenny, it was necessary to turn for a month into “the courageous researcher“; the invention was to begin with samples of the 15th century “.

The colourful statement of Kastalsky is known of a znamenny chant: “ seems to me, awfully do not love znamenny chants when they begin to be processed, and in every possible way dodge, are not given in hands, are capricious as children who are going to be washed - just aloud do not shout! “ by

connected it with LVL features of an East Slavic melodics. “ at us an inexhaustible well of original church melodies; it is impossible to apply usual state formulas and any harmonious posledovaniye to them “, - Kastalsky proved.

Kastalsky tried to recreate ancient church ceremonies (“Peshchny action“), and even more ancient musical pictures in the spirit of bylinas. It collected materials on a pesennost of other people: “... The restorer`s vein probably was at me congenital as after this work I undertook another, it similar, but from more remote eras and the countries, and plunged much more deeply: wanted to prove, counter to historians, existence in this world of of not unison music with the most ancient times and since ancient times its aspiration to expressiveness, picturesqueness etc. Collected many examples, it is a lot of historical evidences, having entitled the work “From the Past Centuries“. But as my provisions in this research in the opinion of real historians could seem too courageous, I decided to publish only part: “China“, “India“, “Egypt“, “Hellas“, “Judea“, “In the homeland of Islam“ and “The first Christians“ .

Kastalsky together with Synod chorus went on tour in the European countries - concerts in Rome, Florence, Vienna, Dresden, Leipzig, Berlin went over with huge success. “An art holiday“ - the Italian newspapers wrote about these concerts.

A. D. Kastalsky in Moscow died on December 17, 1926. 150 - the anniversary since the birth of Kastalsky (2006) was celebrated in Toronto, Glasgow, London, New - York. In Moscow the Moscow man`s chamber chorus of Kastalsky works. From heritage - the part is lost, but big - remained.

And this heritage it is already impossible to consider as strictly cult music. It is music for broad execution.

And vice versa - many professional “secular“ composers addressed a sacred music. Among them - Tchaikovsky, Taneev, Grechaninov, Rachmaninov.

Peru Sergey Rachmaninov possesses such masterpieces as “Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom“ (1910) and “All-night vigil“ (1915).


“Nightlong“, “All-night vigil“ - church service of orthodox church. It is made on the eve of Sunday and the main church holidays. “Night service“ arose in the very first centuries of establishment of Christianity in Byzantium.

Monumental “All-night vigil“ of Rachmaninov is considered a masterpiece of a world sacred music. It is the present choral symphony in which the most ancient singsongs and own melodies of the composer stylized under these singsongs are combined. In this music it is possible to hear echoes of an extreme antiquity (znamenny, Kiev or Greek singsongs).

“All-night vigil“ of Rachmaninov - multiprivate work with the main culmination in images of Resurrection and “Great glorification“. For the first time the symphony was executed in concerts of Synod chorus “in favor of the victims of war“ repeatedly and with huge success. As this very difficult work, sounds it mostly at concert venues. More precisely - again sounds as in the USSR this rakhmaninovsky music was for a long time buried in oblivion.

The end of XIX - the beginning of the 20th century - the period which is not incidentally called “Silver age“ in poetry, painting, music. “Silver age“ was endured at that time also by a sacred music.

The interest in Old Russian art which again flashed presently does not mean at all that it is necessary to oppose something that one is “worse“, and another “is better“. Just it would be desirable that interpretation of a znamenny chant was finally and it is successfully complete (even the most difficult “bespometny“ notopisaniye).

Perhaps, sometime completely will deal with the Hook tresvetly with a magpie leg which it is necessary to sing “velm of a paka proclaim“ or the Stick vozdernuty which has to sing “gutturally poigrat, dvignuta dvashch“, or “Stopitsey with a point“ where it is necessary “to otshibnut a throat back, to jump and fall on smart guy or on skameyets“...

The general fabric of world culture will be incomplete without these melodies which were created 500-1000 years ago.