Black snow by Michael Smetanin: an analysis: and original compositions

Jennifer O'Connor

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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Black Snow, an orchestral work composed by Michael Smetanin in 1987, was named after the book Black Snow by Mikhael Bulgakov. Newspaper articles, reviews and the literature researched, all comment on Smetanin’s style and on the influences that shaped that style. The aggressive and confrontational style of much of Smetanin’s music can be attributed partly to his love of rock music and jazz and partly to his mentor in the Netherlands, Louis Andriessen. The same sources quote other composers who also influenced Smetanin’s style. Three works in particular are named, that is, Trans by Stockhausen, Keqrops by Xenakis and De Tijd by Andriessen. It was decided, in the light of previous investigations into Smetanin’s music, to take one of these composers, namely Stockhausen and his work Trans, and discover how much Smetanin was influenced by this composer and this particular work. Trans was chosen because the similarities with Black Snow are less obvious. All aspects of Black Snow were examined - namely the harmony, rhythms, the important textures, serial/mathematical techniques, orchestration, the dramatic program, how the instruments are played - and then compared with Trans for similarities and differences. The results of the analytical investigation show that, while the internal organisation of the two works is very different, there are significant similarities between the two works in most of these areas. Serial/mathematical techniques could only be demonstrated in one area, and this is only conjecture.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2004


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