Transcultural Representation of Circassian Music in Mily Balakirev's Islamey by Anastassia Grankina

Transcultural Representation of Circassian Music in Mily Balakirev's Islamey: Oriental Fantasy (1869)

Université d'Ottawa / University of Ottawa, 2015.

Thesis (MA)--Université d'Ottawa / University of Ottawa, 2015

This thesis examines the context in which the Russian composer, M. Balakirev, used folk idioms to create a representation of Circassian musical culture in Islamey: Oriental Fantasy. It was composed for piano in 1869 after Balakirev's trip to the Caucasus during its colonization by the Russian Empire and it is an interesting example of a musical representation of the "Oriental." Based on Edward Said's theory of the Orientalism, this thesis examines the construction of Circassian stereotype as Russia's "Other". It presents the complex historical relations between Russians and Circassians and discusses evidence for treating Islamey as an example of an Orientalist Other, taken from several authors, including Balakirev himself. Ultimately, this thesis describes Balakirev's representation of Circassian culture and proposes reasons for his appropriation of folk music. It concludes by outlining the benefits of cultural exchanges between the Russian and Circassian nations that took place over the last century.

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