Clarinet Music from Russia and the Soviet Union 1917-1991:

Discovering an Unexplored Side of the Clarinet Repertoire.

A large and stylistically diverse repertoire has been composed for the clarinet in the former Soviet Union. However, just a small amount of these compositions is well known and regularly performed nowadays. This study explores the characteristics and variety of this specific repertoire from a clarinetist ́s point of view. It aims to give insights on forgotten or unknown compositions and to reduce the research gap on clarinet repertoire from this field.

This study, carried out in the Arts study programme, consists of a series of five doctoral recital concerts and the thesis in form of a website, including an extensive clarinet composition database. The study applies a variety of performance-based research methods.

Part One of the thesis is dedicated to the series of concerts, disseminating the topics and program ideas of the concerts. All concert programs are built entirely on music from this field, including works for clarinet solo and chamber music for clarinet, piano and strings.

Part Two combines a historical contextualization of the repertoire with the performer ́s perspectives on exemplary clarinet compositions from this period. The development of this part of the clarinet repertoire, examination of the artistic potential of selected works and own performance observations are supported by video excerpts from the recital concerts. The material is subdivided into topics following the chronological order, from the Russian Revolution until the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Special attention is devoted to clarinet works with elements from Jewish traditional music.

Part Three discloses a database of over five hundred clarinet works from Russia and the Soviet Union in various instrumentations, gathered by the author from various sources, such as composer ́s work listings, catalogues and libraries. The database includes also clarinet works beyond the area of the five doctoral recitals, such as concertos and woodwind chamber music. The added search function intents to be of practical help to the reader.

 

This study aims to be a starting point for a broader perception of clarinet music from Russia and the former Soviet Union among performers, audience and scholars.

Keywords: Clarinet, Chamber music, Clarinet Repertoire, Soviet Union, Russia, Performance- based Research

 

This project is part of my  doctoral studies at the Sibelius-Academy, University of Arts Helsinki, DocMus doctoral school. Finishing this study and publication of the website is scheduled for autumn 2020.

My artistic research activity will continue after the doctoral defense with a postdoc project on clarinet compositions with Jewish themes by Alexander, Grigory and Yulian Krein, funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

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© 2020 by ANNE PIIRAINEN