1.1 Research Position, Field and Material - Clarinet Music from Russia and the Soviet Union 1917-1991
Research Position, Field and Material
This study is situated in the field of artistic research. There is no one clear definition of “artistic research” and its multifaceted perspectives. The debate is still going on; the field is dynamic, and definitions are subject to change. Coessens, Crispin and Douglas (2009) describe an ongoing change in the paradigm of art and science, called artistic turn. The artist produces new knowledge of the process of creativity, not its outcomes (Coessens, Crispin, Douglas 2009, 13-14). Meanwhile, artistic research has assumed a significant role in knowledge production in the surrounding culture (Vehviläinen 2020, 160). My research draws from the practice of performing musicians carrying out research through performance and focussing on a certain composer or repertoire. Catherine Laws underlines the importance of embodiment and gesture for the understanding of music (Laws 2014, 134). Paolo de Assis (2018) emphasizes the special intensity of processes which emerge through the daily practice of making art (de Assis 2018, 12-13). Vehviläinen describes it as the understanding of the artistic, long-term processes and principles of practicing a composition, in her case by Szymanowski (Vehviläinen 2020, 161). The recent edition of the journal Musiikki (2020) discusses the diversity of approaches within artistic research. Eveliina Sumelius-Lindblom (2020) elaborates there on the role of performance as a research tool as well as on the integration of performance videos in research publications.
The focus of each research study is as individual as the artist carrying it out, such as Päivi Järviö (2011) focusing on phenomenological aspects during performing and analysing vocal music by Monteverdi, or Le Guin´s (2006) focus on the carnal aspects of performing Boccherini. My research is also strongly connected to music history, traditions and background in a broader sense, aiming to open up the historical context of the repertoire. Assi Karttunen (2006) elaborates on the aspect of embodied historical awareness in her research on 18th-century French cantata. Kirill Kozlovski (2017) contextualizes the work of Shostakovich from a pianist’s perspective. One main concern of these researchers is to verbalize and articulate embodied knowledge, interpretation and performance observations. For example, Tuomas Mali (2004) analyses the development of his relationship to the music of Crumb, and Maija Parko (2016) examines Debussy´s music from a pianist´s view. In my research, I discuss the stylistic elements and structures of the chosen repertoire, especially focussing on my personal artistic vision and interpretation, which I elaborate through practise and performance experiences. In the field of clarinet music, my research is close to the work of Mikko Raasakka (2005), in which he focusses on the Finnish clarinet repertoire and modern clarinet playing techniques.
As a literary reference frame for my research, I have consulted various books on Russian/Soviet music history, composer biographies, and literature on clarinet history, performance and pedagogy as well as specialized literature on Jewish music, including the following sources: Taruskin (1997, 2009, 2016) and Frolova-Walker (2007, 2012), who lead active and actual discussions on various topics of Russian and Soviet music history. Redepenning (2008) provides a detailed overview of Russian and Soviet music history. Older works, such as that of Boris Schwarz (1972) yield plenty of information, with an important critical attitude towards subjective or outdated interpretations. The dictionary by Ho and Feofanov (1989) gives concise information on a multitude of composers. In Finland, a younger generation of researchers is also devoted to the field of Soviet music studies (e.g. Mikkonen 2007; Herrala 2012). In the Russian language, literature on the history of famous Russian clarinetists and on the development of clarinet playing and pedagogy are of special interest to me. The pedagogic-oriented book by Maistrenko (2017) gives concise biographies of hundreds of Russian clarinet players during the past centuries and plenty of historical information, such as the development of clarinet playing and educational institutions. In older Russian/Soviet literature on wind instrument playing, several chapters can be found on influential clarinetists, especially conservatory teachers and orchestra soloists, for example by Usov (1989). On the general history of clarinet performance and repertoire, I would like to point out works by Weston (1971; 1977), Brymer (1976), Hoeprich (2008), Rice (2017) and Raasakka (2010). In the field of Jewish music, the very detailed publications by Nemtsov (2004, 2008) in particular have been very helpful in leading to information on clarinet works.