Avet Terteryan’s Symphonic Art and the Philosophy of the 20th Century Music

Sergey Sigitov
Avet Terteryan’s Symphonic Art and the Philosophy of the 20th Century Music

A.Terteryan belongs to the second half of the 20th century by his language, style and artistic figurativeness. His contemporaries are: Alfred Schnittke, Edison Denisov, Sofia Gubaidulina, Sergey Slonimsky, Boris Tischenko (Russia), György Ligeti (Hungary-Austria), Pierre Boulez (France), Karlheinz Stockhausen (Germany), Yannis Xenakis (Greece), John Cage (USA). While investigating Terteryan’s music, it is striking to observe the coincidence of his creations‘ innovation with the prevision of the 20th century Western European and Russian music philosophers.

First of all, it is necessary to underline the everlasting ties between music and philosophy. The author finds that Martin Heidegger’s and Pavel Florensky’s musical-philosophical overviews are the most congenial to Terteryan’s creative mindset (Heidegger’s „Time and Existence“; the experience of Florensky’s orthodox theodicy).

In Terteryan’s compositions, a solo instrument stands for a sublime inner world; its sound carries the genetic memory of many generations. The sound of such an instrument implies the magical power of a centuries-old energy, reviving the genetic memory. The sound contemplation of time and space changes radically. The world contemplation changes as well. The second edition of the opera „Fire Ring“ is the edge line.

In the symphony genre, the Fourth Symphony has become such an edge. The „eastern“ comprehension of the creation permeated with mythological symbolism is incarnated there for the first time. This is neither Wagner, nor Mahler. This is something coming from the deep „eastern“ roots.

Neither Wagner nor Mahler would be able to say as Terteryan said: „The creation is an exceptional gift, the reflection of a pretersensual world. It is an immersion into a state where the individuality possessing the gift to accept sounds starts to hear the inaudible – vibrations of the Earth and the Universe“. That’s where the powerful rhythm and the melos of Terteryan’s music comes from.

Terteryan’s latest symphonies (V-VIII) are remarkable for the search of synthesis of the „Western“ in the East and the „Eastern“ in the West. His symphonies contain the majestic epos of our time, expressed with the ascending half- and quarter-tone tragedy (as in the opera „Earthquake“).