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Theses and Dissertations

Spring 2017

A preliminary study of the choral works and style of

Sergei Taneyev
Shannon Marie Gravelle
University of Iowa

Copyright © 2017 Shannon Marie Gravelle

This dissertation is available at Iowa Research Online:

Recommended Citation
Gravelle, Shannon Marie. "A preliminary study of the choral works and style of Sergei Taneyev." DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) thesis,
University of Iowa, 2017.

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Shannon Marie Gravelle

An essay submitted in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the Doctor of Musical Arts
degree in Music in the
Graduate College of
The University of Iowa

May 2017

Essay Supervisor: Associate Professor David Puderbaugh

Copyright by



All Rights Reserved

Graduate College
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa





This is to certify that the D.M.A. essay of

Shannon Marie Gravelle

has been approved by the Examining Committee for
the essay requirement for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree
in Music at the May 2017 graduation.

Essay Committee: ____________________________________________
David Puderbaugh, Essay Supervisor

Robert Cook

Christine Getz

Margaret Mills

Timothy Stalter

To my mother who taught me perseverance and John who encouraged patience.



My deepest gratitude to all the teachers and mentors throughout my life that have

impacted my education, inspired me, and challenged me. I am forever grateful.

Thank you to all those who helped with my research along the way. A special note

of thanks goes to Dr. Vladimir Morosan, Dr. Anastasia Belina-Johnson, Olesia Lyskovtseva,

Vladimir Gorbik at the Moscow Conservatory, and the women at the Tchaikovsky State

House Museum in Klin, particularly Polina Vaidman and Ada Aynbinder.

Thank you to my committee for their time and knowledge, and a note of

appreciation to Dr. David Puderbaugh for the advising, revisions, phone calls, and emails.

A final word of gratitude to my family: my mother who has been a constant source

of encouragement, my father-in-law who traveled with me on my trip to Russia, Julian who

was with me in utero while I researched, and John for his unwavering support and




Sergei Taneyev (1856–1915) was the most prolific Russian composer of secular

choral music in the second half of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. He

was a teacher of many well-known and influential Russian composers, and he contributed

to the expansion of choral music in Russia through his development of large choral-cycle

compositions. Despite his importance in Russian music history, he remains relatively

unknown outside of Russia.

This document provides a biographical sketch, addresses the history and stylistic

features of Taneyev’s choral music, and outlines the current state of Taneyev research,

including the locations of manuscripts and editions available in the West. Familiarty with

his compositional output and influence in Russia will promote understanding of the

development of Russian secular choral music.



LIST OF TABLES ..................................................................................................................................................... vii

LIST OF EXAMPLES..............................................................................................................................................viii
CHAPTER ONE............................................................................................................................................................1
Introduction ...........................................................................................................................................................1
Biographical Overview ......................................................................................................................................5
Taneyev’s Childhood......................................................................................................................................5
Taneyev at the Moscow Conservatory...................................................................................................6
Taneyev After the Moscow Conservatory ......................................................................................... 12
Taneyev as Teacher.......................................................................................................................................... 14
Russian Secular Music and Taneyev......................................................................................................... 17
CHAPTER TWO ....................................................................................................................................................... 22
Taneyev Scholarship........................................................................................................................................ 22
Russian Language Sources....................................................................................................................... 22
Non-Russian Language Sources............................................................................................................. 26
Published Editions....................................................................................................................................... 32
Taneyev Manuscripts: Location and Access..................................................................................... 35
History of Taneyev’s Choral Works .......................................................................................................... 36
Opus 27............................................................................................................................................................. 43
Opus 35............................................................................................................................................................. 45
Additional Taneyev Sources.................................................................................................................... 47
Taneyev’s Reputation...................................................................................................................................... 48
CHAPTER THREE................................................................................................................................................... 52
Taneyev’s Influences ....................................................................................................................................... 53
His Music Library ......................................................................................................................................... 54
Taneyev and His Use of Folk Music ...................................................................................................... 57
Stylistic Features of Taneyev’s Choral Music........................................................................................ 58
Contrapuntal Techniques ......................................................................................................................... 59
Themes ............................................................................................................................................................. 67
Motivic Use...................................................................................................................................................... 68
Form................................................................................................................................................................... 76
Texture ............................................................................................................................................................. 82
Harmony .......................................................................................................................................................... 84
Hemiola ............................................................................................................................................................ 88
Text..................................................................................................................................................................... 92
Conclusion: Summary and Future ............................................................................................................. 94
APPENDIX A. TANEYEV’S CHORAL CATALOGUE AND PUBLISHERS.............................................. 97
APPENDIX B. CHORAL MUSIC DISCOGRAPHY ....................................................................................... 105
APPENDIX C. PROMETHEUS TRIPLE FUGUE .......................................................................................... 108


APPENDIX D. TWO SULLEN CLOUDS AMONG THE MOUNTAINS .................................................... 115
BIBLIOGRAPHY.................................................................................................................................................... 136



Table 1. End-of-early period choral compositions.................................................................................. 40

Table 2. Промeтей [Prometheus] form. ....................................................................................................... 78
Table 3. Молитва [Prayer] key structure. .................................................................................................. 86



Example 1. Фонтан............................................................................................................................................... 60
Example 2. По горам две хмурых тучи stretto ending. ...................................................................... 63
Example 3. Серенада mm. 23–27................................................................................................................... 64
Example 4. Лечь бы в кровати mm. 6–9 tenor/bass motives.......................................................... 65
Example 5. Лечь бы в кровати mm. 11–15 sixteenth motive. ......................................................... 65
Example 6. Морское дно opening imitative material. .......................................................................... 67
Example 7. Вечер mm. 1–26............................................................................................................................. 70
Example 8. Вечер mm. 46–end........................................................................................................................ 72
Example 9. Адель mm. 1–5 rhythmic motive............................................................................................ 73
Example 10. По горам две хмурых тучи rhythmic motive. .............................................................. 74
Example 11. По горам две хмурых тучи soprano motive. ................................................................ 75
Example 12. Развалину башни, жилище орла mm. 1–7. .................................................................. 79
Example 13. Развалину башни, жилище орла mm. 41–46.............................................................. 80
Example 14. Развалину башни, жилище орла mm. 84–95.............................................................. 81
Example 15. Альпы antiphonal effect. ......................................................................................................... 83
Example 16. Из вечности музыка texture change. ............................................................................... 84
Example 17. Вечер augmented E-flat chord.............................................................................................. 85
Example 18. На могиле m. 7 diminished fourth...................................................................................... 87
Example 19. Монастырь на казбеке tenor pedal point...................................................................... 88
Example 20. Монастырь на казбеке tenor pedal point...................................................................... 88
Example 21. Вечер hemiola. ............................................................................................................................. 89
Example 22. Из вечности музыка hemiola. ............................................................................................. 90
Example 23. Адель hemiola.............................................................................................................................. 91
Example 24. Эхо hemiola. .................................................................................................................................. 91





In 1927, Russian music critic Leonid Sabaneev predicted that Russian composer

Sergei Ivanovich Taneyev (1856–1915) would soon be popular in the West. Sabaneev

wrote, “Serious programmes are no longer made up in Russia without Taneyev’s

compositions... At present, his fame is spread only throughout Russia... but there is not the

slightest doubt that it will spread to Europe and America as well...”1 Although Sabaneev’s

prophecy did not come true, his reasoning for making that strong statement was sound,

given Taneyev’s influence at the time. Taneyev was a pioneer of Russian secular choral

music, and unusual in his extensive use of imitative counterpoint. Moreover, he taught

musical form and invertible counterpoint to many prominent Russian composers. Finally,

Taneyev’s choral music was accessible to many different musicians, particularly since his

choral music defied the trends of his Russian contemporaries by not using octavists, an

extremely low male voice type often used in but rarely outside Russian sacred music.

Taneyev was one of the most prolific composers of secular Russian choral music in

the second half of the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries,2 and his total body of

work is wide-ranging, comprised of several orchestral works, two cantatas, multiple string

quartets and chamber pieces, vocal songs, an opera, and piano works. In addition to his

Leonid Leonidovich Sabaneev, Modern Russian Composers (New York: International Publishers, 1927),
Vladimir Morosan, Choral Performance in Pre-revolutionary Russia (Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI
Research Press, 1986), 206. Other composers who wrote part song repertoire during this time include Tchaikovsky,
Rimsky-Korsakov, Arensky, Cui, Gretchaninov, Chesnokov, Kalinninkov, and Katalsky. This will be discussed in
more detail later in the first chapter.

two large unaccompanied choral cycles, there are thirty-five other choral compositions

often counted in his catalogue, and Taneyev also composed vocal chamber works that he

noted in his manuscripts3 could be performed by a choir rather than a small ensemble.

Twenty-three unpublished4 choral compositions based on sacred texts are omitted from

Taneyev’s choral oeuvre on Grove Music Online. This gap in one of the most easily accessed

sources regarding Taneyev reinforces the need for additional scholarship and

consideration of Taneyev’s choral works by those in the Western world.

Taneyev’s contribution to secular Russian choral music made a lasting impact,

particularly through both the length of the choral cycles and the number of pieces he

contributed to this undeveloped genre.5 Until the late nineteenth century, much of the

existing Russian secular choral literature was primarily borrowed from operas.6 As

Taneyev matured as a composer, his choral compositions grew more contrapuntally

complex and varied in length, and he became the first Russian composer to write large

secular unaccompanied choral cycles.7 Taneyev’s op. 27 includes twelve works for mixed

chorus and his op. 35 includes sixteen works for men’s chorus. His op. 27 continues to be

programmed by Russian musicians today, although not always in its entirety. Given both

the depth and complexity of Taneyev’s contributions, choral conductors in the Western

world would greatly benefit by programming Taneyev’s works.

Most of these manuscripts are held at the Tchaikovsky State Museum in Klin.
Unpublished during his lifetime. Since Taneyev was a self-declared atheist, he did not feel it was
appropriate to compose music for liturgical use. This will be discussed in more detail later. If added to the already
known choral compositions, the number of choral compositions by Taneyev numbers eighty-six, not including the
works that are able to be sung by a chamber ensemble or large choral ensemble.
Lhudmila Korabelnikova, “Problema tsikla v pozdnikh khjrah Taneyeva [The Problem of Cycle in
Taneyev’s Late Choruses],” Sovetskaya muzika 12 (1981): 84.
Lhudmilla Korabelnikova, Tvorchesvto S.I. Taneeva: istoriko-stilsticheskoe issledovanie (Moscow:
Muzyka, 1986), 194.
Rimsky-Korsakov composed unaccompanied secular music primarily in the mid-1870s. A few of these
compositions include op. 13, two choruses for female voices, op. 16, six choruses for mixed voices, and op. 18, two
choruses for mixed voices.

Taneyev’s compositional technique, in particular his pervasive use of imitative

contrapuntal techniques, differed from that of his contemporaries. Some Russian

composers, such as the Mighty Five,8 sought to create a national Russian sound by avoiding

formal Western training, while Taneyev believed a Russian sound could be achieved by

using compositional techniques honed in formal training. In a letter to Tchaikovsky dated

August 18, 1880, Taneyev wrote that he wanted Russian musicians to cultivate their own

ideas of music and musical sound, but argued that Russian composers should start with

Russian folk music and develop it by using traditional compositional techniques, including

counterpoint.9 Though counterpoint was considered old-fashioned by many of his Russian

contemporaries, Taneyev believed that mastery of counterpoint was essential to

developing musical material.

Taneyev influenced generations of future Russian musicians. He was the teacher of

many well-known Russian composers, such as Rachmaninoff and Chesnokov. He taught

theory and form at the Moscow Conservatory, and after he left the Conservatory,

counterpoint and form continued to be taught there “per Taneev.”10 G. Ackley Brower’s

1962 English translation of Taneyev’s Convertible Counterpoint in the Strict Style included

endorsements by prominent Russians, as well as non-Russians, including Sergei

Rachmaninoff, Igor Stravinsky, Leonid Sabaneev, Lazare Saminsky, Philip Greeley Clapp,

and Walter Piston.11 Taneyev was also friends with Tchaikovsky, who sought Taneyev’s

The mighty Five was comprised of Balakirev, Borodin, Cui, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov.
Sergei Evseyev, “S.I. Taneyev and Folk Music,” in Pamiati Sergeia Ivanovicha Taneeva, ed. Vladimir
Vasil’evich Proptopopov (Moscow: Muzgiz, 1947), 148.
Sergei Evseyev, Narodnye I natsional’nye korni muzykal’nogo iazyka S.I. Taneeva (Moscow:
Gosudarstvennoe Muzykal’noe Izd., 1963), 132.
Taneyev is one of the better-known Russian theorists in the West, but ultimately, his recognition as a
theorist mirrors his recognition as a composer: he is often forgotten. His treatise Convertible Counterpoint in the

feedback on his compositions. Despite all of these accolades, Taneyev is largely unknown

in the world of Western choral music.

Taneyev’s choral music is worth exploring beyond its historical importance. In

addition to not using octavists, the other voice ranges in his music are not extreme, which

makes it more possible for the amateur chorister to perform his works. The difficulty

levels of his music vary, and middle or high school choirs could sing some works if these

editions of Taneyev’s choral music were available. He also set Russian poetry; performing

Taneyev’s choral works creates opportunities to explore secular Russian poetry and

culture through these texts.

This thesis provides historical context for Taneyev’s choral music through a stylistic

analysis of his choral music. Chapter One provides a biographical sketch and elaborates on

Taneyev’s place in Russian music history. Chapter Two addresses the current state of

Taneyev research, including location of manuscripts, and the historical background of

Taneyev’s choral music. Appendix A also provides a list of editions. Chapter Three

highlights the stylistic features of Taneyev’s choral compositions. Drawing on his known

published and unpublished choral music and composition exercises,12 I determine the

compositional techniques Taneyev used to make his music distinctive among his

contemporaries. The defining feature of Taneyev’s choral music was the pervasive use of

imitative counterpoint, which was not a technique his Russian contemporaries subscribed

Strict Style, published in 1909, focuses on two- and three-part counterpoint. He also wrote a second treatise,
Doctrine of the Canon, which was published posthumously.
There were some works that I was unable to locate. For example, manuscripts for some choruses in op.
35 are lost. Other unaccompanied choral works I could not locate are: Торжественный хор для прибытия гостей
[Ceremonial Chorus for the Arrival of Guests], Однажды к попадье [Once to a Priest’s Wife], Слава святым
Кириллу и Мефодию [Glory to Cyril and Methodius], Сяду завтра я к окошeчку [Tomorrow I Shall Sit by My
Window], Шуточные каноны [Three Canons], and Ты кгнчил жизни путь, герой [You Have Finished Life’s

to with the same degree of frequency or complexity. While other compositional techniques

are not unique to Taneyev, these devices were still recognizable as features of Taneyev’s

choral works.

Biographical Overview

Taneyev’s Childhood

Sergei Taneyev’s father, Ivan Illych, graduated from the University of Moscow in

medicine, math, and philology, and later became a government official.13 He was noted for

his kindness and moral uprightness and, being a man with a variety of interests, he also

studied topics such as literature, theater, and music. Taneyev’s mother, Varvara Pavlovna,

was twenty-five years younger than her husband. She was the child of a clergyman, and

received the standard education in subjects such as French, needlework, and music. The

Taneyevs had two sons older than Sergei—Pavel and Vladimir—who both became lawyers.

As both of his brothers were quite a bit older,14 Sergei Taneyev was not close with them

until he was an adult. His nanny, Pelageya Vasilyevna Chizhova, was close to the Taneyev

family, and later lived with Sergei Taneyev after the death of her parents, acting as a type of

secretary for the adult Taneyev.15

Sergei Ivanovich Taneyev was born on November 25, 185616 in Vladimir, Russia,

where the family lived an “unhurried” life.17 Taneyev’s parents played duets together,

often with his mother on the piano and his father on the violin. Musical talent was plentiful

Svetlana I. Savenko, Sergei Ivanovich Taneev (Moscow: Klassika-XXI, 2003), 9.
Ibid., 11.
Ibid., 13
All dates listed are based on the Gregorian calendar, however, the Julian calendar was still in use in
Russian when Taneyev was alive.
Savenko, 6.

in the Taneyev family, and distant cousin Alexander Taneyev was also a composer. When

Taneyev was five, his parents decided to encourage his talent by placing him in piano

lessons with V. I. Voznitsyny-Polyanski.18 Even though Taneyev’s father had encouraged all

of his boys to play music, only his youngest son pursued it with any vigor.

When Taneyev was nine years old, his father retired and the Taneyev family moved

to Moscow. Their place of residence in Moscow was Chisty Street, number seven.19 It was

not long after the move to Moscow that Taneyev began his formal music training at the

Moscow Conservatory.

Taneyev at the Moscow Conservatory

Upon his arrival in Moscow, Taneyev began piano lessons with Marya

Aleksandrovna Miropolski, a student of Nikolai Rubinstein.20 In 1866, Rubinstein

suggested sending Taneyev to the Conservatory, despite the fact that admittance age for

the Conservatory was fourteen-years-old. Since the ten-year-old Taneyev was too young to

take courses for credit, he was initially admitted as a student who audited courses.

Taneyev’s teachers at the Conservatory influenced him throughout his life. Taneyev

impressed Edward Langer, his first Conservatory piano teacher, by correctly determining

intervals and inverted chords by ear.21 Langer was an assistant to Nikolai Rubinstein, the

founder of the Conservatory, and according to University rules, a student who was taking

lessons with an assistant could later take lessons with the assistant’s professors.22 This

rule allowed Taneyev to begin studying piano in 1871 with Rubinstein, who was impressed

Ibid., 13. The first name of his first piano teacher has not been located.
As of July 2015, the residence was being renovated and turned into a museum
Savenko, 15.
Ibid., 16. Taneyev correctly determined both major and minor inverted chords.
Ibid., 15.

by Taneyev’s ability as a pianist and composer.23 Taneyev studied composition with Piotr

Tchaikovsky, who later became a close friend.

Music was not Taneyev’s sole pursuit. He was interested in both Greek history and

literature from a young age,24 and these pursuits influenced the composition of his only

opera, Oresteia. Taneyev also took a variety of courses at the Moscow Conservatory,

including history, literature, aesthetics, art history, German, and French.25

In addition to being a bright student, Taneyev was an outstanding pianist. In 1874,

he gave the Moscow premiere of Tchaikovsky’s B-flat minor Piano Concerto. Taneyev also

gave the Russian premiere of Brahms’s Piano Concerto in D minor, op. 15, on December 3,

1875,26 which was conducted by his former piano teacher, Nikolai Rubinstein. Taneyev

continued to perform throughout his life, often playing piano repertoire from memory. He

was particularly known for his interpretations of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven.27

Taneyev graduated from the Conservatory in 1875 with degrees in piano and

composition. He was in the first generation of Conservatory graduates, and was at the top

of his class with two gold medals in piano and composition; the medals signified the highest

honors in these areas. Taneyev’s name is the first carved into a marble stone that includes

the list of Conservatory medal recipients, located in the small performance hall foyer at the

Moscow Conservatory.

Ibid., 20. When Taneyev was an older student, Rubinstein invited him to a musical gathering where
attendees listened to and discussed musical scores. This is one time of many in which Rubinstein singles Taneyev
Lhudmila Z. Korabelnikova, “Zametki o tvorchestve Taneyeva [Notes on Taneyev’s Output],”
Sovetskaia muzyka 8 (1997): 113.
Savenko, 17.
Anastasia Belina, “The Master of Moscow,” International Piano no. 49 (2007): 63.
James Bakst, A History of Russian-Soviet Music (New York: Dodd, Meed, 1966), 244.

After graduation, Taneyev traveled and began studying counterpoint seriously.28

His fascination with counterpoint would define his career as a composer, theorist, and

educator. He also performed frequently during this time, touring with Nikolai Rubinstein

and the violinist Leopold Auer. In October 1876, Taneyev went to France where he met

d’Indy, Franck, Fauré, Duparc,29 Gounod, and Saint-Saëns. Taneyev composed during the

year he was in France, but French influence is not discernable in his compositions.30

In 1878, Taneyev began teaching at the Moscow Conservatory, replacing his former

teacher, Tchaikovsky. In 1881, moreover, Taneyev began to teach Rubinstein’s piano class.

