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The period of 1890-1920, surrounding the Russian October Revolution of 1917, was marked by an unprecedented outburst in all human activities and a tremendous struggle of intellectual forces represented by various personalities and groups. Creativity among poets, artists and musicians soared because of a strong belief in art as a transforming force.
Composer Alexander Tcherepnin was born in 1899 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Tcherepnin’s early exposure to the traditions of the New Russian Music School through his father Nikolai Tcherepnin (1873-1945) and to modern art of the Mir Iskusstva (The World of Art) led to the formation of a unique music style and aesthetic principles. In his style, Alexander Tcherepnin synthesized the New Russian Music School’s universalism and Mir Iskusstva’s Apollonian aestheticism. This document examines selected piano works of Alexander Tcherepnin in light of this unique cultural setting and diverse influences.
Russian composers of this period were continuing traditions of Romanticism or exploring modernism, often displaying rabid nationalism or avant-garde (aggressive confrontation). Tcherepnin was the sole representative of Apollonian ecumenism in music, which stands for elegance and peace. He poignantly and faithfully manifested principles and ideals of his aesthetic convictions through his entire life, in the face of adverse circumstances.
Advisor: Paul Barnes