Pahor's Pre-Compositional Correspondence Course with Slavko Osterc


  • Andrej Rijavec



The article discusses two of the three folders (Counterpoint and Fugue – I, Harmony – II, Composition – III) of the correspondence course – an unhabituated way of leaming one's trade as a composer in itself – that Karol Pahor took with Slovenia's leading inter-war modernist, Slavko Osterc. It covers the period from September 1932 to July 1934. With the support of this key source that has been unavailable to the public till now, it sheds light from as yet unseen angle not only on this remarkable case of private schooling and the process of maturing as a creative artist of Slovenia 's notable 20th-century composer Karol Pahor (1896–1974), but also, or even more, gives us a concrete insight into Osterc's work as a teacher which has so far been known almost invariably from more or less accurately written down and/or “popularized“ anecdotes that have long become part and parcel of the „music tradition“. Now it has been made possible to follow – week by week and lesson by lesson (amounting to a total of 57 plus 35 correspondence assignments and commentaries) – the systematism of Osterc's pre-compositional, theoretical instruction. This, in turn, gives us an insight into the subtleties of his teaching methods, his knowledge of contemporary theoretical literature, and opens new aspects of his views of art. What is even more important is the fact that some of Osterc's instructions as a teacher represent a major contributing factor to better knowledge of his compositional technique, i.e. the structure of his musical language and thought amidst the tonal, the atonal, and the dodecaphonic.


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How to Cite

Rijavec, A. (1989). Pahor’s Pre-Compositional Correspondence Course with Slavko Osterc. Musicological Annual, 25(1), 121–131.