He taught a variety of other subjects as well, such as harmony, instrumentation, elementary

theory, composition, strict and free counterpoint, and form.31 His classes in counterpoint

and analysis were especially influential on his students,32 and Taneyev was able to give

individualized attention to students, since he never accepted more than five per class.33 In

addition to his teaching duties, Taneyev collaborated with Fyodor Petrovich

Komissarzhevsky, an opera singer and voice teacher, to produce student operas.34

Taneyev accepted the directorship of the Moscow Conservatory in 1885 at the age of

twenty-nine. He was highly respected as the Conservatory director and incorporated

significant changes in the school. Taneyev improved the Conservatory’s financial standing,

established higher standards for entrance requirements while making it easier for talented

Ellon D Carpenter, “The Contributions of Taneev, Catorie, Conus, Garbuzov, Mazel, and Tiulin,” in
Russian Theoretical Thought in Music, ed. Gordon D. McQuere (Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1983),
Stephen Muir and Anastasia Belina-Johnson, eds., Wagner in Russia, Poland, and the Czech lands:
Musical, Literary, and Cultural Perspectives (Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2013), 2.
Michel D Calvocoressi and Gerald Abraham, Masters of Russian Music (New York: Knopf, 1936), 441.
Carpenter, 254.
Lhudmila Z. Korabelnikova, S.I. Taneev v Moskovskoj konservatorii (Moscow: Muzika, 1974), 142.
Jacob Weinberg, “Sergei Ivanovitch Taneiev,” The Musical Quarterly (1958): 24.
Elena Gennadievna Sorokina, ed., The Moscow Conservatory: Materials and Documents from the
Collections of the Moscow State P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory and the M.I. Glinka Museum of Musical Culture
(Moscow: Progress-Tradition Publisher, 2009), 37.

poor students to study at the Conservatory, and incorporated more Russian music, both his

own as well as his contemporaries’, into performance classes.35 Taneyev also changed the

way parts of the program were structured in an attempt to strengthen the musical integrity

of both the performance and education programs. For example, he divided the fifth-year

piano students into two classes: one class was on a performance track and the other class

was on a music education track. The overall period of study for the second group of

students was reduced by one or two years,36 allowing them to focus less on performing.

Taneyev still made time to compose, despite his busy schedule. In 1880, he

composed Я Памятник себе воздвит нерукотворный [I Have Built Myself a Monument]

for the unveiling of a Pushkin memorial. In 1884, Taneyev composed the cantata Иоанн

Дамаскин [John of Damascus], which he labeled Opus 1 and dedicated to Nikolai

Rubinstein. In the summer of 1885, he visited the Caucasus and spent time getting familiar

with its folk tunes.37 Over the next few summers, Taneyev spent time composing in

Selishche, Russia.38

In May of 1889, Taneyev resigned the directorship of the Moscow Conservatory.

Despite his success as an administrator, he did not care for the work because it had taken

precious time from composing.39 He remained on the Moscow Conservatory faculty, and

continued to teach composition courses.

In the first half of the 1890s, Taneyev began spending more time with Leo Tolstoy

and his family, with whom he was good friends. Tolstoy and Taneyev engaged in

Anastasia Belina, A Critical Re-Evaluation of Taneyev’s Oresteia (PhD diss., University of Leeds, May
2009), 3.
Sorokina, 37.
Taneyev’s use of folk music will be discussed in more detail in Chapter Three.
Calvocoressi and Abraham, 443.
Sorokina, 38.

conversations about the arts, and the records of these provide a glimpse into Taneyev’s

musical beliefs. For example, in one conversation, Tolstoy and Taneyev discussed the

meaning of “good” art. Tolstoy believed that art could be considered good only if it were

appreciated. Conversely, Taneyev believed that art could be good even if others did not

appreciate it.40 This conversation may give insight as to why Taneyev composed

contrapuntal music, despite the fact that counterpoint was considered old-fashioned.

Taneyev did not need his contemporaries to appreciate the compositional techniques

associated with counterpoint for him to consider it a high art form. In another

conversation, Taneyev defended Beethoven’s music to Tolstoy, despite Taneyev’s penchant

for early music, aruing that Beethoven’s compositions deviated from established forms

when Beethoven considered it necessary to do so.41 This conversation aligns with his belief

that form was chosen after thoughtful consideration of the purpose of the music.

In 1895, Ivan Lvovich Tolstoy, the son of Tolstoy and his wife Sofia Andreyevna,

died, sending Sofia into an intense grieving period. One of the few things that soothed

Sofia’s grief was music, and to aid in the healing process, Taneyev sometimes played for

her.42 She developed an attachment to Taneyev, which he did not return. Sofia,

nonetheless, spoke freely of her affection for Taneyev, straining the relationship between

Tolstoy and Taneyev for a time.43 At one point, Tolstoy said that Taneyev annoyed him by

“his moral complacency” and “aesthetic stupidity.”44 Taneyev then received a letter from

Sergei Tolstoy, Tolstoy Remembered by His Son, trans. Moura Budberg (London: Weidenfeld and
Nicolson, 1961), 178. Taneyev thought Sergei Tolstoy had a gift for music and encouraged his studies. Sergei
Tolstoy later went on to become a composer and ethnomusicologist.
Ibid., 180-181.
Ibid., 182.
Ibid., 184.
Ibid., 185.

Sofia that he called “absurd,”45 which he appears to have destroyed. The contents of the

letter, as well as the response Taneyev wrote to her, are unknown, but Taneyev saw less of

Sofia after this.46 Despite this situation, Tolstoy and Taneyev remained friends. Tolstoy’s

son, Sergei, later wrote in his book that Taneyev was kind, intelligent, modest, witty,

extremely conscientious, and selfless.47

In September 1905, Taneyev resigned his teaching post at the Moscow

Conservatory. His resignation was due to a variety of factors, including the way the

director of the Conservatory handled student protests of the Tsarist regime. The

Conservatory faculty were divided on the protests, and many faculty members were not

supportive of the growing liberation movement. Vasili Safonov, the director of the

Conservatory at the time, supported the Tsarist government and desired to maintain the

traditional order, so he punished the protesting students. In an open letter to the

Conservatory and its administration, Taneyev criticized Safonov’s response to the protests,

and accused him of both violating the principle of collegial leadership and ignoring the

opinion of the Artistic Board. In the same letter, Taneyev expressed his belief in the need

for reforms in the music education offered at the Conservatory, and suggested dividing it

into a junior college of music and a higher college (the Conservatory).48 Many professors

and students asked him to withdraw his resignation, but Taneyev likely did not think real

reform would happen at the Conservatory.49 After his resignation, Taneyev continued to

consult and work with many Conservatory instructors and students.50

Ibid., 183.
Ibid., 189.
Sorokina, 43.
Ibid., 44.
Korabelnikova, S.I. Taneev v Moskovskoj konservatorii,142.

Taneyev After the Moscow Conservatory

After he left the Moscow Conservatory, Taneyev taught private students,

concertized, and continued to compose. He finished his book Convertible Counterpoint in

the Strict Style, which was published in 1909. In 1913, he became an honorary member of

the Russian Musical Society.

In January 1915, the Moscow Society for the Advancement of Chamber Music held a

concert devoted to Taneyev’s compositions. A concert similar to this had been held in

previous seasons, and consisted of works such as his piano quintets, piano trios, and

romances. The 1915 concert, in which Taneyev was at the piano, would be his last public


In March 1915, Taneyev’s sister-in-law, Elena Sergeyeva Taneyeva, and his friend

Fyodor Ivanovich Maslov, both passed away.52 The following month, Taneyev attend the

funeral of Alexander Scriabin and caught what seemed like a cold. After this, his health

began to decline. In an effort to recover, he traveled to his house in Dyudkovo to rest. On

June 18, Taneyev wrote a letter to Anna Ivanovna Maslovna stating that his heart was very

weak, he could not get out of bed, and he became winded quickly.53 Taneyev died around

noon on June 19, 1915.54

The peasants in Dyudkovo carried Taneyev’s coffin at the funeral. He had been

extremely well liked by the local citizens; one shepherd said that Taneyev wished good to

everyone and never said a bad word.55 After the funeral, a portion of Taneyev’s Symphony

Savenko, 164.
Ibid., 164.
Ibid., 165. Note that Savenko used the date June 5, 1915. This is likely June 5 according to the Julian
calendar, as this was used during Taneyev’s lifetime, and is still used by the Orthodox Church.
Grigory B. Bernandt, S.I. Taneev (Moscow: Muzyka, 1983), 240.
Savenko, 166.

in C Minor was played.56 His coffin, initially buried in Moscow at the Dunskoy Monastery,

was moved in 1936 to the Novodevicy Monastery. He is buried next to Nikolai


After Taneyev’s death, students and friends at the Conservatory started a fund in

Taneyev’s name to support a composition contest. The committee that adjudicated

consisted of Yury Nikolayevich Pomerantsev, Nikolai Raisky, Modest Tchaikovsky, and Yu

D. Engel. A second competition, which required compositions for voice and orchestra, was

soon implemented. The panel of judges included Alexander Glazunov, Alexander Ziloti,

Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kashkin, as well as Taneyev’s former students Nikolai Medtner and

Sergei Rachmaninoff. A second round of the composition contest for voice and orchestra

was going to be held commemorating what would have been Taneyev’s sixtieth birthday,

but it was interrupted by the Russian Revolution and never took place.58

Taneyev garnered much respect during and after his lifetime as both a musician and

a person.59 He had exceptionally high moral standards,60 and it was not uncommon for him

to return payment for things, such as a concert fee, because he felt like he was being paid

too much.61 Additionally, Taneyev was politically and culturally progressive for his time.

He was one of the first to sign the “Address of Moscow Musicians,” which protested acts of

the Tsarist regime and requested government reform in the direction of Western

democracies.62 Taneyev also helped to appoint Alexandra Ivanovna Hubert, a woman, to

Ibid., 166.
Vasily Kiselyov, Tamara Livanova, and Vladimir Protopopov, eds., S.I. Taneyev: materiali I dokumenti
[Materials and Documents] (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1952), 344.
Bernandt, 241-242.
Jacob Weinberg in The Musical Quarterly, said that Taneyev was a “prince in music.”
Sorokina, 36.
Weinberg, 21.
Ibid., 21-22.

the post of inspector at the Moscow Conservatory. When she voiced her doubts about a

woman holding the position, Taneyev convinced her that this was the new way of the

world. Taneyev then wrote to Tchaikovsky, “Apropos Alexandra Ivanovna’s argument that

it would be strange to appoint a woman to this post, I say that in the past it might have

been indeed strange, but not now, when there are women doctors, academics, professors,

and so on.”63 Taneyev is still respected today, and many museums, classrooms, and

libraries bear his name.64

Taneyev as Teacher

Taneyev taught and influenced many well-known Russian composers. Anastasia

Belina-Johnson writes that Taneyev is “considered a pillar of Russian music education,”65

partly because of his extensive list of students and partly because Taneyev was one of main

disseminators of counterpoint theory in Russia.

Taneyev’s long list of students includes Sergei Rachmaninoff, Alexander Scriabin,

Nikolai Medtner, Ottorino Respighi, Konstantin Igumnov, Reinhold Glière, Alexander

Gretchaninov, Alexander Kastalsky, Alexander Goldenweiser, and Leonid Sabaneev.

Taneyev also taught Serge Koussevitzky, who later became the long-time music director of

the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He taught Leonid Nikolayev, Shostakovich’s teacher;

Nikolai Myaskovsky, well known for his symphonies; and Pavel Chesnokov (1877–1944),

known in the West for his choral piece “Salvation is Created.” Taneyev taught Georgian

Anastasia Belina, “Representation of Clytemnestra and Cassandra in Taneyev’s Oresteia,” Studies in
Musical Theater 2, no. 1 (2008): 62.
The Moscow Conservatory has classroom named after him, and has also named their music library after
Taneyev. There is a separate building dedicated to Taneyev at the Tchaikovsky Museum in Klin, as well as a
museum dedicated to Taneyev in Dyudkovo. Another museum dedicated to Taneyev is currently under
construction in Moscow.
Belina, “The Master of Moscow,” 62.

composer Zakaria Paliashvili, considered the founder of Georgian classical music. Some of

Taneyev’s last students in the 1910s were Sergei Vasilenko Evseyev and Alexander

Vasilyevich Alexandrov. Evseyev was a theory instructor at the Moscow Conservatory from

1922 to 1956, and he wrote books on harmony, polyphony in Russian folk music, and a

biography of Taneyev.66 Alexandrov taught composition at the Moscow Conservatory

beginning in 1918 and influenced future generations of Russian and non-Russian


It is likely that Taneyev influenced the contrapuntal techniques used in

Rachmaninoff’s and Medtner’s works.67 Medtner studied counterpoint and form at the

Moscow Conservatory with Taneyev from 1897 to 1902.68 Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil

bears Taneyev’s influence through its large form, the juxtaposition of homophonic and

contrapuntal sections, thematic development, and use of imitation, particularly in the final

movement (Allegro).69

Taneyev’s influence extended beyond his immediate students. He recommended his

student Glière as a teacher of theory and composition for a young Prokofiev after Taneyev

noticed Prokofiev’s talents.70 Even Igor Stravinsky, in a conversation with Robert Craft,

said that he “highly valued Taneyev’s treatise on counterpoint, respected him as a

composer... and admired him greatly as a pianist.”71

The book by Sergei Evseyev is titled Narodnye i natsionalnye korni muzykalnogo iazyka S.I. Taneeva
(Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe Muzykalnoe Izd., 1963).
Bakst, 245.
Savenko, 160.
Vladimir Morosan, “Research Report: Two Russian Choral Giants: Alexander Kastalsky (1856-1926)
and Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915),” Choral Journal 48, no. 11 (May 2008): 88.
Belina, “The Master of Moscow,” 64.
Ibid., 62.

Taneyev’s classes on polyphony and musical forms were especially influential.72 He

was a thoughtful teacher, and cared about the sequential presentation of concepts in

class.73 Taneyev wanted his students to use invertible counterpoint rules with a clear

understanding of their meaning and rationale,74 and he was able to achieve this through

extensive homework and class exercises. Taneyev considered the homework and class

exercises essential, as they were interactions between the teacher and student.75 In his

performance syllabi, he included Russian music and often introduced new works composed

by his contemporaries and former students.76 This illustrates Taneyev’s desire to promote

the growth and development of Russian music, not simply absorb European music. He

inspired respect and awe in his students; for example, Chesnokov said he had wanted to

study with Taneyev, enjoyed studying with him, and greatly admired him.77

Taneyev emphasised mastery of musical forms and text intelligibility in his classes.

He wanted his students to master form for practical use, and because of this, requested his

students to write in certain genres, such as a prelude, dance or march.78 Text setting was

also important to Taneyev. The singers, he explained in a lecture, would need to be able to

convey the expression of each phrase through the music. One way he suggested that the

Tat’iana Aleksandrovna Khoprova, Sergei Ivanovich Taneev, 1856-1915: populiarnaia monografiia
(Leningrad: Muzyka, 1980), 142.
Lhudmila Zionvevna Korabelnikova, “Taneev o vospitanii kompozitora [Taneev on the Education of a
Composer],” Sovetskaia Muzyka 9 (1960): 91.
Sorokina, 36.
Korabelnikova, “Taneev o vospitanii kompozitora [Taneev on the Education of a Composer],” 93.
Belina, “The Master of Moscow,” 63.
Morosan, “Research Report: Two Russian Choral Giants: Alexander Kastalsky (1856-1926) and Sergei
Taneyev (1856-1915),” 78.
F.G. Arzamanov, S.I. Taneev- prepodavatel’ kursa muzykal’nykh form (Moscow: Gos. muzykal’noe izd-
vo, 1963), 46-49. Arzamanov also argued that Taneyev wanted forms to be logical and convincing. When
discussing form and modulations with one student, Taneyev suggested a transition from F-sharp major to the
original key of D major through E minor, instead of attempting to transition directly from F-sharp major to D major.

emotions of each line be understood was to introduce the text homophonically or, if

choosing to set the text polyphonically, in such a way that the words were intelligible.79

Taneyev was dedicated to furthering his students’ education. He dedicated time

outside the classroom to them; for example, sometimes he read through Wagner scores

with his students to help them analyze and understand the music.80 His students often

wanted to know Taneyev’s opinion on their pieces;81 Gretchaninov said that he would not

make a composition public without showing it to Taneyev first.82 In addition to his careful

attention to his students’ education, Taneyev was also conscientious of his students’

financial means. For example, Taneyev directed a benefit concert at the Conservatory for

those students who needed financial assistance.83 He refused to take payments from his

private students, which also allowed him to pick students based on talent and potential. In

general, Taneyev approached his students’ education the same way he approached his

compositions: with a high degree of thoughtfulness and vigor.

Russian Secular Music and Taneyev

Secular choral music became popular relatively late in Russia, and this meant that

Taneyev began composing when very little secular choral music existed in Russia. One of

the most well known figures in nineteenth-century Russian music, Mikhail Glinka (1804–

1857), did not write much choral music. Later in the nineteenth-century, a group called the

Nikolai Bazhanov, Taneev (Moscow: Molodaya Gvardiia, 1971), 79.
Savenko, 59.
Vladimir Morosan, “Research Report: Two Russian Choral Giants: Alexander Kastalsky (1856-1926)
and Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915),” 77.
Sorokina, 81.

“Mighty Five” emerged in Russia,84 and while two of the members, Rimsky-Korsakov and

Cui, did write some secular choral music, their contributions were still limited. Much of the

Russian secular choral literature that existed before was comprised primarily of opera

choruses,85 and even through the start of the Russian Revolution in 1917, most Russian

composers were still writing sacred choral music. The lack of interest in secular choral

literature was likely due to the relatively small number of community choral ensembles

that performed secular works, as well as the focus on sacred music by the Tsarist

government. If a community choir met, it was considered an “assembly,” and an assembly

had to be granted permission from the government whenever it gathered. The only

exceptions to this rule applied to institutions such as churches and theaters;86 therefore it

was easier to gather in a theater to perform opera than it was to perform a concert of

secular choral works, which required an assembly permit.

The gradual development of secular choirs in the latter half of the nineteenth-

century mirrored the rise in nationalism. It also created an opportunity for Taneyev to

compose secular choral works and have them performed. One of the first secular choirs

was the Free Musical School in St. Petersburg, formed in tandem with the Russian Musical

Society in 1859. The Free Music School initially followed European music practices such as

teaching singers the notes with the help of a violin, which was an Italian practice.87

Balakirev, who led the Free Music School, incorporated Russian secular opera choruses,88

but much of the music sung by the Free Music School’s three hundred-voice choir was by

The Five consisted of: Mily Balakirev (1837–1910), Alexander Borodin (1833–1887), César Cui (1835–
1918), Modest Mussorgsky (1839–1881), and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844–1908). The contributions of
Rimsky-Korsakov and Cui will be mentioned later in the chapter.
Vladimir Morosan, Choral Performance in Pre-revolutionary Russia, 118.
Ibid., 117.
Ibid., 210.
Ibid., 118.

Western composers. Other ensembles soon formed. The first secular choir in Moscow was

the Russian Choral Society, founded in 1878 by Konstantin Karl Albrecht; both Tchaikovsky

and Nikolai Rubinstein were honorary members.89 Alexander Arkhangelsky (1846–1924)

formed a choir in 1880 that sang only Russian folk songs and gave concerts outside of

Russia.90 The Free Choral Class, financed by the opera singer Ivan Melnikov, was founded

in 1890, 91 and Taneyev, along with a few others, composed works specifically for it.

