The Liberal
About UsSubscribeAdvertising
Current IssueEditor's LetterPoetryPoliticsArts & CultureReviewsCampaignsBack IssuesBookshopBlogPodcastLiberal EventsFacebook

Evenings on a farm near Dikanka

by Alexander Prior

Page 1

Page 2 of Evenings on a farm near Dikanka

THIS piece is a collage of all the emotions, characters and happenings from the wonderful tales of Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (1809-1852), ranging from folkloric dancing to the devil. The piece starts with a dance-like theme using a technique common to folkloric singing formed on the variation of one voice, which is called heterophonia, that comes into unison, only to be broken once more to heterophonia. The entire idea of the score is this contrast between day and night, Christian and pagan, Advent and Epiphany.

These distinct natures become apparent when, in bar 13, we begin to hear a certain amount of polytonal music, perhaps evoking the idea of the pagan witch. Christian and pagan folklore are intertwined in the culture of most Christian countries, and no more so than in Russia. Around bar 18, we can discern the night as the witches gather, and around bar 22 we can begin to hear the swooping of their flight. This active motion comes to a sudden stop in unison, reminding us of the calmer folklore, and we then hear an echo: it is day-break, and the devil's influence is gone.

Alexander Prior

Post this article to: | Digg | Facebook | NowPublic | Reddit