Marta Andriasova

From Her Book “Essays on the Music of Iosif Andriasov”

“In 1969, Iosif Andriasov composed the Passacaglia for Trombone and Piano in C minor. It was published by the “Muzyka” International Publishing House in 1973 (Moscow, USSR). In 1971, I. Andriasov borrowed, from himself, the music of the Passacaglia for his Second Symphony. In 1973, Mr. Andriasov made a version of the Passacaglia: Passacaglia for Trumpet, Trombone, and String Orchestra.

Iosif Andriasov employs the genre of passacaglia, which was revived in the XX century. Passacaglia is a slow Spanish or Italian dance in 3/4 time. It is also a musical form of the 17th and 18th centuries that is continuous variations on basso ostinato (ground bass) or chordal progression. In his composition, Mr. Andriasov fused the traditions of Western and Eastern (Armenian) music, as well as the traits of an epic, lyrical, and dramatic musical art.

The Passacaglia is written in the tonal system, but the tonality is treated in a wide meaning of the word, as a 12-note chromatic tonality. Mr. Andriasov introduced unusual elements for the traditional genre of the passacaglia: “piquant falsities” (words of Sergei Prokofiev) and the addition of seconds and fourths in the chordal structure. In the early 1970s, Iosif Andriasov gave the following characteristics to this theme: “The first half of the majestic theme of the Passacaglia is formed from asceticism, rigor, expressiveness, firmness, power, nobleness, and forgiveness. The second half of the theme: strength is in courage, strength is in humbleness, strength is in sacrifice; then – the narration about the victory; strength is in kindness, strength is in calmness.” The Passacaglia is based upon two groups of intonations: lyrical and dramatic.”