Taneyev was not the only Russian composer writing secular choral music, although

he was the most prolific of his time. Other Russian composers who contributed secular

choral music during the era include Tchaikovsky, Arensky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Cui, and later

Gretchaninov, Pavel Chesnokov, and Kastalsky.92 Most of these composers wrote only a

limited number of secular works, with the exception of Cui and Rimsky-Korsakov. While

Cui composed more than some of his contemporaries, his unaccompanied choral cycles

were about half the size of Taneyev’s. Rimsky-Korsakov, who wrote both secular and

sacred choral music, began composing secular music before Taneyev and provided

feedback about some of Taneyev’s early compositions.93 Rimsky-Korsakov’s part songs

provided a starting point for Taneyev, since they were similar in size, but Taneyev

eventually expanded his into much larger forms.

Taneyev began composing secular choruses, albeit small ones, in the mid-1870s. His

early works were fairly simple and short, but they grew in length and number of voices as

Korabelnikova, Tvorchestvo S.I. Taneeva: istoriko-stilsticheskoe issledovanie, 194. The Russian Choral
Society, in part of their founding statement, wrote that it was the scarcity of secular Russian choral works that forced
them to rely on music by non-Russian composers.
Morosan, Choral Performance in Pre-revolutionary Russia, 121-122. Arkhangelsky’s Choir toured and
gave concerts across four continents, and it was the only choir from Russia, other than Prince Yuri Golitsyn’s serf
choir, to tour outside of Russia.
Ibid., 119.
Ibid., 206.
Morosan, 119.

he evolved as a composer. After retiring from the Moscow Conservatory, Taneyev was able

to dedicate the time and effort necessary to write his two large choral cycles, op. 27 and op.

35. These two cycles are sizable, and include twelve and sixteen choral pieces respectively.

They were the largest Russian secular choral cycles to date.

While Taneyev and the Mighty Five were both inspired to create a Russian musical

sound,94 Taneyev approached it differently through his use of extensive imitative

counterpoint. Despite his use of counterpoint, Taneyev did not want to duplicate music

that had already been composed. In a letter dated August 6, 1880, Taneyev wrote to

Tchaikovsky saying that Russians, the “last newcomers to civilization, are outside the

movement of European music...”95 He went on to say music that begins with the people is

durable, and in Europe, each art was national before it was integrated into classical music.

Taneyev was a supporter of using folk music to create a national sound, citing examples of

the Dutch’s use of folk songs, Gregorian melodies that developed from folk pieces, and

German chorales that were based on a folk melody.96 In another letter to Tchaikovsky,

dated August 18, 1880, he wrote that Russians could and should cultivate their own styles

of music.97 Taneyev recommended learning, but not duplicating, the music of the West. He

believed that melody and harmony were influenced by the nationality, era, and personality

of the composer,98 which meant that applying Western contrapuntal techniques to Russian

music would not make the music any less Russian in his view. One way of doing this, he

believed, was to begin with Russian music, either chant or folk, and then apply

Belina, A Critical Re-Evaluation of Taneyev’s Oresteia, 24.
Evseyev, “S.I. Taneyev and Folk Music,” 148.
Korabelnikova, Tvorchestvo S.I. Taneeva: istoriko-stilsticheskot issledovanie, 109.
Evseyev, “S.I. Taneyev and Folk Music,” 148.
Korabelnikova, Tvorchestvo S.I. Taneeva: istoriko-stilsticheskoe issledovanie, 210. Korabelnikova
argues that this is one reason why Taneyev’s music can be heard as Russian.

contrapuntal techniques to it.99 In addition, Taneyev’s use of Russian secular poetry lends

itself to the creation of a Russian sound, particularly because the poetry is unique to

Russian culture and because the Russian language has a unique timbre.

Taneyev was an important figure in Russian music history and for Russian secular

choral music because of his use of imitative counterpoint, which was unique among his

contemporaries. Taneyev was well respected throughout his lifetime as a composer,

educator, theorist, pianist, and person. Immediately following his death, Taneyev’s friends

and students organized to find ways to lift up Taneyev’s memory and carry on his legacy as

a composer and educator. Taneyev’s music did not disappear into the archives of Russian

museums and libraries, never to be heard again, but neither did his music spread outside of

Russia. It is important to understand how this happened in an effort to understand the

development of Russian secular choral music and to create future access to his music in the


Evseyev, “S.I. Taneyev and Folk Music,” 148.



This chapter explores the current state of Taneyev research, including literature and

editions, and speaks to the genesis of Taneyev’s choral compositions. The history of his

choral works is far from complete, but every attempt has been made in this chapter to

include all available information about known composition, their dates of composition, and

their premieres.

Taneyev Scholarship

Russian Language Sources

Research on Taneyev is significantly more extensive in Russian than any other

language, and covers his biography, compositions, theories on counterpoint, and work as

an educator. For example, there are six books in Russian about Taneyev’s biography, all

including at least minimal commentary on various compositions. Comparatively, there are

no books available in any other language addressing Taneyev’s biography.1 No single

source includes a dedicated history of Taneyev’s choral compositions.

One of the earliest Russian sources on Taneyev is a 1925 book of essays

documenting his life.2 The essays, written by Modest Tchaikovsky, Taneyev’s former

student Leonid Sabaneev, and others, include stories about the authors’ interactions with

The majority of sources are available via InterLibrary Loan, including the six books about Taneyev’s
biography, but other sources are harder to access. For example, a book about Taneyev’s At the Reading of a Psalm
by Nadezhda Kovalenko is only accessible in Germany, and I was only able to receive a copy of the Table of
Konstantin Kuznetsov, ed., Sergei Ivanovich Taneev: lichnost’, tvorchestvo I dokumenti ego zhizni: k 10-ti
letiyu so dnya ego smerti [Taneyev: Personality, Works, and Documentations of his Life: Ten Years Since His
Death] (Moscow: Muzsektor, 1925).

Taneyev as well as documentation of what was contained in his personal library. This was

the first book dedicated to Taneyev after his death, and includes comments such as, “[He]

had a very individual style, clearly distinct from other composers’ style. His main

originality is his special approach to form and polyphony...”3 That Taneyev was important

and unique among Russian composers was well-established in early Russian scholarship.

The Taneyev scholar with the longest and most productive career is Lhudmila

Zionevna Korabelnikova, a retired musicologist from the St. Petersburg Conservatory.4

Aside from her writings on Taneyev’s counterpoint theories and instrumental works,

Korabelnikova dedicates a chapter to his choral works in her 1986 book,5 and states that

Taneyev pushed the boundaries of the Russian secular choral cycle in size and scope of

form. She touches on Taneyev’s style in her article about his late choruses,6 primarily

discussing the structure of Taneyev’s two large cycles, op. 27 and op. 35. She does not

mention, although it could be inferred, that Taneyev was one of the first Russian choral

composers to make extensive use of secular Russian poetry in his music. Korabelnikova

speaks to Taneyev’s career as an influential pedagogue in her 1974 book,7 and also edited

Taneyev’s diaries8, written between 1894 and 1909, in which he shares thoughts about his

Ibid., 36.
Ms. Korabelnikova has offered assistance in locating manuscripts, affirmed Taneyev’s importance in
Russian music history, and offered to answer questions I may have about Taneyev. Her assistance and
encouragement has been invaluable to my research. Additionally, her research is easy to read, as it rarely indulges
in hyperbolic language.
Lhudmilla Z. Korabelnikova, Tvorchestvo S.I. Taneeva: istoriko-stilsticheskoe issledovanie (Moscow:
Muzyka, 1986).
Lhudmila Z. Korabelnikova, “Problema tsikla v pozdikh khjrah Taneyeva [The Problem of Cycle in
Taneyev’s Late Choruses],” Sovetskaya Muzika 12 (1981).
Lhudmila Z. Korabelnikova, S.I. Taneev v Moskovskoj Konservatorii [Taneev in the Moscow
Conservatory] (Moscow: Muzika, 1974).
Sergei Ivanovich Taneev, Dnevniki v trekh knigakh, 1894-1909 (Moscow: Muzyka, 1981-85).

own music as well as that of some of his contemporaries.9 While Korabelnikova provides

commentary on some of the forms and texts of Taneyev’s choral works, she does not

provide a focused study of all his choral works.

Galima Aminova published a dissertation in 2013, and before that, both an article

and a book about Taneyev.10 She concentrates on text and symbolic analysis, and attempts

to explain how Taneyev related Orthodox Christianity to his music. The problem with this

supposed connection is that Taneyev was a self-declared atheist, which makes much of her

scholarship connecting his music to Russian Orthodoxy problematic.

A 1991 dissertation by Yury Gen-Ir focuses on the analysis of Taneyev’s choral

works, and suggests these features apply to all of Taneyev’s music under the premise that

his choral and instrumental works were not stylistically different.11 Gen-ir discusses the

style of Taneyev’s choral music, but made no large-scale conclusions. At times, Gen-Ir does

not clarify his assertions. For example, he states that Taneyev “polyphonizes

homophony,”12 but provides no examples. The brevity of the subsections does not allow

for an in-depth discussion of the stylistic traits presented, partly because not all sections

include examples. Additionally, a number of choral works are missing from the analysis.

For this thesis, I consulted all of Taneyev’s available works to analyze his style, and the

There are under twenty libraries that own a copy in the United States. No translations exist. I attempted
to cross reference dates with his compositions, but this did not provide much additional information.
Galima Uralovna Aminova, Идеи и интонационный строй музыки С.И. Танеева [Ideas and
Intonation Structure of Sergei Taneev’s Music], PhD diss., Iskusstvovedenie from Gosudarstvennaâ Konservatoriâ
imeni P.I. Čajkovskogo, Moscow, 2013; “Орестея С.И. Танеева: Трагедия-мистерия и православие [Orestea by
Sergei Taneyev: Tragedy-Mystery and the Orthodox Christianity],” Russian Journal of Academic Studies 2, no. 7
(2010): 171-175; Otechestvenniye istoki tvorchestva S.I. Taneyeva [The National Origins of Taneyev’s Works].
Krasnoyarsk: Krasnoyarskiy Gosudarstvennyi Universitet, 2006.
Yury Gen-Ir, Cherti stilya khorov S.I. Taneyeva [Stylistic Features of Taneyev’s Choruses]
(Petrozavodsk: n/p, 1991). Shortened version available online at: There are no page numbers
since Gen-Ir published the document on a webpage.
According to Gen-Ir, “Polyphonizing harmony” means Taneyev either focuses on a melody and rhythmic
feature of the melody, or alters and ornaments the chord structure, which gives the middle voices a voice-leading

examples in this thesis are more thoroughly discussed. Throughout Gen-Ir’s dissertation, it

is apparent that he agrees with Korabelnikova: Taneyev was unique in his time, in part

because he was the first Russian composer to create large-scale secular a cappella choral


Two other books about Taneyev were published in Russia in the 1980s. Grigory B.

Bernandt’s book S. I. Taneev13 refers to Taneyev’s choral works, although he does not have

a specific section dedicated to them. Svetlana I. Savenko’s book Sergei Ivanovich Taneev14

gives extensive biographical information about Taneyev, and provides analysis and

historical context for the cantata По прочтении псалма [At the Reading of a Psalm] (1915).

As is the case with Bernandt’s book, much of this information cannot be found in English


Other Russian scholarship is dated or contains information that is found in other,

more comprehensive sources, as is the case with Nikolai Bazhanov’s book Taneev15 (1971)

and Tatiana Khoprova’s scholarship.16 Evseyev’s Narodnye I natsionalnye korni

muzykalnogo iazyka S.I. Taneeva17 of 1963 includes analysis of a variety of Taneyev’s

works, but the music used is primarily instrumental or limited to op. 27 (1911), op. 23

(1907), Восход солнца [Sunrise] op. 10 (1899), and Сосна [The Pine] (1877). Although

older, F.G. Arzamanov’s S. I. Taneev- prepodavatel kursa muzykahlnykh form18 is a resource

Grigory B. Bernandt, S.I. Taneev (Moscow: Muzyka, 1983).
Svetlana I. Savenko, Sergei Ivanovich Taneev (Moscow: Izd-vo “Muzyka,” 1984).
Nikolai Bazhanov, Taneev (Moscow: Molodaya Gvardiia, 1971).
Tatiana Aledsandrovna Khoprova, Sergei Ivanovich Taneev (Leningrad: Musyka, 1968). Sergei
Ivanovich Taneev, 1856-1915: populiarnaia monografiia (Leningrad: Muzyka, 1980).
Sergei Evseyev, Narodnye i natsionalnye korni muzykalnogo iazyka S.I. Taneeva (Moscow:
Gosudarstvennoe Muzykalnoe Izd., 1963).
F.G. Arzamanov, S.I. Taneev- prepodavatel kursa muzykalnykh form (Moscow: Gos. muzykalnoe izd-vo,

about Taneyev as a teacher on musical form, and outlines how Taneyev taught composition

to his students, including examples of detailed feedback he gave on assignments.

The other sources of note include two books of essays and an edited version of

Taneyev’s diaries. The volume of essays edited by Fetisova,19 published in 2007, includes a

detailed chapter about the personal library that Taneyev donated to the Moscow

Conservatory, which is especially helpful in understanding his contrapuntal influences. A

1947 book of essays edited by Vladimir Proptopopov20 contains information about

Taneyev’s choral music and influences, including an essay by S.V. Popov with footnotes that

provide specific composition dates for some of Taneyev’s choral works. In an essay by

Evseyev, the author posits that Taneyev, despite being influenced by imitative

counterpoint, wanted to use folk music to develop music that was uniquely Russian.

These are not all of the resources in Russian regarding Taneyev, but they are

currently some of the easiest to access in the West via InterLibrary Loan. Other scholarship

about Taneyev exists, including some dedicated to Taneyev’s small chamber works or

studies on themes within specific works, but there is very little about his choral works.

Non-Russian Language Sources

English-language scholarship about Taneyev is not as extensive, and most of

Taneyev’s music remains unexplored by Western scholars. Much of the older scholarship is

cursory and includes a lot of subjective language. Newer scholarship on Taneyev focuses

on specific compositions or his theories on counterpoint. A leading scholar on Taneyev,

Anastasia Belina-Johnson, suggests that a substantial study on Taneyev does not exist

Elena Fetisova, Novoe o Taneeve: K 150-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia (Moscow: Deka-VS, 2007).
Vladimir Vasilevich Proptopopov, Pamiati Sergeia Ivanovicha Taneeva (Moscow: Muzgiz, 1947).

potentially because it is difficult “to place Taneyev’s work within a specific context,

especially Russian,” due to his style not being easily defined.21 Furthermore, she states that

the existing literature on Taneyev does not accurately represent his importance in

nineteenth-century Russian music.22 This is part of a larger trend; Vladimir Morosan

points out that stylistic studies of specific Russian choral composers remain scarce, despite

the increasing number of performances of Russian choral music.23

One of two books Taneyev wrote was translated into English in 1962.24 His student,

the well-known conductor Serge Koussevitzky, wrote an introduction, and the book was

lauded by both Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky. The English translation is a bit clumsy and

can be difficult to understand, but the endorsements received from Koussevitzky and

Stravinsky illustrate how influential Taneyev was at the time. Taneyev’s second book

remained unpublished during his lifetime, but Paul Grove translated (1999) Taneyev’s

Учение о каноне [Doctrine of the Canon] from Russian to English as a part of his

dissertation.25 Grove discusses how Taneyev’s theories influenced other theorists during

the Soviet era, but does not consider how Taneyev applied these theories to his own


Three other dissertations have been written in English about Taneyev, although

none address his choral music. Anastasia Belina-Johnson’s dissertation (2009) on

Anastasia Belina, A Critical Re-Evaluation of Taneyev’s Oresteia (PhD, University of Leeds, May 2009),
Ibid., xiv. She is referring to all literature and sources, English and non-English language.
Vladimir Morosan, “Research Report: Two Russian Choral Giants: Alexander Kastalsky (1856-1926)
and Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915),” Choral Journal 48, no. 11 (May 2008): 75.
Sergei Ivanovich Taneyev, Convertible Counterpoint in the Strict Style, trans. G. Ackley Brower,
introduction by Serge Koussevitzky (Boston: B. Humphries, 1962).
Paul Richard Grove II, Sergei Ivonovich Taneev’s Doctrine of the Canon: A Translation and
Commentary (PhD diss., University of Arizona, 1999).

Taneyev’s only opera (Oresteia) speaks to Wagner’s influence on Taneyev.26 Belina-

Johnson includes a list of important scholarship on Taneyev, and with this, a literature

review of sources that specifically addresses contributions in the analysis and historical

context of Oresteia. She has also written or co-authored other articles, primarily focusing

on Taneyev’s opera and Wagner’s influence. Louise Liu’s 2007 dissertation speaks to the

importance of Taneyev’s only piano concerto and suggests that Taneyev’s insecurity

prevented him from publishing his works.27 Beverly Parker’s brief 1981 dissertation28

defines theoretical terminology that Taneyev used in his published theory treatise,

Подвижном контрапункте строгого письма [Convertible Counterpoint in the Strict Style].

Vladimir Morosan, a scholar of Russian choral music and president of the music

publishing company Musica Russica, published a 2008 article for the Choral Journal which

provides a brief biographical sketch of Taneyev, and mentions selected choral works: op.

27 (1911), op. 35 (1914), as well as Taneyev’s two choral-orchestral cantatas, Иоанн

Дамаскии [John of Damascus] (1884) and По прочтении псалма [At the Reading of a

Psalm] (1915).29 Morosan’s book about Russian choral music in pre-revolutionary Russia

provides context for Taneyev by giving a comprehensive and easy-to-read overview of

Russian music history.30 Morosan also convincingly argues that Taneyev’s contrapuntal

style did not become the cornerstone of Russian compositional practices due to the lack of

Anastasia Belina, A Critical Re-Evaluation of Taneyev’s Oresteia (PhD diss., University of Leeds, May
Louise Jiayin Liu, Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915): An Analysis of his Piano Concerto in E-Flat Major and
its Relationship to Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (DMA thes., University of Northern Texas, May 2007).
Beverly Lewis Parker, Direct Shifting and Mixed Shifting: Important Contrapuntal Techniques of
Taneev’s Oddities? (PhD diss., University of Natal, Durban, 1981).
Morosan, “Research Report: Two Russian Choral Giants: Alexander Kastalsky (1856-1926) and Sergei
Taneyev (1856-1915),”: 75-96.
Vladimir Morosan, Choral Performance in Pre-revolutionary Russia (Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI
Research Press, 1986).

training Russian composers received in Western counterpoint and the Orthodox’s Church’s

focus on text intelligibility in sacred music.

A handful of articles and book chapters in English discuss Taneyev. Sergei Tolstoy,

the son of Leo Tolstoy, wrote a book about his father that includes a chapter about the

relationship between Leo Tolstoy and Taneyev; it provides insight into Taneyev’s

perspective on art but reveals little about Taneyev’s choral repertoire.31 Leonid Sabaneev’s

1927 book, titled Modern Russian Composers and translated from Russian into English,

contains first-hand stories about Taneyev.32 It is also the earliest source I have found that

acknowledges the fact that Taneyev’s popularity is limited to Russia, although Sabaneev

was certain at the time of writing that Taneyev’s popularity would increase. Another older

article, “To the Memory of S.I. Taneev,”33 also argues that Taneyev was important to

Russian musical history, particularly because Taneyev was composing music unlike his

contemporaries. Yu D. Engel’s short essay in Russians on Russian Music, 1880-191734 argues

that Taneyev’s sacred cantata По прочтении псалма [On Reading a Psalm] (1915) is not

typical of Russian music because the text is Russian, not Church Slavonic, the melodies are

freely written and not traditional plain chants, the orchestra is an equal partner in the

cantata and sometimes takes primary importance, and the contrapuntal compositional

devices used are unique, much like his unaccompanied choral music. It seems that even

early the message was clear t some: Taneyev is a noteworthy composer.

