Melodics in Osterc's Compositional Technique


  • Marijan Lipovšek



The creative as well as the pedagogic work of Slavko Osterc is quite certainly related to the big stylistic changes marking the music of the second half of the former and the first decades of the present century. Among these abrupt changes clearly belong Wagner's Tristan's chord, and Schönberg's dodecaphonic and subsequently serial system which has definitely established the atonal compositional technique. While Osterc's early compositions (12 lieder, not published until the year 1963) were not atonal, he demanded as lecturer at the Ljubljana Conservatory - that the material for the composition be from the atonal field. On the whole his style can be charasterized as a-thematic atonality with not infrequent recourse to pure tonal melodic sections. This applies also to the first compositions with which he appeared before the public. His lied, after the markedly contemporary text by the poet Mirko Pretnar "Sunshine in the Curtains", appeared in the first number of "Nova muzika" in 1928. The composition is constructed so that it is made up of the recitative and of instrumental interludes. But the tonal shaping of the recitative is not an atonal novelty; the interval progressions are clearly tonal. Their well-considered and in substance relevant selection, based on a stroke of musical imagination suited to the text, impart to the composition its power of expression. Also in his other, mostly vocal, compositions Osterc acted similarly and did not derive the type of melodic pattern from atonal material. In the present note the artistic quality of Osterc's melodic line is barely indicated; still it represents a shift-away from Romantic ideals and a move towards the Slovene musical "moderna" (modern period).


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How to Cite

Lipovšek, M. (1995). Melodics in Osterc’s Compositional Technique. Musicological Annual, 31(1), 43–46.