The Characteristic Features of Vassily Titov’s Choral Music

Keywords: part counterpoint, choral concerto, Vassily Titov.


Among the Russian composers of the turn
of the 17th and 18th centuries a special position
is held by the sacred choral works of Vassily
Titov (ca. 1650 — ca. 1715), one of the bright
representatives of the polyphonic part singing,
in which the originality of the Russian Baroque
musical culture.
The music of Vassily Titov, an outstanding
master of choral writing, is diverse in terms
of its genres, it comprises nearly two hundred
compositions, many of which predominated
in the church music repertoire of Russian
churches during the course of the 18th century.
A study of Vassily Titov’s choral works has
made it possible to disclose the characteristic
features of the composer’s polyphonic style.
The latter include the multi-choral presentation
with its bright spatial effects, the antiphonic
juxtapositions of large choral masses,
the principles of concertizing based
on the succession of solo voices and tutti,
on the juxtaposition of the chordal-harmonic
and the polyphonic exposition, as well as
the skillful mastery of imitational counterpoint,
up to polyphonic variation. Features of national
originality reveal themselves most vividly
in the musical thematicism of the compositions,
where along with the ornamental design
of the intertwining melodic lines and turns of
an instrumental type, use is made of intonations
of folk songs, cants and church chants.
In his musical oeuvres Vassily Titov revised
and reevaluated the basic characteristic traits
and forms of Western European Baroque music
in correspondence with the particularities
of Russian musical culture, thereby preserving
and enriching the traditions of the Russian
national style.

Baroque Art: Motion in Time