Music in Unsounding Realms
Nauka: Moscow, 2000.
Reviewed by Eugeny V. Sintzov, Institute "Prometheus", 10,
K.Marks, Kazan, 420111, Russia. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The book "Music in Unsounding Realms" presents the materials of already third international conference on this theme. The previous meetings of scientists from various countries (Russia, USA, Israel, Italy) took place in Moscow (1993, 1995) and St.Petersburg (1997). All these conference were held by Council of World Culture of Russian Academy of Sciences and Russian Academy of Music.
The subject of the conferences was well formulated (by A. V. Michailov, who was a specialist in music and Germanic languages; he has died not long ago). This is apparently interesting theme, for it unites the efforts of specialists in various fields to investigate phenomenon which was hardly ever analyzed in European art/musical science. It concerns the music existence in other (unsounding) realms, where music manifests itself in a different way, not through sounds. This topic belongs to main aesthetic trend of XX century, when the attention gradually turned to "inexpressible" phenomena. It's worth noting, however, that investigations in this area take their origin from China and India cultures, where the problem of music existence in other realms was a subject of consideration since Ancient times.
We should do justice to Conference Comittee members, for they have ventured to consider such a dificult problem from scientific point of view. But pure scientific approach sometimes would lead to neglecting the other sides of a phenomenon. More than one participants have restricted themselves to a single point: numerous comparisons between music and other arts (verbal art, painting, photography, architecture). Their observations seldom resulted in any more than further establishment of well-known facts: how the musical sounds and images are recreated in folklore verbal art, photography, painting, etc. The most interesting in this group are the papers by M.Langleben, V.V.Nevzglyadova, who developed the ideas of Russian formalists about intonation mutual influence between poetry and music.
T. B. Romanovskaya has considered, from rather surprising point of view, a philosophical idea of music-to-science interaction. Her paper is based on the concept by J.Michailov of "music system in the process of formation" (was not it a further development of A. F. Losev's ideas?).
The most promsing are the papers, whose authors try to reveal the unsounding aspects of music. I would like to note here the following works: on the gesture basis of music, by V. Ivanov; the structuring influence of the unsounding background to the musical substance, by T. Tziv'yan; the consecutive "simplification" of Scriabin's harmony, by S. Ischakova; some surprising aspects of Stravinsky's analysis of "rhetorics of the form", by Yu.Kon; phenomenon of "silent jazz", by F. Sophronov.
As a whole, this book seems to be a considerable attempt to go farther into this scarcely explored problem. The obstacles on this way appear mainly due to lack in necessary scientific methods.