Sergei Tolsoy, Tolstoy Remember by his Son, trans. Moura Budberg (London: Weidenfield and Nicolson,
Leonid Sabaneev, S.I. Taneev (Parizh: Tair, 1930), 19-39.
V. Karatygin, “To the Memory of S.I. Taneev,” translated by S.W. Pring, The Musical Quarterly 13, no.
4 (October 1927): 540-43. (accessed June 6, 2014)
Yu D. Engel, “A Cantata by S.I. Taneyev. Russian Bulletin, 3 April 1915, no. 75. Engel, pg 408-13,” in
Russians on Russian Music, 1880-1917, ed. and trans. Stuart Campbell (New York: Cambridge University Press,
2003): 170-174

Simon Desbruslais’s article on Taneyev reception in the West35 addresses negatively

biased language in scholarship, specifically that of David Brown, who wrote in the Grove

Music Online article that Taneyev “had little imaginative endowment.” Desbruslais also

mentions Gerald Abraham, who leaves Taneyev’s contributions almost completely

unaddressed in his scholarship on Russian music. These two authors are some of the most

easily accessible online and in American libraries, and therefore their biases are often the

first information encountered when doing research on Taneyev. Desbruslais makes a

persuasive argument for the damage this negative tone has inflicted on Taneyev’s reception

in the West.

Elena Gennadievna Sorokina includes biographical information and, more

interestingly, information regarding Taneyev’s departure from the Moscow Conservatory,

in the 2009 publication dedicated to the 140th year of the Moscow Conservatory.36

Rassina’s article about the Conservatory library includes items from Taneyev’s personal

collection,37 although this information can be found in more detailed Russian sources.

There is also scholarship in the English language that provides a small amount of

information on Taneyev, but hints at larger ideas that have yet to be explored. Nicholas

Brill’s book on Russian church music is the only English source that specifically mentions

that Taneyev wrote sacred music, and Brill writes that while Taneyev was on the advisory

board of the Imperial Chapel Choir of St. Petersburg, he never thought his compositions

Simon Stephen Desbruslais, “The Western Reception of Sergei Taneyev,” Выпуск 1, no. 9 (2015): 7-18.
Elena Gennadievna Sorokina, ed, The Moscow Conservatory: Materials and Documents from the
Collections of the Moscow State P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory and the M.I. Glinka Museum of Musical Culture
(Moscow: Progress-Tradition Publisher, 2009).
Emilia B. Rassina, “The History of the Music Research Library Named After S.I.Taneyev of the Moscow
Conservatoire,” Fontes Artis Musicae 53, no. 3 (2006): 181-86.

were useful to the Orthodox Church.38 Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s book Летопись моей

музыкальной жизни [Chronicle of My Musical Life], translated into English, gives a brief

account of Taneyev’s history with the Mighty Five,39 a connection that is untouched in

English scholarship. Richard Taruskin’s book from 2009 about Russian music highlights

the need to include Taneyev’s biography in history books; he mentions Taneyev, but only in

relation to Tchaikovsky or other musicians, thereby conveying the impression that Taneyev

is a minor figure in Russian music, rather than a key participant.40

Other scholarship in English that mentions Taneyev is rather generalized or focuses

on Taneyev’s links to his contemporaries, such as Tchaikovsky. The older scholarship is

often influenced by the author’s personal opinion at the expense of objectivity. More recent

contributions, aside from those that have already been mentioned, often recycle old


German scholarship primarily focuses on Taneyev’s counterpoint theories. The

primary German scholar is Andreas Wehrmeyer, who translated Taneyev’s Учение о

каноне [Doctrine of the Canon] into German in 1994.41 He also wrote two books about

Taneyev, one published in 2000 on his counterpoint theories, and another that was co-

authored with Vasilii Iakovlev about Taneyev’s life and works.42 The co-authored volume

relies largely on what Russian scholars have written.

Nicholas P. Brill, History of Russian Church Music, 988-1917 (Bloomington, Illinois: Brill, 1982), 157.
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, translated by Judah A. Joffe (New York: A.A. Knopf,
Richard Taruskin, On Russian Music (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009).
Sergei Taneyev, Die Lehre vom Kanon, trans. Andreas Wehrmeyer (Berlin, E. Kuhn: 1994).
Andreas Wehrmeyer, Sergei Taneev: kleinere musiktheoretische Schriften und Fragmente (Berlin, E.
Kuhn: 2000); Vasilii Iakovlev and Andreas Wehrmeyer, Sergej Taneev: Musikgelehrter und Komponist: Material zu
Leben und Werk (Berlin, E. Kuhn: 1996).

Published Editions

Most of Taneyev’s choral music has been published in Russia, but these editions are

quite difficult to obtain.43 The first obstacle to accessing Russian editions is navigating the

online browsing and purchasing system. If the website provides an option to browse in

English, as does the publishing company Музыка, most links are unavailable in English,

and the website only offers a recent catalog, which does not list any Taneyev choral music.

If the purchaser is able to read Cyrillic, a second issue arises in that it is common for

publishers omit some of the repertoire they have published, including editions they

actually have in stock. Publishers who have editions of Taneyev’s choral music will often

hold onto them for rent-seeking purposes. A third issue regarding publication is that most

of Taneyev’s choral music has been published in collections, rather than in individual

octavos, making it impractical to purchase for performance unless adequate funds are


Another issue regarding Russian editions is that they are usually created for those

who speak Russian. The International Phonetic Alphabet is not included, nor is another

pronunciation guide. This poses the very obvious problem of how to pronounce the text if

one does not speak Russian and read Cyrillic. Additional information about the

composition is likewise in Cyrillic, rendering the information inaccessible to those not

fluent in it.

In the United States, there are a total of thirteen of sixty-three known

unaccompanied choral works by Taneyev available, not including the quartets and trios,

In the last forty years, the Russian publishing company Музыка ( has been the
primary publisher of Taneyev’s choral works. At last check in January 2017, there was no Taneyev choral music
listed for sale on the website.

and not all editions include the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) or transliteration.44

For an edition to be usable by non-Russian speakers, pronunciation guides should be

included. Transliteration, while providing assistance to those who do not know IPA, is not

standardized, and may vary due to the performer’s understanding of the transliteration

guide. There are similar issues with IPA, but they are not as pervasive. IPA is more

standardized, but the challenging ы sound does not yet have an agreed-upon IPA symbol.

The difficulty of these sounds is not always discussed in the pronunciation guides that I

have studied.

Musica Russica, the largest publisher of Russian choral music in the West, has

published nine choral octavos by Taneyev, with plans to publish more.45 Many of the

octavos are part of the op. 27 cycle (1911), and the editions are performer-friendly; they

include brief introductory remarks, as well as a pronunciation guide. Depending upon

when the edition was published, it may include transliteration and Cyrillic, but no

International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), or it may include all three. According to the owner

of Musica Russica, the inconsistency of IPA inclusion is due to changes made in response to

feedback from the performers of the music. One of the goals of the Musica Russica editions

is to provide a pronunciation guide that removes the obstacles language for those who are

not familiar with Russian.

This number also does not include about twenty sacred works that remained unpublished in Russia until
the late twentieth century. These works are not included in any current catalog of Taneyev’s choral music.
The editions are as follows: Serenade (1877), Sunrise (1897), Upon the Grave op. 27 no. 1, Evening op.
27 no. 2, The Ruins of the Tower op. 27 no. 3, Behold, Darkness has Fallen op. 27 no. 4, Prayer op. 27 no. 6,
Suddenly Music Sounded op. 27 no. 7, Stars op. 27 no. 10 (op. 27 1909–1911). Musica Russica is located in San
Diego, CA. Their catalog can be found here:

Heruvimskaya pesn [Cherubim’s Hymn] (1880) is available online in the Choral

Public Domain Library46 (CPDL), nine works47 are available online in the International

Music Score Library Project (IMSLP), and three48 are published by Theodore Presser. Many

of these editions are of the same choral works published by Musica Russica. Ruins of a

Tower (1911), one of the octavos published by Theodore Presser, is currently out-of-print,

and the only way to purchase a copy is through the Library of Congress. Taneyev’s

choral/orchestral work, Иоанн Дамаскии [John of Damascus] (1884), is available on from Performer’s Reprints and is a reprint of the public domain version on

IMSLP, with German added to the Cyrillic. The editions not published by Musica Russica

vary in quality. For example, the CPDL edition includes transliteration but no Cyrillic, and

the IMSLP editions provide Cyrillic text, but no transliteration or IPA, and none of the

public domain editions include contextual information about the composition. The

Theodore Presser editions use a poetic English translation as text, and do not include the

Cyrillic, IPA, or a transliteration. This may be because they are older editions, and until

relatively recently, many choirs sang Russian music using an English translation.49

Found here:
The editions available on IMSLP (with titles translated) are: At the Grave op. 27 no. 1, Evening op. 27
no. 2, The Tower’s Ruin op. 27 no. 3, Behold What Darkness op. 27 no. 4, The Alps op. 15 no. 2 (1900), Sunrise op.
8 (1897), Night (1881/2?), King Regner’s Song (1881), and Irmos (1879). IMSLP also includes some compositions
for small ensembles and the large choral/orchestral work, John of Damascus op. 1 (1884) and At the Reading of a
Psalm op. 36 (1915). The small ensemble compositions include: To Adele (revised 1887), The Monastery on the
Kazbek op. 24 no. 1 (1907), Of What Do I Secretly Dream in the Quiet of the Night?, and I Waited for You in the
Grotto. Found here:,_Sergey
The editions available for Theodore Presser (with titles translated) are: Ah Behold- the Dark of Night,
Evening, and Ruins of a Tower. The Theodore Presser website can be found here:
When a choir sings a choral work in English that was originally in Russian, the quality of the poetry
suffers. Additionally, using a language other than the original can change the quality of the choral sound.

Taneyev Manuscripts: Location and Access

The majority of Taneyev’s choral manuscripts are held at the Tchaikovsky State

Museum in Klin.50 These include pieces that Taneyev wrote for a small vocal ensemble but

also considered suitable for a choir. I have not located any significant holdings elsewhere,

although there are a small number of documents at the Glinka Museum51 in Moscow and

the Russian State Archive of Literature and Arts52 (known as RGALI). The Moscow

Conservatory Library53 also houses scores of Taneyev’s music, although no manuscripts. In

general, it is difficult to discover manuscripts not listed in a catalog and access to archives

is limited to requests from catalogs. Some catalogs, such as that from the Glinka Museum

and the Tchaikovsky Museum, are not electronic, which means a scholar must go through

the process of securing permission to access the catalog. After permission is secured,

requests from the catalog can take up to a week or two to be processed. In some cases, an

item listed in the catalog may not be made available to a scholar. In addition, the existing

catalogs do not mention the state of the manuscript sources. For example, the Tchaikovsky

Museum holds many sketches of compositions and theory exercises by Taneyev, but the

catalog does not specify if a manuscript is complete, a sketch, or something else completely.

There are some distinguishing features of Taneyev’s manuscripts. His manuscripts

are typically extremely well organized and legible. This is true even of many of his sketches

and exercises. Whenever a chamber vocal work may also be sung by a choir, he wrote “хор

Tchaikovsky Museum website: In a March 2016 email, I was
informed that the holdings at the Tchaikovsky State Museum were undergoing a digitization process and would
eventually be available for a fee through the website. At publication, digital manuscripts were not on the website.
Glinka Museum website: The primary holdings are letters to or from Taneyev.
Russian State Archive of Literature and Arts (RGALI) website:!. Many of the documents
held by RGALI are related to Taneyev’s opera or his cantatas. There are also some documents such as letters and
Moscow Conservatory Library website:

[choir]” in blue pencil on the score. Taneyev also marked the text he intended to use for

choral works in the books of poetry he owned, using blue pencil as well.54

The manuscripts for op. 35 deserve special attention because they highlight the

issues of lost Taneyev manuscripts a researcher may encounter. Only some manuscripts

for the sixteen choral works in op. 35 exist; half exist in completed form, and I have not

located manuscripts or printed editions of the other eight.55 The Glinka Museum holds a

file (file 85, no. 315) that outlines the cycle of op. 35, which includes three notebooks and

an outline, perhaps an early stage of composition. These files, plus a few other materials at

the Tchaikovsky Museum, also give some dates of performances.56 Op. 35 was written and

performed, but half of the music of the cycle has been lost.

History of Taneyev’s Choral Works

Information about premieres and performances is not easy to find, primarily due to

lack of documentation and organization of documents such as concert programs and

reviews. This section summarizes information from Russian scholarship, Taneyev’s letters,

and manuscripts, and although it is incomplete, every attempt has been made to find

composition, publication, and premiere dates. Taneyev’s choral output can be divided into

two compositional periods: 1870s through1880s and late 1890s to 1915. He did not

compose choral music in between these two periods, likely due to the amount of

administrative duties as director of the Moscow Conservatory.

Korabelnikova, Tvorchestvo S.I. Taneeva: istoriko-stilsticheskoe issledovanie, 206.
Ibid., 216. Korabelnikova found a lithograph edition for a few choruses from Notebooks I and III in
Prague, but was not able to find other manuscripts for op. 35. Between the time she published her 1986 book and
the publication of this thesis document, no other manuscripts for op. 35 had been located.
Ibid., The Glinka Museum files include no. 315 and no. 316. The Tchaikovsky Museum files are in bV,
no. 226-233, 240. It gives the date for Prayer in Salzburg as December 16/19, 1911, and in Moscow on December
22, 1913.

Taneyev began his use of imitative contrapuntal compositional techniques early in

his career, techniques other Russian composers were not using as a consistent practice. He

may have focused intensely on choral composition because, as Korabelnikova argues, the

elements of early contrapuntal music could be best expressed in vocal writing.57 One of

Taneyev’s first composition exercises, written in either 1874 or 1875, included a fugal

section for SATB voices with text from Psalm 66, also titled Боже! Будь милостив к нам

[God Be Merciful Unto Us]. It was not published, however, until the late 1980s. Other

composition exercises written in strict counterpoint, particularly those from the 1870s,

were never intended for publication or performance.58 Taneyev’s interest in counterpoint

was likely influenced by Herman Augustovich Laroche, a professor at the Moscow

Conservatory and a firm believer in understanding past musical cultures.59 Although

Taneyev did not take a class from him, he likely read his articles while a student at the

Moscow Conservatory.

The first premiere of a vocal work by Taneyev came in 1874, his choral-orchestral

work titled Слава Н. Г. Рубинштейну [Glory for N.G. Rubinstein]. Performed for the first

time on Rubinstein’s name day, December 6, it was a surprise gift for Rubinstein. The text

is by Ivan Vasilyevich Samarin, a theater professor at the Moscow Conservatory.60 Фуга на

русские песен [Fugue on a Russian Folksong], an attempt to combine imitative counterpoint

and folk music, and Ирмос [First Verse from the First Hymn of Epiphany] were composed in

1879. First Verse from the First Hymn of Epiphany was not published until 1999, and I have

Ibid., 193.
Ibid., 198.
Savenko, 18.
Ibid., 24.

not been able to locate a publication date for Fugue on a Russian Folksong. It is likely that

Taneyev considered these exercises, rather than works for publication.

Taneyev composed the unaccompanied Нидерландская фантазия на русскую

тему [Netherlandish Fantasy on a Russian Theme], which also featured imitative

techniques, in 1880. He composed two fugues that same year: Фонтан [Fountain] and

Специалист подобен флюсу [A Specialist is a Gumboil]. Also in 1880, Taneyev wrote a

handful of other pieces that were not published until the twentieth century, including

Хeрувимская [Cherubim’s Song], a sacred work; Лeчь бы в кровати [I Want to Lie in Bed], a

comical canon; Однажды к попадье [Once to a Priest’s Wife], a piece for men’s chorus; and

Торжественный хор для прибытия гостей [Ceremonial Chorus for the Arrival of Guests],

one of the few works for which a manuscript cannot be located.

In 1883, Taneyev composed a trio of sacred pieces, Хвалите имя Господнe [Praise

the Name of the Lord], Творяй ангeлы своя [He Who Makes His Angels], and Спасeния

содeлал еси [Thou Hast Brought Salvation] for five voices, four voices, and six voices,

respectively. It is not known for whom or why he wrote these works. They were published

in 1999 as part of a collection of Taneyev’s sacred music. Taneyev also wrote a fugue

(Фуга) for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass voices in 1883, and a madrigal (Мадригал) for

soprano, alto, and bass voices in 1884. I found a publication date of 1981 for the madrigal,

but did not find a publication date for the fugue and did not find a publisher for either.

Иоанн Дамаскин [John of Damascus], 1884, was the first of two sacred cantatas

Taneyev composed, and though not the first of Taneyev’s choral works, he labeled it as

Opus 1. It was dedicated to the memory of Rubinstein, and premiered on March 11, 1884,

the third anniversary of Rubinstein’s death. John of Damascus, influenced by Taneyev’s

study of Handel’s oratorios,61 was an important milestone in Taneyev’s compositional life,

as it was also the first choral work for which Taneyev received wide acclaim.62 It is a

sacred piece, a rarity given that most of the pieces by Taneyev that were published during

his lifetime were secular. John of Damascus was not meant for the Orthodox Church,

however, as Taneyev did not compose sacred choral works for liturgical use.63 Similarly

not meant for liturgical use, Taneyev composed Слава святым Кириллу и Мефодию [Glory

to Cyril and Methodius] in 1885. The work was likely not meant for publication as no

premiere or publication information can be found.

Table 1 lists known composition and premiere dates for the choral works Taneyev

wrote toward the end of his early period, which is from the 1870s through the 1880s. Хора

для мужских голосов [Choruses for Male Voices], is comprised of Nocturne, Venice at Night,

and The Happy Hour, and was published in 1881 by P. Yurgenson.64 This set was assembled

by Taneyev after the individual movements were premiered by the Russian Choral Society,

a group that formed in 1878 and whose members often lamented the lack of printed

Russian secular choral music. Taneyev was the first Russian composer to provide the

Russian Choral Society with a choral composition.

P.I. Kovalev, “Творчество С.И. Танеева [Works of S.I. Taneev]” in Sergei Ivanovich Taneev: lichnost’,
tvorchestvo i dokumenti ego zhizni: k 12-ti letiyu so dnya ego smerti [Taneyev: Personality, Works, and
Documentations of His Life: Ten Years Since His Death], ed. Konstantin Kuznetsov (Moscow: Muzsektor, 1925),
Sorokina, 36.
Morosan, “Research Report: Two Russian Choral Giants: Alexander Kastalsky (1856-1926) and Sergei
Taneyev (1856-1915),”: 95. Note 9.
Korabelnikova, Tvorchestvo S.I. Taneeva: istoriko-stilsticheskoe issledovanie, 194. The company was
called P. Jurgenson, and was founded by Pyotr Ivanovich Jurgenson.

Choral Work Composed Premiered
Венеция ночью [Venice at Night] 1877 December 21, 1878
Сосна [The Pine]65 1877 Unknown
Сeренада [Serenade] 1877 Unknown
Ноктюрн [Nocturne] 1880 1880
Веселый час [The Happy Hour] 1880 Unknown
Песня короля Регнера [Song of King Regner] 1880/81? Unknown
Вечерная песня [Evening Song] 1880/82? 1880-82?
Table 1. End-of-early period choral compositions.

In the second half of the 1880s, Taneyev continued to write for a variety of voicings.

In 1887, Taneyev composed Сяду завтра я к окошeчку [Tomorrow I Shall Sit by the Little

Window] and Сражeнный рыцарь [The Knight Struck Down]. The latter piece was written

for four bass voices, and likely for a specific ensemble because the voicing is so rare. Адели

[Adele], with words by Alexander Pushkin, was originally written for male chorus in 1887,

and was reworked in 1907 for SSAT ensemble.66 Taneyev composed Эхо [Echo] in 1888,

also for SSAT ensemble, before taking a break from composing choral music for a few years,

likely because his duties at the Moscow Conservatory did not allow him time to compose.

