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Contents

Music in the Nineteenth Century

CRISIS

Chapter:
CHAPTER 12 Cutting Things Down to Size
Source:
MUSIC IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
Author(s):
Richard Taruskin

The complementary scene to the Coronation in Boris Godunov is the stark “Scene at St. Basil's Shrine” at the other end of the opera, in which Boris again confronts the crowd, but now a starving crowd that is no longer acclaiming him but cursing him and demanding bread. At the beginning of the scene they discuss the pretender's progress, and the anathema that is being pronounced on him inside the church on Red Square, where they have gathered. Then there is a bit of byplay for a group of boys tormenting a religious mendicant (called the yurodivïy, or Holy Fool), who croons a little song that degenerates into recitative as the accompanying harmony descends in a strange mudslide by semitones. The boys steal his penny. At this point Boris and his retinue come out of the church, and the yurodivïy confronts him, asking that he have the boys who vexed him killed, just like the tsarevich. When Boris has recoiled in horror and left the stage, the yurodivïy resumes his chaotic song, turning it into a lament for suffering Russia. The scene grinds to a baleful halt on an unprecedented unresolved dominant in the bass.

Citation (MLA):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 12 Cutting Things Down to Size." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. <http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-012004.xml>.
Citation (APA):
Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 12 Cutting Things Down to Size. In Oxford University Press, Music in the Nineteenth Century. New York, USA. Retrieved 21 Apr. 2014, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-012004.xml
Citation (Chicago):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 12 Cutting Things Down to Size." In Music in the Nineteenth Century, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 21 Apr. 2014, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-012004.xml
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