Taneyev, Sergey – Ioann Damaskin (St. John of Damascus). Cantata Op. 1 (1884)
(b. 13/25 November 1856 in Vladimir; d. 6/19 June 1915 at Dyudkovo, near Zvenigorod)
Adagio ma non troppo p.3
Andante sostenuto p.42
Fuga. Allegro p.47
Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915) presents an interesting case when it comes to his compositions based on texts inspired by religious themes, because he openly admitted about being an atheist and stated that sacred music failed to move him in any way. In recent years, Russian musicologists have tried to brand Taneyev as a deeply religious person, completely ignoring his personal diary entries, where he unequivocally stated his absence ofreligious faith. Lev Tolstoy even noted in his diary in 1889 Taneyev’s remark that Christianity is Catholic dogma and ritual, and ‘therefore stupid’. The composer thought that Greek outlook on the world was the most elevated-not surprising for a man who had never stopped admiring and continued to educate himself in antique literature, philosophy, and history. Taneyev was also the only Russian composer in the nineteenth century who completed an opera based on a Greek tragedy, Oresteia (1894). …
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