Early in his career, Taneyev arranged and harmonized folk songs. Sergei Evseyev, in

his article about Taneyev’s use of folk music, speaks to the quantity of these works. He

wrote that “according to an unpublished Taneyev archive,” Taneyev arranged nineteen

Ukrainian melodies.67 Evseyev also claims that Taneyev arranged 140 polyphonic six-voice

variations of the Russian song На улице девки совет советали [Outside, the girls share

advice].68 Taneyev arranged the Russian folk song, А мы землю наняли [We Hired the

Even though it was written in 1877, Сосна [The Pine] was not published until 1940.
Ibid., 195. Adele is Opus 24, no. 2, and this is the opus number for the revised version.
Sergei Evseyev, “S.I. Taneyev and Folk Music,” in Pamiati Sergeia Ivanovicha Taneeva, ed. Vladimir
Vasilevich Proptopopov (Moscow: Muzgiz, 1947), 159.
Ibid., 145. Evseyev does not cite his source or say where a manuscript of this is located. This is the only
scholarship in which I found this information. I did not find any collection like this at the Tchaikovsky Museum in

Land] from one of Mily Balakirev’s folksong collections,69 into a four-voice fugue in strict

style. Also according to Evseyev, Taneyev further arranged a four-voice contrapuntal piece,

and took the subject from a Russian song titled Сидел ворон на березе [A Crow Sat in a

Birch Tree].70 No other scholarship mentions this work.

After a hiatus of seven years, Taneyev began composing choral works again; the

three canons, Шуточные каноны [Comic Canons], were written for his student Leonid

Sabaneyev in 1895. It was around this time that Taneyev began to use contrapuntal

techniques more extensively, particularly his treatment of motives. He also began writing

multi-work cycles, and individual pieces became longer in duration. Восход солнца

[Sunrise], op. 8 (1897), published in 1898, was the first of Taneyev’s more mature printed

works, and was dedicated to the Russian Choral Society in Moscow, the same ensemble that

premiered many of his shorter choral works from the early 1880s. Taneyev’s first work for

double chorus, which included complex imitative counterpoint, was Из края в край [From

Border to Border] (1899). It was published in 1899 and dedicated to the choir of the

Imperial Opera in St. Petersburg. The text is based on poems by Fyodor Tyutchev, a poet to

whom Taneyev turned for inspiration more than once.

In 1900, Taneyev wrote two pieces for mixed voices, Звезды [Stars] and Альпы [The

Alps]. Taneyev, who was on the Supervising Committee of the Synodal Choral School,

Klin, nor did I locate it at RGALI or the Glinka Museum. Taneyev did arrange folk songs for solo singers, and the
nineteen Ukrainian melodies could be published as solo works. If they are, however, they are not marked as
Ukrainian. Additionally, given Taneyev’s collection of folk music and his love of contrapuntal techniques, it does
not seem far-fetched that Taneyev would have composed polyphonic variations on a Russian song. I could not
locate a date for these compositions, but 1885 was the year Taneyev traveled Russia and notated folk songs he heard
being sung, and he could have arranged the folk pieces around this time.
The collection is entitled Русские народные песни для одного голоса с сопровождением фортепиано
[Russian Folk Songs for Voice and Piano]. It was originally published by Музгиз in Moscow, but it is now public
domain and can be found on IMSLP.
Evseyev, “S.I. Taneyev and Folk Music,” 145. Evseyev also notes how Taneyev used folk melodies in
some instrumental works, such as the finale of his E minor symphony or in the finale of his D minor symphony.

composed Stars for the Moscow Synodal Choir. Taneyev preferred to hear a choir perform

his music before it was published, and the Moscow Synodal Choir had the opportunity to

sing some of his works pre-publication.71 The Alps was written for Ivan Melnikov’s Free

Choral Class,72 an amateur choir formed in 1890 in St. Petersburg.

In 1907, Taneyev wrote a collection of four pieces for soprano, alto, and tenor.

Although these were composed for a small ensemble, Taneyev indicates in his manuscripts

that each piece may be sung by a choir. The songs of the collection include Сонет

Микеланджело [Sonnet of Michelangelo], Рим ночью [Rome at Night], Не остывшая от

зноя [Still Sweltering from the Heat], and Тихой ночью [In the Quiet Night], all with words

by Tyutchev.73 In February 1907, he published three of the pieces as op. 23, removing Still

Sweltering from the Heat. Korabelnikova argues that op. 23, entitled Ночью [Nights],

anticipates Taneyev’s op. 35, a chorus cycle for men’s chorus, primarily by attempting to

examine one naturally-occuring phenomenon from various angles.74

About the same time that Taneyev wrote op. 27, which will be discussed in the next

section, he also composed two choruses for soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, and bass voices.

These two pieces are titled Ты кгнчил жизни путь, герой [You Have Finished Life’s

Journey] and Солнце Неспящих [Son of the Sleepless]. Although written between 1909 and

1910, they do not seem to have been published before 1981.

Taneyev’s final cantata, По прочтении псалма [At the Reading of a Psalm], took two

and a half years to compose, and was finished on December 31, 1914.75 The text is by

Popov, 139. In a letter to his publisher Mitrofan Belyayev from December 15, 1898, Taneyev wrote that
he would send the score to the publisher after he heard it sung by the Synodal Academy.
Popov, 138.
Korabelnikova, Tvorchestvo S.I. Taneeva: istoriko-stilsticheskoe issledovanie, 202.
Michel D. Calvocoressi and Gerald Abraham, Masters of Russian Music (New York: Knopf, 1936), 448.

Aleksei Khomiakov (1804–1860). His last completed work, it was dedicated to his mother

and premiered in the big hall at the Assembly of the Nobility.76 The premiere was

conducted by Taneyev’s former student, Sergei Koussevitzky, in Petrograd on March 11,

1915.77 The Moscow premiere, which featured 180 singers, was also conducted by

Koussevitzky, and took place on April 1, 1915.78 After Taneyev’s death, a few more

performances of this cantata took place before it fell out of favor due to the sacred content.

It was not performed again until 1977, when it was revived by the USSR State Academic

Symphony Orchestra and A.A. Yurlov Russian Republic Capella Choir.79

Taneyev did not actively pursue publication of all his works. For example, Сосна

[The Pine], written in 1877, and Фонтан [Fountain], written in 1880, were not published

until after his death.80 Other pieces were not published until much later, and most of them

are published as part of collections and not as individual octavos. For a list of Taneyev’s

works and publishers, see Appendix A.

Opus 27

Op. 27 (1909) is a cycle of twelve pieces for mixed chorus dedicated to the choir of

Moscow Prechistensky Workers’ Courses,81 a chorus made up of laborers committed to

improving their musical abilities. Op. 27 has been described as the pinnacle of his

This is where Russian nobility used to assemble. There were various assembly places throughout Russia,
but the one in Moscow was the most well-known. Today is known as the House of the Unions.
Bernandt, 237. The Choir was the A.A. Arkhangelsky Choir.
Bernandt, 237.
Ibid., 239.
The pieces were published in Советская музыка, No. 7 (1940): ??.
Popov, 138.

unaccompanied choral writing82 due to the extensive use of imitative contrapuntal

techniques and number of pieces in the cycle. It was a significant contribution to the

secular choral genre in Russia, as it was the largest unaccompanied secular choral cycle

composed to date.83 Vladimir Morosan referred to op. 27 as the secular counterpart of

Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil,84 an apt reference due to the size and import of both pieces.

Op. 27 is divided into three sections. The first section, movements I–IV, uses four-

part chorus; the second section, movements V–VIII, uses five- and six-part choruses; and

the third section, movements IX–XII, uses a variety of double-choir combinations. The

entire cycle is about fifty-five minutes long. Korabelnikova, the leading Taneyev scholar,

argued that the work was of a Russian national nature, partly due to the fact that it is

written for an a cappella chorus, an ensemble that Taneyev’s contemporaries associated

with a Russian choral sound.85

The movements of op. 27 were originally in a different order than that in which they

were published.86 The published order (the original placement in parentheses) is as


1. На Могиле [On the Grave] (3)

2. Вечер [Evening] (2)
3. Развалины башни [The ruined tower, the eagle’s domain] (1)
4. Посмотри, какая мгла [Behold what darkness] (4)
5. На корабле [On the Ship] (5)
6. Молитва [Prayer] (6)

Lhudmila Z. Korabelnikova, “Problema tsikla v pozdikh khjrah Taneyeva [The Problem of Cycle in
Taneyev’s Late Choruses],” Sovetskaya Muzika 12 (1981): 84.
Korabelnikova, Tvorchestvo S.I. Taneeva: istoriko-stilsticheskoe issledovanie, 209.
Morosan, “Research Report: Two Russian Choral Giants: Alexander Kastalsky (1856-1926) and Sergei
Taneyev (1856-1915),”: 79.
Korabelnikova, Tvorchestvo S.I. Taneeva: istoriko-stilsticheskoe issledovanie, 209. Korabelnikova
argues that Taneyev’s contemporaries would associate the a cappella chorus sound with a Russian sound,
particularly because they were used to Russian church music sounding through this medium.
Ibid., 205.

7. Из вeчности музыка вдруг раздалась! [From eternity, suddenly, music was heard]
(added later)
8. Прометей [Prometheus] (11)
9. Увидал из-за тучи утес [Through the clouds, a cliff saw] (10)
10. Звезды [Stars] (7)
11. По горам две хмурых тучи [Over the mountains, two sullen clouds] (8)
12. В дни, когда над сонным морем [In the days when, over the drowsy sea] (9)

The text is taken from the Complete Works of Ya. Polonsky, volume 1, which was

published in St. Petersburg in 1885. Taneyev kept notes in the margin of his personal copy

of the book, marking the texts he thought would be a good fit for future choruses.87

Some of the choruses in op. 27 did not see performances during Taneyev’s lifetime.

Even today, the cycle is rarely performed in its entirety. However, professional ensembles

in Russia often sing selections from op. 27, including Вeчeр [Evening], Посмотри, какая

мгла [Behold What Darkness], and Развалины башни [Ruins of a Tower].88

Opus 35

Op. 35 has received little scholarly attention, even in Russia.89 Between 1912 and

1913, Taneyev composed the sixteen choruses for male voices for the Prague Instructors’

Singer’s Union, an ensemble that had already sung many of his choral works.90 Taneyev

had heard the Prague Instructors’ Singer’s Union sing his Прометей [Prometheus] in

Prague in 1911, and after that, he received a letter from the Singer’s Union asking him to

compose a piece for them;91 this request was the genesis for op. 35. The early drafts show

that Taneyev originally planned to write twelve choruses, and later expanded to sixteen.

Korabelnikova, “Problema tsikla v pozdikh khjrah Taneyeva [The Problem of Cycle in Taneyev’s Late
Choruses],”: 84.
Savenko, 157.
Korabelnikova, Tvorchestvo S.I. Taneeva: istoriko-stilsticheskoe issledovanie, 214.
Ibid., 215.
Ibid., 216.

Early sketches and poetry have been found for three other pieces that were not


Like op. 27, the cycle is highly sectionalized; instead of three sections, op. 35 has

four. Movements I–IV were written for three voices, movements V–VIII were written for

four and five voices, movements IX–XII were written for four and six voices, and

movements XIII–XVI were written for four voices. Each group of choruses was written in

separate notebooks, of which early drafts and an outline has been found. Movements V–

VIII and XIII–XVI were never published,93 and no manuscripts of the unpublished pieces

have been found in Russian archives.94

The published eight pieces and the additional material from the Tchaikovsky

Museum, when taken together, indicate that op. 35 includes the following choruses:

1. Тишина [Stillness] – A-flat major, Andante sostenuto, published

2. Призраки [Visions] – G minor, Vivace fantastico, published
3. Сфинкс [Sphinx] – A minor, Andante tenevroso e pesante, published
4. Заря [Dawn] – C minor, Andante sostenuto, published
5. Молитва [Prayer] – D minor, moderate?, sketches- handwritten (only concluding bars)-
not published
6. В пространствах эфира [In the Expanses of the Ether] – A major, moderately fast?,
sketches (2 sheets of handwritten, opening bars), not published
7. И сон и смeрть [Both Sleep and Death] – unpublished
8. Нeбесная роса [Dew of Heaven] – A-flat major, moderate or slow?, sketches of opening
bars, unpublished
9. Мертвые корабли [Dead Ships] – D minor, Lento pesante, Allegro tepestoso, published
10. Звуки прибоя [Sounds of the Surf] – F minor, Allergo tempestoso, published
11. Морское дно [The Sea Bed] – F-sharp minor, D-flat major, Adagio tenebroso, published
12. Морская песня [Sea Song] – D minor (F major, D major), Allergro energico, published
13. Тишина [Stillness] – G major, Allegro, Sketches: opening bars, not published
14. Гибeль [The Wreck] – G minor, Allegro, sketches of opening bars, unpublished
15. Бeлый лeбедь [The White Swan] – F major, moderate?, sketches of opening bars,

Ibid., 217. These sketches are currently housed at the Glinka Museum in Moscow.
Ibid., 216.
Korabelnikova, “Problema tsikla v pozdikh khjrah Taneyeva [The Problem of Cycle in Taneyev’s Late
Choruses],”: 84.

16. Лебeдь [The Swan] – A-flat major (F minor?), Moderate?, Sketches of opening bars,
violin and oboe parts (1 handwritten sheet- originally was oboe part, then violin),

Additional Taneyev Sources

The discography of Taneyev’s choral music is not extensive. It consists of the same

small body of music recorded multiple times, namely his two cantatas and selections from

op. 27. Of the fifteen recordings featuring Taneyev’s choral works, ten of them are

recorded by Russian ensembles. There are seven recordings of Taneyev’s large choral-

orchestral works, Иоанн Дамаскин [John of Damascus] or По прочтении псалма [At the

Reading of a Psalm], and all but one of them are recorded by Russian ensembles. The non-

Russian recording of John of Damascus is on a Russian-themed album performed by a

German ensemble. Op. 27, or selections from, is the primary composition that is otherwise

recorded. Appendix B shares a discography of Taneyev’s choral works.

Festivals or conferences celebrating Taneyev have been held, but they have been

infrequent and poorly publicized, and most Taneyev festivals are specifically related to

either his counterpoint analysis theories or his string quartets. A conference was held at

the Moscow Conservatory in 2006, 150 years after Taneyev’s birth, but it has been difficult

to identify other events relating to Taneyev. 2015 marked the centennial of Taneyev’s

death, but there was not a large response from the international community and no large-

scale organized event in Russia.

Information marked with a question mark (?) is derived from the outline of the opus found at the
Tchaikovsky Museum in Klin. However, the information cannot be confirmed since complete drafts have not been

Taneyev’s Reputation

Taneyev’s music is less known outside of Russia for a combination of reasons,

including their stylistic divergence from the mainstream, their use of secular texts, barriers

presented by the Russian language in which they are written, and cataclysmic events that

occurred on the world stage almost immediately proceeding Taneyev’s death, namely

World War I and the Russian Revolution. If scholars understand the barriers that restrict

information about and access to Taneyev’s music, then solutions to overcoming those

barriers can be discovered.

Taneyev’s extensive use of imitative contrapuntal techniques, as well as his study of

invertible counterpoint, was considered old-fashioned during his life. He did not write in

the same compositional style as the Mighty Five, who, in their aim to create distinct Russian

music, originally shunned compositional techniques taught in formal training. While the

Mighty Five have been studied, Taneyev has been overlooked by musicologists outside of

Russia.96 If the global trend was to research folk or national music and the distinct sounds

of national music, Taneyev’s contrapuntal techniques from the West would not fit the


Another issue with Taneyev’s use of counterpoint was that it was not a technique

extensively taught or revered in Russia during this time,97 yet he aimed to use contrapuntal

techniques to develop a Russian style of music. In a letter to Tchaikovsky, Taneyev argued

that Russian music did not have its own distinct style, and it needed to be developed,98 and

Taneyev’s compositions were written about the same time as the beginning of many nationalistic
movements. The Mighty Five from Russia (Balakirev, Cui, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Borodin) pre-dated
Taneyev’s compositional output by about ten years. Composers from other nations around Taneyev’s time and
slightly after focused on a national sound include Les Six, Janacek, Smetana, Sibelius, and Vaughan Williams.
Savenko, 4.
Leonid Sabaneev, Modern Russian Composers, (New York: International Publishers, 1927): 14.

Taneyev emphasized learning from, not adopting, music of the West.99 Russian choral

scholar Vladimir Morosan suggests that the lack of counterpoint training in Russia could

have impacted Taneyev’s influence.100 While many of Taneyev’s students used

contrapuntal techniques in their compositions, no Russian composer active at the time

used them as widely as Taneyev.

Taneyev did not publish sacred choral works, which was outside the norm in Russia

during his life. Sacred choral works “generally outnumbered the secular by a ratio of

between five and ten to one” in Russia.101 A self-declared atheist, Taneyev felt it would be

fraudulent to compose sacred music for liturgical use, even though he did compose sacred

music that he did not publish. Even if Taneyev had been interested in composing sacred

choral music, he likely would have faced difficulties in the reception if it; the imitative

counterpoint that he preferred was not conducive to understanding the text, and choral

works composed for the Orthodox Church traditionally emphasized text intelligibility.102

Taneyev was not a promoter of his own works, and he was often hesitant to publish

them because of self-doubt. When Taneyev died, he left behind a large number of papers

that included compositions he had never mentioned.103 In fact, Taneyev was surprised

when his publisher, Mitrofan Belyayev, proposed to publish his opera and quartets, and

Taneyev even tried to convince Belyayev to pay him less than they offered for them.104 He

often showed his unpublished works only to Tchaikovsky and perhaps a few other

Evseyev, “S.I. Taneyev and Folk Music,” 149.
Morosan, Choral Performance in Pre-revolutionary Russia, 232.
Ibid., 121.
Ibid., 232.
Sabaneev, Modern Russian Composers, 29.
Ibid., 32.

friends105; in a letter to Tchaikovsky, Taneyev wrote that he wanted to keep his

compositions anonymous.106

Timing of events inside and outside of Russia also affected Taneyev’s reputation. He

died as political unrest in Russia was growing, culminating in the Russian Revolution.

These major changes in Russia overshadowed the popularity of Taneyev’s music outside of

Russia. Not only would the global community have paid little attention to the recently

deceased composer in light of the governmental changes, but the world was also reeling at

the onset of World War I.

While scholars in Russia have recognized Taneyev’s import107, musicologists outside

of Russia have not been favorable in their assessment of Taneyev. David Brown, a

Tchaikovsky scholar who wrote the entry about Taneyev in Grove Music Online, writes,

... the conventional character and inequality of his [Taneyev’s] musical invention
causes the achievement to fall short of the intent. Taneyev had none of
Tchaikovsky’s gift for full-blooded melody, and his lyrical passages sound like his
master’s at their weakest; nor had he any grace of Mussorgsky’s ability to capture a
character or action within an unforgettable musical invention.108

It is unfortunate that this subjective assessment of Taneyev’s music has been allowed to

persist. Gerald Abraham also treats Taneyev as a secondary figure in Russian music

history. Reception of Taneyev has become more balanced in recent scholarship written in

English, although the new scholarship does not serve as wide an audience as does Grove

Liu, 7.
Herbert Weinstock, Tchaikovsky (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1943), 223. The letter is dated from
August 12, 1880.
Korabelnikova’s scholarship consistently addresses Taneyev’s contributions to Russian choral music as
a composer and teacher. Russians consider Taneyev an important part of their history, which is reflected in the way
Taneyev is celebrated in museums and schools (he has a classroom named after him at the Moscow Conservatory).
David Brown, "Taneyev, Sergey Ivanovich," Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online (Oxford
University Press), accessed June 14, 2014.

Music Online. The Grove entry is still the most widely accessed, and many young scholars

turn to Grove Online first for information. This can leave a lasting and unfair perspective.

Russian choral music, especially that with unfamiliar texts, has at times not been

performed due to language barriers and the lack of access to help with pronunciation.

Taneyev’s use of secular Russian poetry also meant that much of the text would have been

new to the West, and learning new and unfamiliar text could be a deterrent to performing

Taneyev’s music outside of Russia, especially given the difficulty of the Russian language.

