During the last decade of the 20th century many important anniversaries of the Macedonian professional music creative work are taking place: 100 years from the printing of St. Jovan Zlatoust’s Liturgy, the capital work of the first Macedonian composer A. Badev; 60 years from the creation of the “pearls” of our choral music – the first three songs “Kumanovki” by T. Prokopiev; 50 years from the creation of the strong “Macedonian Reel” for mixed choir by T. Skalovski and the pioneer symphonic Scherzo by T. Karapanicev; 40 years from the first Macedonian opera “Goce” and first symphonic poem “Dancer” by K. Makedonski, the first ballets “Macedonian history” by G. Smokvarski and “Labin and Doyrana” by T. Prokopiev and from the first Macedonian instrumental concert work for piano and expressionistic “By the roads” and the monumental musical epic “Serdarot” by V. Nikolovski on the words of G. Prlicev and a number of the other jubilees. During the period of the creation of the first works in all genres and until the contemporary period, many composers from several generations have created original works from various genres and styles which have already passed the severe examination of the time in the domestic and the world music society. The moment has come when the line of summing and evaluation of the century long, professional, Macedonian composer’s work, has to be drawn, summing which has to give an answer to many basic questions:
– Are there elements of unity in the works of the Macedonian composers from all generations?
– Is it possible to group the individual works according to one or another sign?
– Which is the degree of unity in the use of composing means of expression on one side, and the degree of uniqueness, separation on the other side?
– Which is the relation between the traditional and the new in the different levels of the maturation of the composers?
– Do we have composition schools?
– Can we talk about the existence of a Macedonian composition school?
Having on mind the attitude of the Russian musicologist M.Mihailov whose capital works come from the field of the music style, and who considers that every artist who has been formed in the atmosphere of his national culture in the given historical conditions which make his works, it is inevitable to note in his works (and accordingly in his individual style) some signs of his national belonging1F, the answer to the last question is undoubtedly YES. The work of any big artist (composer), if organically connected with the life, ideas, interests, requests, the spiritual atmosphere of his country and time, cannot but reveal in one or another form the national belonging2F, writes Mihailov.
The solution of this fundamental question would mean revelation of another level of the Macedonian culture as a whole, level –attribute of the selfexistence of the nation. Nevertheless, as a rule the music science has terminological difficulties and alike. Even if we put aside the natural, significant delay of the theory opposed to the practice, caused by the inevitability of a historic distance to clarify the events and the appearances there are many reasons for this.
The listing of the reasons would probably start with the multiplication of the meaning of the term “composition school” and especially with the term “national Composition School”. In the basic musicological communication, their use is often blurred by the unclarity of the term that always needs a new definition. Staying aside from the interpretation of the term, for which bigger space will be needed, we would note that it is usually understood that Compostion school is a unity of deal and esthetical positions of many authors – followers of writing, esthetical, pedagogical norms of a famous master (schools of Balakiriev, Korsakov, Frank, Schenberg) of the traditions of the given music center (Mannheim, Vienna, Petersburg), school of national traditions (German, Russian, Polish national composer).3F
These levels of the term differ according to the number of the united composers and work, and according to the historical endurance. Hence, the national Compostion school quantitatively and lastingly is the most general category composed by the school of the national cultural centers which themselves can be analyzed into school of given authors. But, this of course, does not mean that the influence of every famous figure automatically becomes a “school.”4F On the contrary, it comes out from conditions of pedagogical activity, which not always leads to creation of a school, although noticeable individual styles appear as bases for given style directions.
In the Macedonian music, conditions for appearance of Composition School from this kind have been created with the opening of the High Music School, today School of Music in Skopje. The creative writers, composers, the long pedagogical activity an the significant number of almost renowned-ex students from the class of V. Nikolovski, T. Zografski, T. Proshev, give a solid base for recognition of three different composing schools: the neofolkoristic of Nikolovski, neoclassical of Zografski, experimental of Proshev. The writing, esthetical, pedagogical norms of these authors, more or less are included in the individual works of the following generations Macedonian composers mastered in their class in the School of Music in Skopje: B. Canev, T. Manchev, D. Buzarovski, the author of these lines, J. Anreevska, M. Spasov … The influence of the work and the esthetical principles of Nikolovski, at its time has found its expression in the older generation, also – M. Nikolovksi, S. Golabovski, S. Stojkov, S. Toshevski and especially R. Avramovski, composers who have achieved the composing musical education in the class of composition on the Schools of Music of Ex-Yugoslavia, but have made the first steps under the eye of the mastered pedagogue.
It is sad but true that Skopje still remains the only cultural music center in Macedonia in which the whole Macedonian composing and the biggest part of the concert activity has been concentrated. Starting from the “Skopje music school” the name that has been previously given to the Macedonian composers on the national music manifestations in Ex-Yugoslavia, is Macedonia composition school at the same time.
The thing that makes it unique among the other Yugoslav school is the connection with the Macedonian folklore, Macedonian professional spiritual music, and the national theme. Then, why today, in the domestic music circles there are some doubts about the existence of the Macedonian Composition School, about the national in the professional Macedonian composition?
There are many answers, but the basic ones are:
– Because the Macedonian works don’t sound often and do not have enough quality (especially symphonic and scene) to be evaluated and adopted by the interpretations, by the music critics and by the wide cultural audience;
– Because the music scores, even of those which by its quality have achieved a place in the Macedonian music inheritance, are being printed incidentally (in that sense Macedonian composers association this year published six complete works of piano music after a whole decade of printing music scores!);
– Because monographs and analytical studies of professional music work from the field of stylistics are missing, which would make the statistical summing of the results possible, it is inevitable that the result is familiar to those who are evaluating.
Another factor that also prolongs the promoting of the consciousness about the national composition school is the widely spread opinion among the wide music and cultural circles, according to which the most remarkable sign of the national rule in the music is its direct link with the folklore.
Considering this opinion, the already mentioned M. Mihailov is right when he says that the basic and relatively noticeable sigh of the national composition school is its connection with the folklore sources. Without any doubt, it is one of the most basic forms of expressing of the national principle in the music. However, it is not constant and only inevitable factor in stating of the belonging of the music phenomenon appearance to a given national culture. The non-existence of great composers from the past is often misinterpreted as non-existence of national principle in their works. About the absurdity of this attitude, the music of Tchaikovsky is a proof enough, to which Stasov has denied the national character at a time, thinking that the village tradition is missing. The case with the middle and the late period of the works of Skrjabin is more drastic, in which the connection with the national music can be almost sensed “by ear” (although it does not mean that it does not exist!). The fact that today the Russian principle in the music of this master is not denied by anybody, proves that above the folk sources, another essential but not rarely forgotten factor of the national belonging in the music is the connection with the national professional works.5F This is especially popular today. When the folk practice is realized in rare, extinct cultural reserves, when the contacts with it are a result of many accidental lucky circumstances, when the only possible communication with it is by mediators: songs in the complete works or the individual works of the composers who have been in close contact with the folk sources. In the Macedonian music literature, the contact with the folklore by a mediator– a work from the professional creative work– we can find, for exp. In the citation of the folk song “Dimitrije drinks wine” in the string quartet of M. Nikolovski and the Concert for orchestra by the author of these lines for whom the sound of this song is closely connected with the “Kumanovka III” by T. Prokopiev – a work in which the song has been cited for the first time. For this connection sweetly talks the fact that, the Quartet is dedicated to the memory of Prokopiev.
1. Mihailov M. Stil v muzike. Leningrad 1981 p. 226
3. Look at Mihailov M.
4. Mihailov M. Stil v muzike. Leningrad 1981, p. 215
5. ibid p. 227