The Theme and Variation by Piotr Tchaikovsky: The Artistic Image and the Authorial Position

Vitaly A. Shuranov, Irma R. Levina


The article is devoted to the phenomenon of the authorial position in the structure of the content of the musical
composition. The idea behind the research is connected with the further development of the conception of Russian
musicologist Liudmila Kazantseva about the differentiation of the authorial stratum of the content of an art work into
the author-creator and the artistic author. The proposed term “authorial position” is understood as one of the most
important functions of the author-creator: it is the directing “point of view” embodied in the text, the intonationattitude.
Special attention towards the function of the authorial element is evoked by its determination to create the
general meaning. Literary studies have already mastered the conceptual meaning of the authorial position, which
structurally organizes the descriptive plane of a musical composition.
The analytical plane is presented by The Theme and Variations in F major (opus 19, No. 6) by Piotr Tchaikovsky,
where the action of the authorial attitude (position) is discovered in the specificity of the structure of the traditional
cycle of variations, a turn toward the baroque principle of variations in the interpretation of the lexical and genrerelated
material. It is emphasized that the variations cycle, which has established itself in the works of the Romanticist
composers as a succession of miniature pictures, is organized by the composer as an aggregative image of Russia,
conceived in the unity of the national and religious elements. The artistic action of the authorial position was revealed:
a) in the manifestation of the Russian realities of the second half of the 19th century through phenomena of artistic
culture (the world of the author); b) in the special means of structuring of the musical lexis in which the individual
angle of generalization of the genre stems not from the primary significations of genre, but already from those utilized
by the city academic culture. The principle of application of a genre as a given element (model) of culture would
subsequently spread widely in 20th century music.

Keywords: musical content, the author-creator, the authorial position, The Theme and Variations by Piotr
Tchaikovsky, musical image, the artistic world of music.

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