Serbian music criticism in the first half of the twentieth century: Its canon, its method and its educational role
Starija srpska muzička kritika - kanon, postupak, prosvetiteljska tendencija
AuthorsVasić, Aleksandar N.
Article (Published version)
MetadataShow full item record
Serbian music criticism became a subject of professional music critics at the beginning of the twentieth century, after being developed by music amateurs throughout the whole previous century. The Serbian Literary Magazine (1901- 1914, 1920-1941), the forum of the Serbian modernist writers in the early 1900s, had a crucial role in shaping the Serbian music criticism and essayistics of the modern era. The Serbian elite musicians wrote for the SLM and therefore it reflects the most important issues of the early twentieth century Serbian music. The SLM undertook the mission of educating its readers. The music culture of the Serbian public was only recently developed. The public needed an introduction into the most important features of the European music, as well as developing its own taste in music. This paper deals with two aspects of the music criticism in the SLM, in view of its educational role: the problem of virtuosity and the method used by music critics in this magazine. The aest...hetic canon of the SLM was marked by decisively negative attitude towards the virtuosity. Mainly concerned by educating the Serbian music public in the spirit of the highest music achievements in Europe, the music writers of the SLM criticized both domestic and foreign performers who favoured virtuosity over the 'essence' of music. Therefore, Niccolò Paganini, Franz Liszt, and even Peter Tchaikowsky with his Violin concerto became the subject of the magazine's criticism. However their attitude towards the interpreters with both musicality and virtuoso technique was always positive. That was evident in the writings on Jan Kubelík. This educational mission also had its effect on the structure of critique writings in the SLM. In their wish to inform the Serbian public on the European music (which they did very professionally), the critics gave much more information on biographies, bibliographies and style of the European composers, than they valued the interpretation itself. That was by far the weakest aspect of music criticism in the SLM. Although the music criticism in the SLM was professional and analytic one, it often used the literary style and sometimes even profane expressions in describing the artistic value and performance, more than it was necessary for the genre of music criticism. The music critics of the SLM set high aesthetic standards before the Serbian music public, and therefore the virtuosity was rejected by them. At the same time, these highly professional critics did not possess a certain level of introspection that would allow them to abstain from using sometimes empty and unconvincing phrases instead of exact formulations suitable for the professional music criticism. In that respect, music critics in the SLM did not match the standards they themselves set before both the performers and the public in Serbia.
U radu se analiziraju dva karakteristična problema/aspekta srpske muzičke kritike prve polovine XX veka: negativan odnos prema muzičkom virtuozitetu kao bitan elemenat estetičkog kanona starije srpske kritike, i problem postupka ondašnjih kritičara. Oba problema povezana su sa prosvetiteljskom tendencijom koja je obeležila stariju srpsku muzikografiju. Za uzorak je odabrana do sada neistraživana građa Srpskog književnog glasnika najznačajnijeg srpskog književnog časopisa između 1901. i 1941. godine.