• How was Musorgsky's Scribe Made? An Opera Emerging from Gogol's Sleeve – Musical Synecdoche in the Making

    Author(s):
    Miklos Mezosi (see profile)
    Date:
    2009
    Group(s):
    American Musicological Society, International Musicological Society (IMS), Literary theory
    Subject(s):
    19th-century Russian literature, Opera, Russian musical history, Comparative literature
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Gogol, Musorgsky, Mandelstam, Dante Alighieri, Opera semiotics
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/zksw-5a29
    Abstract:
    A close-reading analysis of a scene in Musorgsky's Khovanshcina leads to identifying a “musical tropes”—the musical metaphor termed as the “musical synecdoche.” The musical metaphor requires a more creative or integrative act on the part of the listener, one that leads to an emergent meaning—and probably a more complex meaning. Musical tropology, likewise metaphor in language, becomes a key tool in approaching the musical work. One of the characteristic elements in the poetic arsenal of Gogol, a technique termed by Boris Eikhenbaum as the “Gogolian mask,” re-appears in Musorgsky's last opera, Khovanshchina. We find a literary legacy being adapted for a musical genre. In Conversation about Dante, Mandelstam apprehends what lies at the bottom of the Gogolian mask, assuming a physiology-based operation for “poetics in action” in Divina Commedia: “The art of speech distorts the face, bursts its quietness, tears off its mask...” Musorgsky's adaptation of Gogol's mask—as though it were placed on this Dantean base—are in stunning accordance with Mandelstam's observations on Dante.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 week ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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