Pavel Florensky: “Space and Time”, and Avet Terteryan’s Art

Irina Kostenich
Pavel Florensky: “Space and Time”, and Avet Terteryan’s Art

The 20th century has left a number of outstanding discoveries in the sphere of art; many of them haven’t been completely comprehended yet. It is interesting to observe, how the two outstanding sons of the Armenian nation – Pavel Florensky and Avet Terteryan, have realized their ideas about the innovations, introduced into the art by the reality of the 20th century. Both of them have anticipated a new comprehension of the artistic creation bases.

Pavel Florensky’s, as well as Avet Terteryan’s heritage is too profound and ample to be fully studied. In the given context, only two categories of the 20th century music are taken into consideration: space and time. Both Terteryan’s creation and Florensky’s doctrine are focused on these categories.

According to Florensky’s philosophical outlook, one can say that Terteryan’s music is on the top of the creative thought, as it is predominantly webbed of controversies opposed to the prevalent traditions. Avet Terteryan has undergone a thorny way from the classical-romantic musical forms to the decisive turn to the new art in his Fourth Symphony. The latter carries a sound system comprising half-tone scales, clearing the way to the use of quarter-tones and the free carillon music… In the next symphonies – from the Fifth to the Eighth, the listeners discover another time and space.

Terteryan’s innovative thought has permitted him to combine substances, seeming to be non-compatible and absolutely controversial – the instruments of the traditional European symphony orchestra together with rare instruments, as well as techniques of the ancient Eastern cultures. Florensky has argued in his works with the scientific ideas of the 18-19th centuries, concerning the irreversibility of time. He doesn’t separate the category of time from that of space. According to the famous French ethnologist Levi-Strauss, …music is a time destruction instrument.

Terteryan’s fantastic creative energy, concentrated in the Fourth Symphony, give us the ground to say that this music is directed to …break into infinity, perceiving the mystery of time… (M.Rukhkyan).

In each of Terteryan’s late symphonies, an invisible transition from sphere to sphere takes place – a phenomenon Florensky has defined as a transition through the edge of worlds.