The scholarship published outside of Russia does not accurately reflect Taneyev’s

importance, and the editions available are limited in number and often unusable to

performers outside of Russia. The discography of Taneyev’s choral music follows the same

trend, with significantly more Russian ensembles recording his works than any other

country. However, Taneyev’s compositional style, which is the focus of Chapter Three, was

unique among Russian composers. Russian scholarship, outside of Korabelnikova’s work,

does not argue that Taneyev was important, but this seems to be an underlying

assumption. Additionally, the amount of scholarship published in Russia demonstrates that

Taneyev was an important figure in Russian history due to his contribution to Russian

secular choral music, the influence of his counterpoint theories (which this thesis

document does not cover), and the students he influenced.



“Taneyev’s music is, above all things, rich...”1

One cannot underestimate Taneyev’s extraordinary import in the development and

mature growth of the ‘new Russian choral school,’ a group of composers, most of
them connected with the Moscow Synodal School of Church Singing, who were
responsible for the greatest explosion of choral composition since the Renaissance.2

In a letter to Piotr Tchaikovsky dated August 19 1880, Taneyev wrote: “Without

inspiration there is no creativity. But in moments of creativity, the human brain cannot

create something completely new; it can only combine what it already has, what it has

acquired through practice. That is why education is necessary as an aid to creativity.”3 As

already mentioned in Chapter One, Taneyev believed contrapuntal music was influenced by

the nationality, era, and personality of the composer, which meant that in his view, the use

of extensive imitation did not preclude his music from being heard as distinctly Russian.

Taneyev combined Russian melodies with counterpoint in his earlier choral music, but he

also believed he was creating distinctly Russian music by using counterpoint without

Russian melodies.

Taneyev was one of the first Russian composers to write unaccompanied secular

choral music, and he was the first Russian composer to create large-scale a cappella secular

V. Karatygin, “To the Memory of S.I. Taneev,” translated by S.W. Pring, The Musical Quarterly 13, no. 4
(October 1927): 540-43. (accessed June 6, 2014): 544.
Vladimir Morosan, “Research Report: Two Russian Choral Giants: Alexander Kastalsky (1856-1926) and
Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915),” Choral Journal 48, no. 11(May 2008): 83.
Sergei Evseyev, “S.I. Taneyev and Folk Music,” in Pamiati Sergeia Ivanovicha Taneeva, ed. Vladimir
Vasilevich Proptopopov (Moscow: Muzgiz, 1947), 149.

choral compositions,4 although his early works were much smaller in scope than his later

works. Boris Asafyev, a Russian composer and musicologist, believed Taneyev’s last two

cycles (op. 27 and op. 35) were the highest achievements in Russian secular choral music

before the Russian Revolution.5

Taneyev wrote several sacred compositions as well, but none were meant for

church use. He told pianist E. V. Bogoslovsky that he could not write church music because

he was a “nonbeliever.”6 Even though he used sacred texts in his large choral/orchestral

works, it was as a means for philosophical reflection.7 Despite not writing sacred pieces for

publication, Taneyev believed the contrapuntal style of Palestrina was the ideal sacred

model.8 In his unpublished religious music, Taneyev often relied on stricter contrapuntal

writing than in his secular music.

Taneyev’s Influences

Taneyev’s compositions were influenced by his understanding of compositional

practices throughout history. This desire to have a historical understanding of composition

was likely influenced by Herman Laroche (1845–1904), a faculty member at the Moscow

Conservatory when Taneyev was a student. Laroche emphasized a historical approach to

the study of music theory,9 and Taneyev read Laroche’s writings when he was a student at

Yury Gen-Ir, Cherti stilya khorov S.I. Taneyeva [Stylistic Features of Taneyev’s Choruses]
(Petrozavodsk: n/p, 1991).
Svetlana I. Savenko, Sergei Ivanovich Taneev (Moscow: Izd-vo “Muzyka,” 1984), 158.
S.V. Popov, “The Choral Works of S.I. Taneyev,” in Pamiati Sergeia Ivanovicha Taneeva, ed. Vladimir
Vasil’evich Proptopopov (Moscow: Muzgiz, 1947), 138.
Savenko, 157.
Alexander Mihailovic, ed., Tchiakovsky and His Contemporaries: A Centennial Symposium (Westport,
Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1999), 200.
Ellon D Carpenter, “The Contributions of Taneev, Catorie, Conus, Garbuzov, Mazel, and Tiulin,” in
Russian Theoretical Thought in Music, ed. Gordon D. McQuere (Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1983),

the Moscow Conservatory, the same time Laroche was on faculty. Following this historical

approach, Taneyev referenced composers such as Heinrich Finck, Loyset Compère, Josquin

des Prez, Pierre Moulu, Ludwig Senfl, Adrian Willaert, and Benedictus Ducis in his

Подвижном контрапункте строгого письма [Convertible Counterpoint in the Strict Style].

Taneyev dedicated his Convertible Counterpoint in the Strict Style to the memory of Laroche,

perhaps acknowledging the impact Laroche had on his musical studies.

His Music Library

Taneyev bequeathed his library to the Moscow Conservatory. The composers and

ideas that influenced him can be ascertained through the music and books he owned, as

well as his annotations in them. Music using contrapuntal techniques and books about

counterpoint were major components of his library, not surprising given Taneyev’s

compositional style, the classes he taught at the Moscow Conservatory, and the treatise on

counterpoint he published during his lifetime.

Palestrina and J. S. Bach were the two composers most represented in Taneyev’s

library. Taneyev owned editions of almost all of Palestrina’s works, including copies of the

masses, motets, and madrigals published by Breitkopf, which used modern clefs with

German translations added to the Latin text. Taneyev also owned copies of most of the

works by J. S. Bach, and he analyzed many of Bach’s cantatas; his annotations include the

date of his analysis and documentation of parallel fourths, false relations, form, and basso

ostinato.10 Taneyev used his analysis of Bach and Palestrina to inform his understanding of

contrapuntal composition techniques and counterpoint analysis, respectively.

Taneyev also studied many other Western European Renaissance polyphonic

masters. In his later years, for example, Taneyev dedicated time to studying Josquin, but he

also analyzed the works of other early composers such as Clément Janequin, Orlando di

Lasso, Cristobal de Morales, Bartolome de Escobedo, Thomas Selle, Nicola Vicentino,

Gioseffo Zarlino, Luigi Battiferi, Angelo Berardi, Girolamo Frescobaldi, and Giovanni

Rovetta. The composers from the Baroque and Classical periods that held Taneyev’s

interest included Niccolò Jommelli, Benedetto Marchello, Francesco Durante, Leonardo Leo,

Antonio Giannettini, Giacomo Perti, Johann Georg Conradi, Quirino Colombani, Antonio

Caldara, Antonio Lotti, Johann Kirnberger, Georg Christian Schemelli, Giovanni Battista,

Felice Giardini, Antonio Salieri, Emanuel Aloys Förster, Joseph Joubert, and Franz Kommer.

Many of these composers wrote contrapuntal works or studied with contrapuntal masters.

W. A. Mozart was the most widely represented Classical composer in Taneyev’s score

collection, and Taneyev studied Mozart’s counterpoint notebooks as well.11 Given

Taneyev’s thorough study of counterpoint, it is no surprise that he was the leading Russian

composer and pedagogue on counterpoint.

Taneyev was interested in oratorios and operas, as well. He studied the

compositional process and techniques of Handel,12 particularly the oratorios. Handel’s

oratorios likely inspired Taneyev to compose his own. In addition to Handel’s scores,

F. Savelova, “S.I. Taneev and his library,” in Sergei Ivanovich Taneev: lichnost’, tvorchestvo i dokumenti
ego zhizni: k 12-ti letiyu so dnya ego smerti [Taneyev: Personality, Works, and Documentations of His Life: Ten
Years Since His Death], ed. Konstantin Kuznetsov (Moscow: Muzsektor, 1925), 188.
Carpenter, 254.
P.I. Kovalev, “Taneev’s Oeuvre,” in Sergei Ivanovich Taneev: lichnost’, tvorchestvo i dokumenti ego
zhizni: k 12-ti letiyu so dnya ego smerti [Taneyev: Personality, Works, and Documentations of His Life: Ten Years
Since His Death], ed. Konstantin Kuznetsov (Moscow: Muzsektor, 1925), 36.

Taneyev owned operas and oratorios by Graun, Rosetti, Gluck, and Schweitzer.13 Taneyev

composed six choral/orchestral works, although there is currently no comprehensive study

on any of them.

Later composers were also represented in Taneyev’s score collection, including

Ludwig van Beethoven,14 Franz Joseph Haydn, Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann,

Frédéric Chopin, Franz Schubert, Hector Berlioz, Richard Wagner15, C.P.E. Bach, Johannes

Brahms, Franz Liszt, César Franck, Camille Saint-Saens, Gabriel Faure, Vincent D’Indy,

Henri Duparc, Émile Durand, Jules Massenet, Richard Strauss, Max Bruch, Edvard Grieg,

Joseph Suk, Vitezslav Novak, V. Nikshak, and Mikhail Glinka. It is evident that Taneyev’s

attempt to be well informed about earlier styles compelled him to collect music that

represented a variety of genres, national styles, and time periods.

Taneyev also owned and studied scores by his contemporaries, including Piotr

Tchaikovsky, Anton Rubinstein, Anton Arensky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Nikolai Rimsky-

Korsakov, Modest Mussorgsky, César Cui, Alexander Borodin, Mily Balakirev, Alexander

Glazunov, and Alexander Gretchaninov. At first, Taneyev did not care for the Mighty Five.

He believed that Mussorgsky tried to write with “unenlightened nationalism,”16 and at a

Savelova, 191.
Savelova, 188. Taneyev compared musical structure between Beethoven and Mozart, and in his analysis,
noted when the theme moved between voices. It is likely from this understanding of structure that he defended
Beethoven to Tolstoy.
Taneyev studied and was influenced by Wagner. This was observed when analyzing Taneyev’s opera
Oresteia and comparing it to Wagner’s operas. Indepth study of how Wagner influenced Taneyev’s opera (and
perhaps his other music) is beyond the scope of this thesis. For more information, see Anastasia Belina-Johnson’s
chapter in Wagner in Russia, Poland, and the Czech lands: Musical, Literary, and Cultural Perspectives, eds.
Stephen Muir and Anastasia Belina-Johnson (Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2013) or Belina-Johnson’s A Critical Re-
Evaluation of Taneyev’s Oresteia (PhD, University of Leeds, May 2009).
Leonid Leonidovich Sabaneev, Modern Russian Composers, (New York: International Publishers, 1927):

rehearsal he told Balakirev, “We are dissatisfied with you.”17 Sometime in the 1890s, his

feelings toward the Mighty Five changed, although to varying degrees. Taneyev began to

appreciate Borodin and Glazunov, and Mussorgsky he regarded “only with dislike and

ridicule.”18 Despite his initial dislike of their music, Taneyev was in agreement with them

about creating a Russian style of music. Taneyev, however, sought to accomplish this

through the very different means of combining counterpoint with Russian melodies.

Taneyev and His Use of Folk Music

Taneyev’s library contained compilations of Russian folk songs, transcribed by

himself and others. At the end of the 1870s, there were very few transcribed Russian folk

music arrangments.19 Dimitri Agrenev (1836–1908), a Russian choral conductor who

traveled with his choir to other countries, programmed Russian folk music, but Taneyev

disliked his arrangements, stating they were not skillfully crafted.20 In 1885, the same year

that Agrenev toured Germany with his choir, Taneyev traveled to the Caucasus to collect

folk music. He also collected Ukrainian, Russian, and Belorussian folk song arrangements.21

In 1901, Taneyev became a founding member of the Musico-Ethnographic Commission,22

an organization connected with the Moscow Conservatory that collected folk music.

Around this time, choral singing, particularly that of folk music, began to pique the interest

Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, translated by Judah A. Joffe (New York: A.A. Knopf,
1942): 383.
Ibid., 383.
Evseyev, “S.I. Taneyev and Folk Music,” 150.
Vladimir Morosan, Choral Performance in Pre-revolutionary Russia (Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI
Research Press, 1986), 122-3.
Evseyev, “S.I. Taneyev and Folk Music,”145. He harmonized and adapted over 38 folk songs. He
harmonized “Eight Little Russians Songs from N.A. Yanchuck Collection,” which was later printed in Trudy
muzykal’noetnograficheskoi komissii vol. IV, Moscow, 1912.
Daniel Jaffé, Historical Dictionary of Russian Music (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2012), 324.

of more Russians, although it was not until after the Revolution of 1917 that the folk chorus

became more prominent.23

In his compositions, Taneyev often cited and adapted folk melodies;24 he was a

leader in collecting and arranging Russian folk music. Although Taneyev focused less on

folk songs in his later works,25 he believed they were necessary and important to Russian

music26 in both education and composition. Sergei Evseyev, a Russian musicologist and

folk music specialist, argued that Taneyev was progressive in the by the process in which

he created Russian music, and his solo folk song arrangements were a large contribution to

Russian music.27

Stylistic Features of Taneyev’s Choral Music

Lhudmilla Korabelnikova writes that Taneyev’s choral output can be divided into

two periods: 1870s through1880s and late 1890s to 1915.28 Taneyev did not compose

choral music between the two periods. His early choral music anticipates his mature

works, particularly his interest in texts about nature and his use of imitative counterpoint.

While Taneyev wrote choral cycles throughout his career, the later cycles are lengthier and

include more voices.

Taneyev was called “the Fire-station Bach” by Tchaikovsky, partly because of

Taneyev’s love of imitative counterpoint, and partly because Taneyev lived near a fire

Morosan, Choral Performance in Pre-revolutionary Russia, 124.
Evseyev, “S.I. Taneyev and Folk Music,” 146.
Stuart Campbell, ed. and trans., Russians on Russian Music, 1880-1917 (Cambridge, New York:
Cambridge University Press, 2003), 154.
Evseyev, “S.I. Taneyev and Folk Music,” 152. Taneyev commented in his diary in 1895 that folk songs
were necessary and important.
Evseyev, “S.I. Taneyev and Folk Music,” 174.
Lhudmilla Z. Korabelnikova, Tvorchestvo S.I. Taneeva: istoriko-stilsticheskoe issledovanie (Moscow:
Muzyka, 1986),193.

station.29 Taneyev wrote counterpoint exercises in the style of Palestrina and Bach to

master the techniques, but he did not use strict imitation in most of his published choral

works. Rather, Taneyev used points of imitation derived from a theme; he treated the

manipulation of the imitation with importance equal to that of the theme itself.30

Contrapuntal Techniques

One of the most distinctive compositional devices found in Taneyev’s music is the

use of imitative counterpoint. While he did not publish a self-standing fugue, modified

forms exist as sections in larger works. He used fugal imitation as a process of composing,

rather than simply a form organization; because of this, discussion on fugal imitation can

be found in the Contrapuntal Techniques section as opposed to the Form section.

Fugal Imitation

Modified fugues appear often in Taneyev’s choral works. Imitative devices

associated with fugues, such as stretto and false entries, also take on a significant role in

Taneyev’s compositions, and are especially prevalent in his later choral works.

Фонтан [Fountain], shown in Example 1, and written in 1880, is a good example of

fugal treatment that Taneyev employs in early works. The subject is introduced by the alto,

followed by a real answer a fifth below in the baritone. There is no countersubject. A

modified inverted statement begins immediately after the real answer in the baritone in m.

9. After the subject is presented by both the alto and bass voice, there is a short episode.

Stephen Muir and Anastasia Belina-Johnson, eds., Wagner in Russia, Poland, and the Czech Lands:
Musical, Literacy, and Cultural Perspectives (Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2013), 9n41.
Gen-Ir. Gen-Ir argued that Taneyev’s thoughtfulness of counterpoint is not dry or pedantic, but Taneyev
used both an intellectual and emotional approach in his compositions.

The bass voice introduces a second subject in the anacrusis to m. 19, presented in stretto.

The second episode is in mm. 24–25, and neither episodes recall material from their

preceeding subjects. The final entry of the first subject begins in m. 27 in the bass, and the

counterpoint ends in m. 36, followed by a coda. The short composition demonstrates

Taneyev's early work in fugal treatment.

Subject 1

Modified Inverted Answer

Answer 1- Real


Subject 1 Subject 2

Stretto - - - - - - - - - - - -
Subject 2 Episode Subject 2

Answer 2- Tonal

Example 1. Фонтан.
Stretto - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Modified Answer 1

Answer 2- Tonal

Final Entry- Subject 1

Answer 2- Tonal


Example 1—continued.

Stretto - - - - - - - - - - - -

Another example of fugal imitation typical in Taneyev’s works is found in Прометей

[Prometheus] (1911), mm. 23–73, labeled a triple fugue by Taneyev (Appendix C). The first

subject, introduced in the bass voice in m. 22, is juxtaposed with free counterpoint in the

first tenor voice. The second subject overlaps with the first, and is introduced in m. 23 in

the alto voice. The third subject, overlapping with both the first and second subject, is

introduced in m. 25 in the second tenor. Both real and tonal answers are used, but the

answers are modified, and none reproduce the original subject in its entirety. These are

indications that this passage is based on fugal imitation, focusing on the process instead of

strict fugal form, since these subjects do not return in complete form at the original pitch

level. The answer to the first and third subjects are at a fifth, and the answer to the second

subject is at a fourth. The development begins in m. 32, when the first tenor gives an

answer to the third subject at a seventh. Unlike traditional fugues, none of the subjects are

heard again in their entirety, although development of the heads of the subjects continues

through various key centers. This happens in stretto (mm. 45–48) as well.

По горам две хмурых тучи [Two Sullen Clouds Among the Mountains], op. 27, no. 11

(1911), a portion of which is found in Appendix D, culminates in stretto on the opening

motive. The motive is marked with stars in mm. 1–3. The return is shown in Example 2,

beginning with the anacrusis to m. 102 in the bass voice of choir 1. The presentation of a

main motive in stretto is common throughout Taneyev’s later choral music.

Stretto - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Example 2. По горам две хмурых тучи stretto ending.

Another prominent fugal technique that Taneyev applies is false entries. In mm. 18–

19 of Two Sullen Clouds, seen in Appendix D, Taneyev includes a false entry in the tenor

voice of choir 2. While there are false entries throughout the preceding measures, this false

entry occurs two measures before an iteration of the original motive at original pitch levels

in the bass voice. Several examples of false entries occur in the development (beginning in

m. 32) of Prometheus as well, with more false entries of the third subject than the other two

subjects. This continues until the stretto of the head of the third subject in m. 45.

Points of Imitation

Taneyev treats points of imitation in a variety of ways. Using both exact and loose

imitation, the material is often derived from the opening theme, although not always.

Points of imitation were more numerous in Taneyev’s more mature works.

Taneyev’s 1877 choral work Серенада [Serenade] contains brief imitation in mm.

23–27, observed in Example 3 between the paired middle voices and the bass. This

imitative passage is the only one in the entire piece, but is a foreshadowing of the imitation

to come in Taneyev's later choral compositions.

Example 3. Серенада mm. 23–27.

Лечь бы в кровати [I want to Lie in Bed], written in 1880, contains points of

imitation alternating between voices. The first example is in mm. 6–9 (see Example 4), in

which a two-measure motive is imitated at the octave in the tenor and bass voices. Another

example is found in mm. 11–15 (Example 5), where an ascending sixteenth-note motive

passes between the soprano, tenor, and bass voices. A modified version of the figure

appears in m. 15 in the soprano. Here the sixteenth-note figure is partially inverted. None

of the imitative material is related to the homophonic material in the piece.

Example 4. Лечь бы в кровати mm. 6–9 tenor/bass motives.

Example 5. Лечь бы в кровати mm. 11–15 sixteenth motive.

Op. 27, no. 11 По горам две хмурых тучи [Two Sullen Clouds Among the Mountains]

(1911), found in Appendix D, serves as a representative composition that features imitation

based on short, thematic cells in Taneyev's mature choral works. The opening melodic

motive in Section A, seen in the initial entrance of the soprano voice, is imitated at the

octave in the tenor of choir 1, and the bass, alto, and soprano of choir 2. The motive returns

in the anacrusis of m. 9. When the motive is altered and returned at different pitch levels in

the development beginning in m. 11, it still appears in imitation.

