On Musical Poetics and Prose of Slavko Osterc


  • Katarina Bedina




The paper is aimed at analysing the dilemmas of compositional technique and aesthetics in Slavko Osterc, the non-conformist avant-garde figure of Slovene inter-war music, who always kept his own conception of new music abreast, or else in the very heart, of what was happening in the international trends. Characteristically, Osterc chose not to follow the dodecaphonic technique of Schoenberg but rather went on to develop his own extra-tonal and athematic attitude in following with the Hába school. This attitude, as he saw it, offered him more opportunities for the individualization of his own visions as a creator. On the whole, his work gives one the impression of Osterc having found some original solutions to the clash between the willed tone „shocks“ and the likewise willed compositionally clean style. In this sense, Osterc (being an expatriate, and a prominent and highly regarded personality of his days) constituted an integral figure of European historical avant-garde. Those influencing him most strongly were, besides Hába, Stravinsky and Hindemith. However, he did take a conscious step away from the two, making himself his own master, critic and promoter in the mature age of his short-lived creative period. He let himself be guided by his astonishingly concentrated creative energy as well as by his talent which manifested itself in a unique combination of aphorisms, satire, grotesque and irony mixed with both soft lyricism and robust humour. Often, these contrasts would find reflection in his music without any decided borderline given between poetry and prose; they can be perceived as a specific expression of poetical prose and/or prosaic poetry in their musical dimensions, which are by no means small.


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1. 12. 1989




How to Cite

Bedina, K. (1989). On Musical Poetics and Prose of Slavko Osterc. Musicological Annual, 25(1), 7-14. https://doi.org/10.4312/mz.25.1.7-14