Music connects

On April 11 a series of lectures under the common title of “Tchaikovsky brings together” was read by both Russian and international lecturers in the V.A. Zhuravlev Research-Academic Library.

The idea of hosting a lecture series in UdSU on the topic of Tchaikovsky’s music was well-thought-out: first, there are people in our university who are directly related to music. These are the teachers and students of the Musical and Performance Arts Chair at the UdSU Institute of Arts and Design also famous for its students’ folk music group Vazhnin Klyuch. Besides, UdSU has long-established partnership with the Memorial Estate of P.I. Tchaikovsky in Votkinsk. And last but not least, the idea was born thanks to previous numerous contacts between the International and Public Relations Office of UdSU and the U.S. Consulate General in Ekaterinburg: the latter suggested having the lecture of Jeffrey Prater – the Professor Emeritus of Iowa State University, chair of the music theory division, a Distinguished Scholar in the Arts and Humanities, and a composer – at our university.

In the beginning the audience had a rare chance to listen to two lectures on traditional folk music: “Mythological views and instrumental culture of the Udmurt people” and “Relationship between verse and tune in ritual songs of the Slavs”. The lectures were delivered by Nadezhda V. Aleksandrova, the research fellow at the Russian Institute of Arts History (Saint-Petersburg) and Galina V. Tavlai, the associate professor at Petrozavodsk State Academy. These scholars combining their research with intensive performing and even composing work came to Izhevsk quite circumstantially: the point is that Tchaikovsky’s museum in Votkinsk is holding a scientific seminar these days and the scholars of the Russian Institute of Arts History were invited to attend the seminar. That is how they happened to come to UdSU.

Next, Jeffrey Prater delivered his lecture titled “America’s long love-affair with the music of Tchaikovsky” which was devoted to the composer’s visit to the USA in spring of 1891. The audience learnt how the idea of the trip originated and was carried out, what impressions of the country Tchaikovsky had, and how this experience influenced his music. The talk was illustrated by numerous musical fragments from P.I. Tchaikovski’s works many of which were first performed in the USA.

The lecture was read in the video-conferencing mode which was enabled by the high standards of technical equipment at UdSU library and its skillful technical support staff. The guests of the event greeted the American professor via Skype videoconferencing software. Among them were Petr P. Danilov, the deputy minister of culture and tourism of the Udmurt Republic; Yulia Y. Konareva, the deputy director of Tchaikovsy’s Memorial Estate in Votkinsk; Marina G. Khodyreva, the head of the composers’ union of the Udmurt Republic.

Probably, the most original greeting was prepared by the members of the students’ folk music group “Vazhnin Klyuch” lead by Vera G. Boldyreva, the associate professor of the Musical and Performance Arts Chair. The students sang the Udmurt folk tune called “Arama Kzhya” (Along the Grove), and after their performance the record of Tchaikovsky’s “November (Troika)” piece was played from “The seasons” piano cycle. The comment followed that there is a noticeable similarity between the two themes, namely, as regards the use of special halftone scale characteristic of Udmurt folk music. The supposition was made that Tchaikovsky might have subconsciously copied the tunes he could have heard in his childhood years spent in Udmurtia.

Later on the guests could follow Jeffrey Prater’s lecture through slide-presentation broadcast from the city of Ames in Iowa State, the USA.

The lecture series “Tchaikovsky brings together” became the first experience of joint events held by UdSU and the U.S. Consulate General in Ekaterinburg. Almost all participants agreed that the idea of such events proved to be successful, stimulating, fruitful, and it deserves to be sustained in future.

The report was prepared by UdSU International and Public Relations Office

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