Section B, beginning in m. 27, employs double imitation, and the prominence of

these points of imitation give the initial impression of canon. The sopranos/tenors of choir

1 are followed by the altos/basses of choir 1, who are followed by the sopranos/tenors of

choir 2 and then the altos/basses of choir 2 in a type of double-double imitation. The

imitation continues until m. 32, at which point the dotted eighth-note rhythm, which is the

head of the motive in Section B, is used as a unifying musical thought.

Морское дно [The Sea Bed], op. 35, no. 11 (1914), shown in Example 6, opens in

exact imitation between the tenor and first bass, but the intervals are modified in m. 5. In

m. 7, the imitation is transfered to the second bass. The second tenor restates the original

melodic material, and the first tenor proceeds to enter at the fifth in m. 10. The music

continues in this imitation until a cadence at m. 18.31

Material denoted with a gold color is imitative, but at a different pitch level.


Example 6. Морское дно opening imitative material.


Taneyev usually utilized only one theme per work or large section. These themes

are stated very clearly, either in unison or set against a simpler texture. He restates a

melody in its original iteration only to call attention to form or text. The form of a piece can

often be identified through the analysis of the themes or thematic motives, as well as

through how Taneyev handles the return of the themes. Gen-Ir suggests two types of

themes: a small, core-type in which short, melodic phrases are developed, and a type of

fortspinnung theme that uses initial thematic ideas multiple times with no significant

transformation.32 Both types of thematic development allow the theme to be used in

different iterations throughout the piece, although the first “type” of theme Gen-Ir suggests

is better termed a motive.

Motivic Use

One of the features of Taneyev’s choral music is the pervasive use of motives as a

unifying device throughout a piece. In many of his choral compositions, the motive is

restated in imitation. The length of motives is rarely longer than two measures, and the

motives are usually characterized by important rhythmic and melodic elements, although

there are a few examples of rhythm-only motives. The motivic manipulation typically

includes sequencing, alteration of pitch intervals while retaining the original motivic

rhythm, and modifying the rhythm while keeping the original pitches or intervals. Taneyev

rarely displaces the rhythm of a motive, instead keeping the original arsis and thesis of the

motive. These motives are often restated in their original forms at the end of works or in

any significant new section, and in this way, helps outline the form of a work.

An example that showcases a typical treatment of a motive is found in Вечер

[Evening], op. 27, no. 2 (1911), shown in Example 7. The motive, which permeates the

composition, is related to the opening statement in the soprano. The separate motive is

first heard in the tenor in m. 6.

Once the tenor voice introduces the motive, it is then repeated by other voices at

different pitch levels while retaining the same intervals (See Example 7). The motive does


not change significantly until m. 16, where the third interval of the statement presented in

the soprano voice is smaller than previous iterations. The motive is then stated in

alteration between the soprano and tenor voice before the top three voices present another

iteration of the motive in m. 22. At this iteration, the first two intervals are inverted.

The recapitulation of Evening begins in m. 45, shown in Example 8, and brings a

mirrored return of the opening material. The motivic changes from m. 16 are restated in m.

45, which lasts three measures before recalling material from m. 10. Finally, the opening

material of the work is restated in m. 55. The motive returns to its original presentation by

retracing the alterations in reverse order.

Opening Statement


Example 7. Вечер mm. 1–26.

Altered motive

Altered motive

Altered motive

Example 7—continued.

Same as m. 16

Same as m. 10

Recalls mm. 1-5

Example 8. Вечер mm. 46–end.


Example 8—continued.

Rhythmic motives are also used, albeit rarely. In Адель [Adele] (1887), the rhythmic

motive of eighth-quarter-eighth-quarter does not have a melodic contour associated with

it, as the rhythm itself proves to be distinctive. The motive begins in the accompanying

voices in m. 1, as shown in Example 9, but is found throughout the melody as well.

Example 9. Адель mm. 1–5 rhythmic motive.

По горам две хмурых тучи [Two Sullen Clouds Among the Mountains], op. 27, no. 11

(1911) contains multiple motives used throughout the work. In addition to the examples

provided in this section, please also refer to Appendix D, which is a reproduction of a large

portion of Two Sullen Clouds Among the Mountains. This discussion includes examples of

motivic alteration, sequencing, the use of a motive to transition back to previous material,

and the use of motives without lasting impact.

The rhythmic motive shown in Example 10, also outlined in red in Appendix D,

opens the entire piece and is seen periodically throughout Section A both with and without

the half note. The motive is also heard periodically throughout Section B, and is used to

transition to Section A’ beginning in m. 70.

Example 10. По горам две хмурых тучи rhythmic motive.

Another motive, shown in Example 11, is altered throughout Two Sullen Clouds. The

various treatments are denoted in Appendix D. The motive, present throughout section A,

is altered throughout. In m. 11, the soprano of choir 2 presents the second half of the

motive at a different pitch level, followed immediately by the bass of choir 1 presenting the

first half of the motive. From m. 13–27, the motive is presented at different pitch levels

with inversion and alteration of intervallic content.


Example 11. По горам две хмурых тучи soprano motive.

Sequencing is another means Taneyev employs in developing motivic content.

Similar sequencing occurs in both choir 1 and choir 2 in Two Sullen Clouds; choir 2 presents

the sequence first in m. 37, and choir 2 returns the sequence in m. 58. The sequential

motive itself is based on the dotted eighth-note rhythm that is one of the rhythmic themes

of Section B. The use of this sequence is short, and is marked in Appendix D.

Augmenting a rhythmic value and inverting intervals are other common ways in

which Taneyev treats motives. The most common usage of inversion or augmentation is

with a false entry or partial motive. In m. 52 of Prometheus, seen in Appendix C, for

example, a false entry of an inversion of the first subject appears in the bass voice.

Some motives appear only briefly, often as a way to develop a short passage. Some

examples of these short-lived motives are mentioned in the Points of Imitation section, but

their use in Two Sullen Clouds (Appendix D) serves as a final example of their function

within a work. In mm. 5–7, choirs 2 and 1 exchange material antiphonally. The rhythm and

contour of lines used are not derived from any specific theme or motive, nor is the material

used again in any significant way.


Taneyev believed that great music was written using logical organization and

careful planning,33 and his compositions are recognizable for their organization of keys,

themes, and motives, which he often outlined before he composed a work.34 His choral

cycles stand as excellent examples of the process by which he integrates motivic

development into large-scale organization. Early thematic sketches of various movements

of op. 27 can be found at the Tchaikovsky Museum. In the surviving sketches of op. 27,

Taneyev outlined various possibilities for developing the motivic material. He believed

compositions should be based on analysis and preparation of thematic materials in order to

reach full musical possibilities and maximize creativity.35 He also outlined the order of

works in a cycle, although this could change later, as it did with op. 27. Careful planning

and organization also included form, and Taneyev often used modified versions of

traditional forms.

The large choral cycles Taneyev composed were new to secular Russian choral

music. Morosan compared Taneyev’s large-scale choral cycle, op. 27 (1911), to

Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil, op. 37, and argued Rachmaninoff was likely influenced by

Taneyev’s commitment to form.36 Many of the movements of op. 27 used modified

traditional forms. Kovalev, an early Russian music scholar, argued that one of the reasons

Nicolas Slonimsky, Nicolas Slonimsky: Writings on Music, Electra Slonimsky Yourke, ed. (New York:
Routledge, 2004), 100. Taneyev also believed organization and planning could include the use of patterns and
Brown, "Taneyev, Sergey Ivanovich." His normal practice was to outline an entire work before writing
any singular movement or section in its final form.
James Bakst, A History of Russian-Soviet Music (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1966), 245.
Morosan, “Research Report: Two Russian Choral Giants: Alexander Kastalsky (1856-1926) and Sergei
Taneyev (1856-1915),” 29.

Taneyev was original to Russian music was because he combined meticulous construction

of the form with contrapuntal writing.37

An example of a modified, traditional form used by Taneyev is Из края в край [From

Border to Border] (1899), which has traits of sonata form. The exposition (mm. 1–39) is in

E minor and the relative G major, normal key areas for a sonata in a minor key. The

development, beginning in m. 40, proceeds through various key centers. The recapitulation

returns in m. 69 in the expected original key of E minor. From Border to Border, is a double

chorus piece, has thematic material that recurs in both choirs. The extensive imitative

counterpoint in From Border to Border, combined with selected traits of sonata form, is an

example of the originality Kovalev argued for in the preceeding paragraph.

Another example of a modified form is found in Промeтей [Prometheus] (1911),

which is in loose rondo form, outlined in Table 2. The A sections are homophonic, given the

same metronome marking, contain similar musical material, are in B-flat major with the

exception of A’ which is in B-flat minor, and are shorter than the contrapuntal sections.

Section B and C are both contrapuntal, but section C is based on motives instead of a

thematic statement. The first B section is a triple fugue and the second B section, while not

a fugue, includes material derived from a theme introduced in the soprano at the onset of

m. 132. Although B-flat major is sometimes the written key signature, B-flat major is never

the key center for Sections B and C.

Kovalev, 36. Kovalev is quite emphatic about this. He describes Taneyev’s contrapuntal writing as
“unreachable to simple mortals.” On the same page he writes “Taneyev’s polyphony is his deeply individual style,
and his alone.”

Промeтей [Prometheus] form outline

Section A B A C A C’ A’ B’ A End

Measure 1 23 74 80 89 109 126 132 149 182

Key B♭ D B♭ F B♭ B♭ B♭ B♭
Varies Varies
Center minor based minor
Texture38 H P H P H P H P H

Table 2. Промeтей [Prometheus] form.

Unisons and octaves are also periodically used to signal formal boundaries in

Taneyev’s late choral works, usually suggesting a new or returning section. Звезды [Stars],

op. 15, no. 1 (1900) begins in octaves, and these return once about halfway through the

piece. The return of the octaves is one indication that Stars has a two-part form. Another

example of octaves outlining form is found in Развалину башни, жилище орла [The Ruins

of the Tower], op. 27 no. 3 (1911). The piece begins with octaves (Example 12) that return

periodically throughout the piece to denote a new section. These octaves also return at a

different pitch level in mm. 42–44 (Example 13). The anacrusis to m. 45 is a new section,

and uses the octave theme supported by triplet figures beneath it. A replication of the

opening octaves also mark the approaching end of the work, shown in Example 14, mm.


“P” means polyphonic. “H” means homophonic.


Example 12. Развалину башни, жилище орла mm. 1–7.


Example 13. Развалину башни, жилище орла mm. 41–46.


Example 14. Развалину башни, жилище орла mm. 84–95.

Taneyev labeled some of his works “fugue” and “canon.” For example, he included a

canon in Ночь [Nights], the first piece in a set of two choruses for male voices written in the

early 1880s. The canon and derived material extends for fifty-six measures, or nearly a

third of the composition. Each voice enters a fifth above (or fourth below) the preceding

voice, and the canon continues following the lead voice in primarily strict imitation, only

adjusting periodic intervals. This is one of the few examples of canon in Taneyev’s choral

works meant for performance; most other canons that he composed were exercises. There

were a handful of choral works that Taneyev labeled a fugue, although these only loosely

followed the traditional form of a fugue.


In Taneyev’s later unaccompanied choral music, a significant change in texture is

often used to delineate sections. This change may occur in combination with or instead of

octaves and unsions (discussed in the Form section above). Taneyev uses a variety of

textures, many within a single composition. While obviously not unique to Taneyev, the

use of texture to delineate form is a characteristic seen in many of Taneyev’s choral works.

Since most of his contemporaries did not use counterpoint as extensively as Taneyev, this

use is quite noticeable in his music.

An example of varying texture is found in mm. 26–30 of Альпы [The Alps] (Example

15). Although The Alps (1900) contains varying polyphonic and homophonic textures, the

antiphonal effect found here occurs only at this juncture of the work. Brief pairings of

voices set in opposition for an antiphonal effect are extremely common in Taneyev’s music.


Example 15. Альпы antiphonal effect.

The fugal imitation in Прометей [Prometheus] (1911), found in Appendix C,

features paired voices as the section nears its end, an effect particularly noticeable

beginning in m. 63. This type of rhythmic pairing of voices, signifying the section is soon

ending, is extremely common in Taneyev’s choral music.

Из вечности музыка [Suddenly Music Sounded], op. 27, no. 7 (1911), is another

example in which the complexity of the polyphonic texture is decreased at the end of the

section. The end of the first section in Suddenly Music Sounded is signaled by homophonic

texture at the last dotted quarter note of m. 13 (Example 16). The next section beginning in

m. 22, not shown here, is again contrapuntal.


Example 16. Из вечности музыка texture change.

Taneyev uses homophonic texture to denote the beginning and end of a choral work

in addition to delineating between sections. An example of this is found in Развалину

башни, жилище орла [The Ruins of the Tower] (1911), which includes two homophonic

sections. The introduction is primarily homophonic. A portion of the introduction can be

seen in Example 12 on page 79. The Ruins of the Tower also ends with a homophonic

section, beginning in mm. 84–end (Example 14 on page 81). These homophonic sections

frame the choral work and mark the introduction and the coda.


Taneyev, like his Russian contemporaries, did not make harmonic advances;

however, he did not have a conservative harmonic view, nor did he believe the currently

used harmonic system had reached its limit.39 Taneyev enjoyed dissonance, “bizarre tonal

half-ornaments,”40 and striking modulations.41 However, much of the harmony found in

Taneyev’s choral music was typical of his time.

In Вечер [Evening], op. 27, no. 1 (1911), beat one in m. 15 ends on a B-flat major

chord, which concludes the first section (Example 7 on pages 70 and 71). The next section

is marked by a transition from a B-flat major chord to an augmented E-flat chord with an

added major seventh (see Example 17). It is the augmented fifth that makes an impression

on the listener, and it is the only augmented chord in the work. It is repeated at m. 46.

I IV+7

Example 17. Вечер augmented E-flat chord.

A.G. Mikhailenko, “Cherti tonalnoy organizatsii fug S.I. Taneyev [Tonal Characteristics of Taneyev’s
Fugues],” in Teoreticheskiye problemi polifonii [Theoretical Problems of Polyphony], L. Popelyash ed. (Moscow:
Muzika, 1980), 95.
Leonid Sabaneev, S.I. Taneev (Parizh: Tair, 1930), 28.
Mikhailenko, “Cherti tonalnoy organizatsii fug S.I. Taneyev [Tonal Characteristics of Taneyev’s
Fugues],” 99.

Harmonic Plan

Taneyev’s interest in structure also included the logic of the harmonic plan, how the

key centers related to each other, and if the progression was justified from an artistic

standpoint.42 According to Taneyev, tonal plans in a composition should be logical in order

to be harmonically innovative, since without logic a harmonic progression will not make

sense to the listener. Молитва [Prayer], op. 27, no. 6 (1911) is an example such a logical

harmonic plan, as the key centers are built on related intervals. Prayer begins in A-flat

major, and the overarching key structure is seen in Table 3. The key centers are related by

a third and the harmonic plan is symmetrical. At the end of the section in D-flat major, D

minor is tonicized briefly on the way to G minor, C major, and then to F major in m. 62.

Key Center A-flat major F minor D-flat major F major A-flat major
Measure 1 20 37 62 80
Table 3. Молитва [Prayer] key structure.

Interval Use

Tritones and other dissonant intervals, such as diminished third, augmented fifth,

diminished seventh, and diminished eighth can be found in Taneyev’s choral compositions.

The use of these intervals is not intended to destabilize the key, as Taneyev believed that

replacing diatonic harmony with overly chromatic harmony potentially leads to a

deterioration of tonality and thus destroy the musical form.43

A.G. Mikhailenko, “Cherti tonalnoy organizatsii fug S.I. Taneyev [Tonal Characteristics of Taneyev’s
Fugues],” in Teoreticheskiye problemi polifonii [Theoretical Problems of Polyphony], L. Popelyash ed. (Moscow:
Muzika, 1980), 95-96.

Diminished fourths and diminished sevenths symbolize suffering or distress, an

affect that likely derived from Taneyev’s penchant for Baroque music and its concomitant

doctrine of the affections. For example, a diminished fourth in m. 7 of На могиле [Upon the

Grave], op. 27, no 1 (1911), is used to underscore with the text “забытая могила,”

[“forgotten grave”]. This is seen in Example 18.

За - бы - та - я мо - ги - ла

Example 18. На могиле m. 7 diminished fourth.

Pedal Points

Pedal points are found quite often in Taneyev’s works, especially in his mature

choral works. The use of pedal points is not unique to Taneyev, as they were heavily

utilized in Russian sacred choral music of the time as well. Multiple examples of pedal

points exist in Монастырь на казбеке [Monastery on the Kabek] (1907), such as in the

tenor voice at m. 49 (Example 19) and m. 58 (Example 20). An example is also seen in

Example 7 (pages 70 and 71) in the opening measures of Вечер [Evening] in the bass voice.


Example 19. Монастырь на казбеке tenor pedal point.

Example 20. Монастырь на казбеке tenor pedal point.


Hemiola can be found in many of Taneyev’s works, although the use of hemiola in

Russian choral music is of course not unique to Taneyev. In Вечер [Evening], op. 27 no. 2

(1911), hemiola is present in the alto line in m. 14, and the tenor in m. 15 (Example 21); the

alto line repeats the hemiola multiple times throughout the work. In op. 27, no. 7 Из

вечности музыка [Suddenly Music Sounded] (1911), a hemiola characterizes the motive

passed between voices. It can be seen in Example 22 in m. 22 in the first tenor voice, m. 23

in the alto and bass, and m. 24 in the second tenor and bass.

Example 21. Вечер hemiola.


Example 22. Из вечности музыка hemiola.

Duple meter is also inserted in triple meter and visa versa in some works. Although

shifting patterns is not a pervasive compositional device in Taneyev’s choral works, it is a

technique to which he sometimes subscribed in climactic moments. This is primarily seen

in his early works. In Адель [Adele] (1887), triplets appear in duple subdivisions (Example

23). In another example, Эхо [Echo] (1888), the duples in mm. 14–16 create rhythmic

contrast with the triple subdivision of the 6/8 time (Example 24).


Example 23. Адель hemiola.

Example 24. Эхо hemiola.


Taneyev was fastidious about the type of texts he chose and how he set them.

Taneyev told one of his students, V. I. Metzel, that he focused on psychology, feelings, or

moods in his music.44 The expression of the text was incredibly important to him, and he

set texts so that words are intelligible despite the counterpoint. Since clarity of words was

an important objective for Taneyev, he would often begin a piece with simpler texture so

that the text and mood could be understood.45 Some examples have already been

mentioned, such as the in Развалину башни, жилище орла [The Ruins of a Tower] (1911).

In Example 13 on page 80, the voices are in octaves in mm. 43–44. When the music

continues in polyphony at the pick-up to m. 46, the text that has already been heard in mm.

43–44 is then set in counterpoint. This technique is more prevalent in his later works,

especially in the compositions that include polyphonic sections. Russian scholar Savenko

rightly suggests that the text should be thought of as a whole, not as a part, and the mood of

an entire poem should be kept in mind, especially as the counterpoint becomes more

complex.46 The clarity of text at the onset aids in keeping the mood of the text through a

dense texture.

Rhythm, melody, and harmony change depending upon word painting, text meaning,

or the need for text clarity. Declamatory textures take on an increasing importance in

Taneyev’s later works, as they do in the works of Taneyev’s contemporaries Arensky and

Lhudmila Z. Korabelnikova, “Taneev o vospitanii kompozitora [Taneev on the Education of a
Composer],” in Sovetskaia muzyka 9 (1960): 92.
Savenko, 161.
Ibid., 157.

Viktor Kalinnikov.47 Taneyev uses unisons, octaves, and imitation to emphasize key words.

