Night in Galizia 'Night in Galizia' is based on the eponymous poem by Velimir Khlebnikov, a key figure in the Russian avantgarde of the 1920s who, like other major representatives of this movement (Malevich, Stravinsky and Burlyuk), was keenly interested in ancient Slavic folklore. In particular, this interest expressed itself in the use made by these artists of the thaumaturgic songs of the river-maidens, which became a constituent part of the poem 'Night in Galizia'. These thaumaturgic songs were first published in the 19th century by I.P. Sakharov, a collector of ancient Russian legends, who noted in his commentary: 'There is almost no possibility of grasping the meaning of these words. This is a kind of mixture of the heterogeneous sounds of a language no-one knows and which, perhaps, never existed. To this day those who know every detail of it have not been able to use these songs.' Their language is believed by some to be akin to the secret language of the Siberian shamans, who passed on their knowledge in this way. However, these songs are also close to Khlebnikov's concept of 'trans-sense' language. Combining a thaumaturgic ancient language with the 'trans-sense' language of the avant-garde creates a new linguistic space in which familiar literary characters are transformed into functions of interacting linguistic fields. This new linguistic space is entered by the characters of Khlebnikov's poem 'Forest Melancholy', who also play a role in the present work. These characters - River-Maiden, Wood-Goblin, Wind, Willi - embody such natural forces as water, air, the forest and the mountains. Within the new linguistic space they enter, not into the literary relationships familiar to us, but into relationships dictated by the law of ritual. The dialogues between these characters are invocations of one another using 'trans-sense' linguistic formulas that are beyond meaning, rather than an exchange of thoughts and feelings. The musical resolution of 'Night in Galicia' is based largely on the principles of the new linguistic space discovered by Khlebnikov. The melodic formulas of ancient Slavic folklore that were used in ancient calendar songs to invoke the forces of nature form the initial musical material. The formulaic structure of ancient melodies has many similarities with contemporary methods of composition - repetition, minimalism and the new simplicity. The combination of ancient principles of building melody with the most modern principles of compositional structure creates a new sonic space acoustically analogous to Khlebnikov's 'trans-sense' linguistic space. In this space a sound is no longer a carrier of 'feeling' and 'experience', but a conductor of cosmic ritual vibration. Thus, music becomes a manifestation of the cosmic order rather than embodying the 'language of feelings'. Consequently, 'Night in Galizia' is built on the principle of juxtaposing opposites: organic (human voices) and non-organic (instruments), high (high registers) and low (low registers), male (male voices) and female (female voices). To emphasize these opposed pairs, which are the basis of primordial thinking, and to organize them into a new whole the techniques of minimalism and repetition are used. A key role in this is played by the fact that the score of 'Night in Galicia' provides for the obligatory participation of an authentic folklore ensemble. The combination of an ancient means of sonic production with the sounds of modern instruments creates a new opposition between the traditional and the untraditional. The sonic space of 'Night in Galizia' springs from this intersection of tradition and innovation, the authored and the non-authored, ancient and modern. (Written by Vladimir Martynov, translated by Keith Hammond) Over the last 150 years Galizia has been ruled by several different countries: Poland, the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, and the USSR. Since the Perestroika it has become the western province of the Ukraine and is surrounded by White Russia, Poland, Hungary and Romania. Published by CultureWare Music Publ. (GEMA) Licensed from CCn'C Records, Eslohe/Germany © & (P) 2000 CCn'C Records © & (P) 2001 Long Arms Records Creative Concept of CCn'C by Kristjan Jarvi and Ulrich Rutzel VLADIMIR MARTYNOV Night In Galicia CDLA 01029 NIGHT IN GALICIA Texts taken from Velemir Khlebnikov and river-maiden songs in 'Tales of the Russian People' by I. P. Sakharov And when the earthly sphere, burnt out, Grows stricter and asks 'who am I?' We shall create 'The Lay of Igor's Host' Or something like it V. Khlebnikov At the end of the Middle Ages music began to betray its neighbours in the quadrivium - arithmetic, astronomy and geometry - and draw closer to grammar, rhetoric and dialectic, the constituents of the trivium. In doing so it paid a heavy price, falling into the trap of literature. Throughout the entire modern era music, like Khlebnikov's river maiden, has struggled and grown faint in that perfidious trap. It has become rhetorical, it has become dialectical, finally it has become literary. But what is literature? Is not literature nothing more than the confusion born of nocturnal gloom? And if it is, then the time of literature is no more than that of nocturnal confusion and this entire epoch of literature no more than night overtaking a traveller in the wilds of Galicia. However, night-time is not endless - morning comes, confusion melts away and the river maiden of music is set free. Morning comes and with it the time of a new alphabet. The time comes of a new epos, a new folklore, a new ritual. The time comes when there will no longer be a place for composers. The free torrent of music has been transformed at the whim of those power-loving and voluptuous tyrants into a complicated irrigation system of weirs, cisterns and reservoirs. For a long time music has shared the sad fate of all nature, enslaved and destroyed by man, since to compose music is, in the final analysis, as unnatural as to subdue nature. Owing to the exploits of nature's conquerors and of composers, the earthly sphere is already almost burnt out. So we shall not stand in the way of morning's coming with our tedious inventions. We shall open ourselves to the natural flow of the mighty musical source and then we shall see how the river maiden of music comes to life. Vladimir Martynov
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