The Role of the Imperial Russian Musical Society in the Development of the Choral Culture of the Turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries

Irina P. Dabayeva


The article is devoted to disclosing the role of the Imperial Russian Musical Society (IRMS) in the apex of Russian
choral culture at the turn of the 19th and the 20th centuries. Attention of the researchers is directed for the most part
on comprehending the significance of the IRMS in organizing concerts of orchestral and chamber instrumental music,
whereas its participation in the advancement of the choral culture has remained for the most part unstudied. Unlike the
instrumental culture, which received substantial development in Russia in the 19th century, Russian choral performance
has had a centuries-old history and established traditions connected with church singing. In the process of evolution
of the activities of the Russian choruses, in the 19th a secular concert variety of it was formed. On the example of the
Court Church Singers’ Cappella, the author makes a study of the organization of concerts by the Philharmonic Society,
starting from 1802, as well as the founding of the Concert Society in 1850. Characterization is given of the programs
in which an immense role is played by large-scale compositions, as well as works by contemporary composers, and
thereby this determines the succession in the activities of the indicated societies and the IRMS. The merit of the IRMS
consists in its perfection of concert programs, the formation of the historical concert, its active advancement of musical
culture, not only in the metropolitan cities, but on the territory of the entire country, perfection of musical education,
and opening Music Colleges. Emphasis is made on the tendencies of development of choral art at the contemporary
stage connected with musical societies which continue the traditions of the IRMS.

Keywords: Russian Musical Society (RMS), choral culture, Russian sacred concerts, programs of choral concerts,
choral education.

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