Important words sometimes coincide in different voices, such as the outer voices.48

When Taneyev was deciding on texts, he was drawn to poets such as Yakov

Polonsky (1819–1898), whose poetry was set to music by many Russian musicians, and

Konstantin Balmont (1867–1942), a Russian poet who, like Taneyev, was not in favor of the

Tsarist government. Polonsky’s texts were set in Taneyev’s large choral cycle, op. 27

(1911). Op. 35 (1914), a cycle of sixteen choruses for men’s voices, used the text of

Balmont. Other authors’ texts were set as well, including Fyodor Tyutchev (1803–1873) in

Восход солнца [Sunrise] op. 8 (1897), Из края в край [From Border to Border] op. 10

(1899), and Альпы [The Alps] op. 15, no. 2 (1900). A common theme for Tyutchev was the

interaction of humans with the cosmos and the larger universe,49 a concept in which

Taneyev was interested. Звезды [Stars], op. 15 no. 1 (1900), with text by Aleksei

Khomiakov (1804–60), also marries the idea of stars in the heavens with the larger concept

of thoughts, which float around the stars.

Taneyev often selected texts with collective language, or texts with the “we”

perspective. The Polonsky text of op. 27 uses “I” only once, in Прометей [Prometheus],

perhaps because the narrative is told from the main character’s perspective.50 Use of “I” is

often only found in solo songs, which some Russian scholars refer to as “romances.”51 The

Korabelnikova, Tvorchestvo S.I. Taneeva: istoriko-stilsticheskoe issledovanie, 210.
I. Grinchenko, “Genre of a Choral Miniature in Russian Music on the Boundary of the XIX-XXth
Centuries (on examples of S. Taneyev’s Twelve Choruses a cappella Op. 27,” in South-Russian Musical Anthology
12 (January 2013): 24.
Korabelnikova, Tvorchestvo S.I. Taneeva: istoriko-stilsticheskoe issledovanie, 200. Nights, op. 23, falls
into this category.
Ibi., 206.
Alexander Poznansky, The Tchaikovsky Handbook: A Guide to the Man and His Music (Bloomington:
Indiana University Press, 2002), 156.

first person plural references occur in На кораблe [On the Boat] and Молитва [Prayer] in

op. 27.

Imagery was important to Taneyev, and is common to his music. Nature imagery

abounds in op. 27. На могиле [Upon the Grave], no. 1, refers to grass, trees, and leaves that

overcome graves, and when the text speaks about the “вершиною густою [thick crown]”

of an oak tree, the melodic line swiftly and strongly ascends. Вечер [Evening], no. 2,

contains imagery of sunsets, skies, seas, forests, and rain. Also in Evening, staccato

articulation simulates drewdrops that are like pearls. Развалину башни, жилище орла

[The Ruins of the Tower], no. 3, includes text describing wind, rocks, and the ocean; the

introductory material can be seen in Example 12 on page 79. The music ascends in pitch

while the text describes the height of the gray cliff. There are also multiple works in op. 35

that contain nature imagery.

As mentioned in Chapter One, text setting was an important part of Taneyev’s lesson

plans. He suggested that the entire choir introduces text homophonically or, if it were set

polyphonically, in a way that allowed the words to be intelligible.52 This can be seen in his

own music. Taneyev often introduces text in unison, homophonic chordal blocks, or in the

opening thematic material before the addition of more complex counterpoint.

Conclusion: Summary and Future

Sergei Taneyev’s contributions to Russian secular choral music make him an

important figure in music history. He expanded the significance of Russian secular choral

music, and he was unique among his Russian contemporaries in his pervasive use of


counterpoint. Taneyev was also a teacher of many influential Russian musicians, and his

influence can be seen in their compositions. It is likely Taneyev’s frequent use of

counterpoint kept him from becoming well known outside of Russia, as it was not an exotic

sound or a new compositional technique in the West.

Before Taneyev began writing choral music, very few Russian secular choral works

existed. Most Russian choral works were written for Russian Orthodox liturgy, and when

secular choral ensembles began to form, they primarily sang opera choruses or works from

other countries. Taneyev composed Russian secular choral music for some of these

ensembles, producing well over fifty works, not including compositions for small ensemble

that he noted could be sung by a choir. As he matured as a composer, his works became

longer and more complex.

The most distinctive stylistic feature of Taneyev’s unaccompanied choral music is

his use of imitative counterpoint. He was an expert at composing a theme and crafting

motives from that theme, and often the points of imitation were used to develop a

composition. Taneyev’s choral music adds to the rich tradition of Russian choral music by

incorporating the creativity and structure of imitative counterpoint into that distinctly

Russian sound.

There is still much research to be done on Taneyev. While this paper briefly

discussed texts, additional scholarship is needed regarding the texts he set and the

treatment of them. Another approach to analyzing Taneyev’s choral music could be

through the lens of Taneyev’s two treatises, Convertible Counterpoint in the Strict Style and

Doctrine of the Canon. Additionally, further understanding of Taneyev’s compositional

lineage would be useful in determining the impact he had on Russian music as a teacher

and composer. Lastly, there is a need for the publication of editions that non-Russian

performers can use, including components such as pronunciation guides. The information

in this document offers a basis for future research, a foundation to create editions of

Taneyev’s secular choral works, and a stylistic guide for those wanting to program and

understand Taneyev’s choral music.

Sacred music comprises the majority of Russian choral works performed in the

West, but it does not present the whole picture. Knowledge of Taneyev’s secular choral

works and part songs adds significantly to the body of Russian secular choral works prior

to the Russian Revolution. Without a clear understanding of the Russian secular music

tradition, scholars and performers have a partial view of Russian choral music. A deeper

understanding of the Russian secular choral tradition and Taneyev’s position within it,

along with creation of quality editions, will contribute to a richer understanding of Russian

music history and allow for performance of Taneyev’s music outside Russia and throughout

the world.



Russian Title/English Title Voicing Publisher
Божe! будь милостив к нам /
God Be Mercificul Unto Us (Psalm 66) SATB Издательство "Музыка"1
Сосна /
The Pine SATB Издательство "Музыка"
Сeренада / Musica Russica (PS 040)
Serenade SATB Издательство "Музыка"
Венеция ночью /
Venice at Night SATB Издательство "Музыка"
Фуга на русские песен /
Fugue on a Russian Folksong N/A
Нидерландская фантазия на русскую тему /
Netherlandish Fantasia on a Russian Theme 12 vv Издательство "Музыка"
Хeрувимская / CPDL
Cherubim's Song SSATBB Издательство "Музыка"
Торжественный хор для прибытия гостей /
Ceremonial Chorus for the Arrival of Guests STBB N/A
Хора для мужских голосов /
Three Choruses for Male Voices Издательство "Музыка"
I. Венеция ночью /
Venice at Night Издательство "Музыка"
II. Ноктюрн /
Nocturne Издательство "Музыка"
III. Веселый час /
Happy Hour Издательство "Музыка"
Лeчь бы в кровати /
I Want to Lie in Bed SATB N/A
Ирмос /
Irmos (First Verse from the first hymn of IMSLP
Epiphany) TTBB Издательство "Музыка"
Шуточный хор-фугы /
Two Comic Fugues Издательство "Музыка"
I. Фонтан (Если у тебя есть) /
Fountain ABarB Издательство "Музыка"
II. Специалист подобен флюсу /
A Specialist is like a Gumboil ATB Издательство "Музыка"
Однажды к попадье /
Once to a Priest's Wife BBB N/A
Хора для мужских голосов /
Choruses for Male Voices Издательство "Музыка"


I. Ночь / IMSLP
Night TTBB Издательство "Музыка"
II. Песня короля Регнера / IMSLP
King Regner's Song TTBB Издательство "Музыка"
Фуга /
Fugue SATB N/A
Духовно-музыкальных сочинений /
Three Sacred Pieces N/A
Издательство "Музыка"
Моск. гос.
I. Хвалите имя Господнe / консерватории им. П. И.
Praise the Name of the Lord SATTB Чайковского2
Моск. гос.
II. Творяй ангeлы своя / консерватории им. П. И.
He Who Makes His Angels SATB Чайковского
Моск. гос.
III. Спасeния содeлал еси / консерватории им. П. И.
Thou Hast Brought Salvation SAATTB Чайковского
Мадригал /
Madrigal SAB N/A
Слава святым Кириллу и Мефодию /
Glory to Cyril and Methodius ? N/A
Сяду завтра я к окошeчку /
Tomorrow I Shall Sit by the Little Window 4 vv N/A
Сражeнный рыцарь / IMSLP
The Knight Struck Down BBBB Издательство "Музыка"
Эхо /
Echo SATBB Издательство "Музыка"
Шуточные каноны /
Three Comic Canons N/A
Musica Russica (PS 037)
Восход солнца / Издательство "Музыка"
Sunrise, op. 8 SSAATTBB M. Belyayev
Из края в край / double
From Border to Border, op. 10 chorus Издательство "Музыка"
Хора a cappella (2) /
Choruses, op. 15 Издательство "Музыка"
I. Звезды /
Stars SATB Издательство "Музыка"
II. Альпы /
The Alps SATB Издательство "Музыка"


Хора (2) /
Choruses SATBB N/A
I. Ты кгнчил жизни путь, герой /
You Have Finished Life's Journey SATBB N/A
II. Солнце Неспящих /
Son of the Sleepless SATBB N/A
Вечерная песня / Male
Evening Song chorus Издательство "Музыка"
Хоров /
Choruses (12), op. 27
Musica Russica (PS 020)
I. На могилe / IMSLP
On the Grave SATB Издательство "Музыка"
Musica Russica (PS 012)
Theodore Presser
II. Вeчeр / (312-41614)
Evening SATB Издательство "Музыка"
Musica Russica (PS 022)
Theodore Presser
III. Развалины башни / The Tower's Ruin SATB Издательство "Музыка"
Musica Russica (PS 002)
Theodore Presser
IV. Посмотри, какая мгла / (312-41616)
Behold, what Darkness SATB Издательство "Музыка"
V. На кораблe /
On the Boat SATTB Издательство "Музыка"
VI. Молитва /
Prayer SATTB Musica Russica (PS 028)
VII. Из вeчности музыка вдруг раздалась! /
Music Suddenly Sounded from Eternity SATTB Musica Russica (PS 029)
VIII. Промeтей /
Prometheus SATTB Издательство "Музыка"
IX. Увидал из-за тучи утес /
From Behind the Cloud I Saw a Rock SSATTB Издательство "Музыка"
X. Звезды / Musica Russica (PS 032)
Stars SSATTB Издательство "Музыка"
XI. По горам две хмурых тучи / SATB/
Two Sullen Clouds Among the Mountains SATB Издательство "Музыка"
XII. В дни, когда над сонным морeм / SATB/
On a Day When Over the Sunny Sea SATB Издательство "Музыка"
Хоры a cappella для мужских голосов /
Choruses for male voices, op. 35
I. Тишина /
Stillness TBB Издательство "Музыка"

II. Призраки /
Visions TTB Издательство "Музыка"
III. Сфинкс /
Sphinx TBB Издательство "Музыка"
IV. Заря /
Dawn TTB Издательство "Музыка"
V. Молитва /
Prayer 4 / 5 vv N/A
VI. В пространствах эфира /
In the Expanses of the Ether 4 / 5 vv N/A
VII. И сон и смeрть /
Both Sleep and Death 4 / 5 vv N/A
VIII. Нeбесная роса /
Dew of Heaven 4 / 5 vv N/A
IX. Мертвые корабли /
Dead Ships TTBB Издательство "Музыка"
X. Звуки прибоя /
Sounds of the Surf TTBB Издательство "Музыка"
XI. Морское дно /
The Sea Bed TTBB Издательство "Музыка"
XII. Морская песня /
Sea Song TTB/TBB Издательство "Музыка"

XIII. Тишина / Stillness 4 vv N/A

XIV. Гибeль /
The Wreck 4 vv N/A
XV. Бeлый лeбедь /
The White Swan 4 vv N/A
XVI. Лебeдь /
The Swan 4 vv N/A

Слава Н. Г. Рубинштейну /
Glory to N.G. Rubinstein N/A
Я памятник себе воздвиг нерукотворный /
I have Built Myself a Monument Издательство "Музыка"
По прочтении псалма / IMSLP
At the Reading of a Psalm, op. 36 Музыкалный Сектор3
Иоанн Дамаскин / P. Jurgenson
John of Damascus, op. 1 Издательство "Музыка"
Квартeт чиновников /
Civil Servants' Quartet N/A
Апофeоз художника / Male
Apotheosis of the Artist Chorus N/A



Chamber works that could be sung by choir:
Квартета a cappella: для смешанного хора /
Quartets for mixed chorus, op. 24 Издательсто "Музыка"
Монастырь на Казбеге / IMSLP
Monastary on the Kabek SSAT Издательсто "Музыка"
Адели (revised) /
To Adele SSAT N/A
Адели / IMSLP
To Adele BBBB Издательсто "Музыка"
Терцета (2) /
Terzettos BBB
I. Скромность /
Modesty BBB N/A
II. Разные вина /
Different Wines BBB N/A
Бтальянские песни (2) /
Italian Songs

I. Voca, Voca SATB, pf N/A

II. Addio, mia bella Napoli SAB, pf N/A

С озера веет прохлада и нега /
It Blows from the Lake SAT, pf N/A
Терцета (3) / Terzettos, op. 23 SAT, pf Издательсто "Музыка"
I. Сонет Микеланджело /
Sonnet of Michaelangelo Издательсто "Музыка"
II. Рим ночью /
Rome at Night Издательсто "Музыка"
III. Тихой ночью /
In the Silent Night Издательсто "Музыка"
Не остывшая от зноя /
Still Sweltering from the Heat SAT, pf Издательсто "Музыка"
С озера веет прохлада и нега /
It Blows from the Lake SAT, pf N/A
Терцета (2) /
Terzettos TbarB
I. О чем в тиши ночей таинственно мечтаю?
/ Of What do I Secretly Dream in the Quiet IMSLP
of the Night? TBB, pf Издательсто "Музыка"
II. Я в гроте ждал тебя / IMSLP
I Waited for You in the Grotto TBarB, pf Издательсто "Музыка"


Хвалите имя Господне SATTB N/A

Машистова SAATB Издательсто "Музыка"

Издательсто "Музыка"
Моск. гос.
консерватории им. П. И.
Свете Тихий SAATB Чайковского
Моск. гос.
консерватории им. П. И.
Благослови, луше моя, Господа SATB Чайковского
Моск. гос.
консерватории им. П. И.
Блажен муж SSATTB Чайковского
Моск. гос.
консерватории им. П. И.
Господи, возвах. Глас 1 SATB Чайковского
Моск. гос.
консерватории им. П. И.
Тропарь воскресный. Глас 1 TTBB Чайковского
Моск. гос.
консерватории им. П. И.
И ныне... Преблагословенна еси AATB Чайковского
Моск. гос.
консерватории им. П. И.
Взбранной Воеводе SAATTB Чайковского
Моск. гос.
консерватории им. П. И.
В память вечную SATB Чайковского
Моск. гос.
консерватории им. П. И.
Чашу спасения прииму SATB Чайковского
Моск. гос.
консерватории им. П. И.
Во Всю землю SATB Чайковского
Моск. гос.
консерватории им. П. И.
Спасение соделал еси SAATTB Чайковского
Моск. гос.
консерватории им. П. И.
Радуйтеся, праведнии SATB Чайковского
Моск. гос.
консерватории им. П. И.
Творяй ангeлы своя SATB Чайковского
Моск. гос.
консерватории им. П. И.
Ирмос 1-й песни каногна на Богоявление SATB Чайковского
И Ныне, И присно ? Издательсто "Музыка"4
Госполи, услышь молитве мою ? Издательсто "Музыка"

The last five titles were listed at the end of a collection as being printed in the second book of the
collection. I was unable to secure a copy of the second book in the collection, and therefore cannot verify the

Не скрывай лица Твоего от меня ? Издательсто "Музыка"
Славим Тебя, Боже ? Издательсто "Музыка"
Херувимская Киевского роспева ? Издательсто "Музыка"



Sergei Taneyev Choral Music Discography

Chistyakov, Andrey. Three Russian Cantatas. Choir of the Moscow Choral Academy
Orchestra. Russian Season, 1993.
[John of Damascus]

Creed, Marcus, conducted by. Russia. SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart. Hännsler Classic,
CD93.317, 2014.
[Stars, Above the Hills, On Days when on the Dreaming Sea- all from Opus 27]

Golovanov, Nikolai. Taneyev: Saint John of Damaskus Cantata. USSR State Radio Choir &
USSR Radio Symphony Orchestra. Music Online, 2007.
[John of Damascus]

Jurowski, Michail. Russian Choral and Orchestral Works. Rundfunkchor Berlin, Rundfunk-
Sinfonieorchester Berlin. Koch Schwann, 3-6553-2, 2002.
[John of Damascus]

Kaljuste, Tonu, conducted by. Twelve Choruses, Op. 27. Netherlands Chamber Choir. Globe,
[Opus 27]

Minin, Vladimir, conducted by. Russian Voices. Moscow State Chamber Choir. Deutsche
Grammophon, 00028947424123, 2003.
[From Border to Border, Evening, The Tower’s Ruin, Behold what Darkness, Prayer,
From Behind the Cloud I Saw a Rock]

Pletnev, Mikhail, conducted by. Rachmaninof: The Bells, Op. 35/ Taneyev: John of Damascus.
Moscow State Chamber Choir. Deutsche Grammophon, B00005AX5X, 2001.
[John of Damascus]

Pletnev, Mikhail, conducted by. Taneyev: At the Reading of a Psalm. Glinka Choral College
Boys’ Choir, Russian National Orchestra, St. Petersburg State Academic Capella
Choir. Pentatone, PTC5186038, 2004.
[At the Reading of a Psalm]

Sacred Treasures III: Choral Masterworks from Russia and Beyond. Various performers.
Hearts of Space, C062, 2000.

Sandler, Grigori, conducted by. Choral Music: P. Chesnokov, S. Taneyev. Leningrad TV and
Radio Chorus. CDK Music Classical, CDK0013, 2016.
[Evening, Serenade, On the Boat, Stars op. 15 no. 1, The Tower’s Ruin, Prometheus,
Adele, On the Grave, The Pine, The Alps op. 15 no. 2, Sunrise


Sanderling, Thomas, conducted by. Taneyev, S.I.: Suite de Concert/Ioann Damaskin [John of
Damascus]. Gnesin Academy Chorus, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra. Naxos Rights
International Ltd, 8.570527, 2009.
[John of Damascus]

Shepel, Oleg, conducted by. Sergey Taneyev, 12 Part Songs on Poems by Polonsky Opus 27.
Voronezh Chamber Choir. Etcetera, 1993.
[Opus 27]

Simpson, Robert, conducted by. Ravishingly Russian: 19th and 20th Century Russian Secular
Choral Music. Houston Chamber Choir. MSR Classics, B002AH97OG, 2009.
[The Ruins of the Tower; Evening; Behold, Shadows have Fallen]

Svetlanov, Evgeny, conducted by. Sergei Taneyev: At the Reading of a Psalm. A.A. Yurlov
State Repbulican Russian Choir Capella, USSR State Acadmic Symphony Orchestra.
Melodiya, 2011.
[ At the Reading of a Psalm]

Taneyev: Choruses for Men’s Voices. Valery Rybin Choir. Russian Season, 1993.


Triple Fugue


Subject 2

Answer 1- Real

Subject 3

Subject 1

Answer 3- Tonal

Incomplete Subject 1

Subject 3 false entry

Answer 2- Tonal

Subject 2

Subject 1

Modified Subject 2

Modified Subject 2

Subject 3 false entry

Subject 3 false entry

Subject 3 false entry

Subject 1 false entry Subject 3 false entry

Subject 1 false entry

Stretto based on
head of subject 3

Inverted False Entry Subject 1

Inverted False Entry Subject 1



Section A




Altered intervals

Altered interval

Second half of motive

Altered pitches

Inverted and altered intervals

Altered interval

Inverted partial motive

Altered intervals
Partial motive

Altered false entry

Altered intervals
Altered and inverted intervals

Altered interval

Altered intervals Altered and inverted intervals

False entry Inverted intervals

Altered pitches

Altered intervals

Original Altered pitches

Altered pitches

Altered interval

Altered pitches

Section B











Section A’


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