Problem of the 'national style' in the writing of Miloje Milojević
Problem nacionalnog stila u napisima Miloja Milojevića
AuthorsVasić, Aleksandar N.
Article (Published version)
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Dr. Miloje Milojević (1884-1946) was a central figure in Serbian music criticism and academic essays between the World Wars. A large part of his writings on music were dedicated to the issue of the Serbian 'national music style', its means of expression, and the question of modernity, i. e. to what extent modernity is desirable in the 'national style'. This paper analyzes some twenty articles - reviews, essays, and writings for special occasions - published by Milojević between 1912 and 1942 in various Serbian newspapers magazines and collections: Srpski književni glasnik (The Serbian Literary Magazine, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1923, 1924, 1935), Prosvetni glasnik (The Educational Herald, 1914, 1921, 1942), Politika (The Politics, 1921, 1922 1923, 1937, 1938, 1940, 1941), Muzika (The Music, twice in 1928) Spomenica-album Udruženja muzikanata Kraljevine Jugoslavije 1928-1930 (The Commemorative Volume - The Album of the Society of Musicians of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia 1928-1930, 1930), Smena (...The Change, 1938), and Slavenska muzika (The Slavonic Music, 1940). In the course of those thirty years Milojević passionately believed that the future of Serbian music lies in the 'national style', i.e. in the artistic transformation of anonymous Serbian folk songs and melodies. In spite of the changes of styles that occurred over the years, he never gave up anticipating the appearance of an ingenious composer who would develop the 'national style' to its climax and enrich Serbian music with 'national' symphonies, operas and chamber music. Milojević was in favour of a 'national style' mainly on principle. He rarely got into a discussion about the stylistic and technical means he considered most suitable for the 'national style'. In his text Naš muzičko umetnički program (Our music and artistic programme), published in the Serbian Literary Magazine in 1913, and another article, Za folklornu muziku (In favour of Folk Music), published in the Belgrade daily newspaper Politics in 1921, he recommended that Serbian 'national style' composers followed the model of some representatives of the European national schools of romanticism impressionism and moderately modern music. In a special kind of manifesto Za ideju umetnosti i umetničkog nacionalizma kod nas (In favour of the idea of art and artistic nationalism in Serbia), published in 1935 in the Serbian Literary Magazine, he gave an indirect answer to the question of which means of musical expression he preferred in the 'national style'. For example, he singled out the composition Sever duva (North Wind) by Kosta P. Manojlović (1890-1949), from his collection of choral songs Pesme zemlje Skenderbegove (The Songs from the Land of Skenderbeg, 1933), as an outstanding example of what he meant by 'national style'. This Albanian folk music was transformed into a relatively modern, but yet not avant-garde composition. Therein lies the answer as to what kind of 'national style' Milojević preferred. An advocate of a moderately modern music language, he wished Serbian art music to use its very rich folk heritage as best as it could. He was well aware that times had changed, and that there was not much inclination towards this style and ideology in the interwar period. However, he never abandoned this idea. Basically, he never accepted more radical, expressionist treatments of folk elements as a solution to the problems of 'national style'. It is also very significant that he never mentioned the name Béla Bartók in his writings, which is something we analyze in this paper. He was never able to give up romanticism, a style that never had time to fully develop in Serbian music. Serbian folk music was a perfect basis for composing in a romantic style. Nevertheless, due to many unfavourable circumstances in Serbian history, the Serbs became part of European music world only at the beginning of the 20th century, when it was too late to develop a modern romantic national style.
Problem srpskog nacionalnog muzičkog stila, njegovih izražajnih sredstava kao i stepena poželjnog moderniteta toga stila, obeležio je značajan deo muzikografije Miloja Milojevića (1884-1946), centralne ličnosti srpske muzičke kritike i esejistike u razdoblju između dva svetska rata. U radu se pristupa analizi Milojevićevih tekstova o muzičkom nacionalizmu i otkriva piščeva 'formula' nacionalnog stila.