Hrabanus [Rabanus, Rhabanus] (Magnentius) Maurus
(b Mainz, c780; d Winkel im Rheingau, 4 Feb 856). Frankish churchman and scholar. He was educated at Fulda, and at St Martin in Tours (when it was directed by Alcuin), and was ordained in 814. He became a teacher at Fulda, and abbot there in 822. In 842 he retired from the abbacy but was named archbishop of Mainz in 847, and served in this position, the most prestigious in the east Frankish church, until his death.
In his voluminous writings on theology, liturgy and philosophy Hrabanus occasionally referred to music. His remarks are often verbatim borrowings from such writers as Cassiodorus and Isidore of Seville. In his comments on liturgical music, Hrabanus was more concerned with the spirit in which music is performed than with the technical materials of music (of which he revealed little knowledge). Nevertheless, he taught that music, rather than a luxury, was an essential part of creation, and his establishment of a liberal arts curriculum at Fulda contributed to the movement that would culminate in the application of music theory to plainchant.
At one time Hrabanus was thought to have composed a number of hymns (see Szövérffy, p.222). The most famous of them is Veni Creator Spiritus, widely sung at Pentecost; but many scholars now believe that it was not his. Although Hrabanus showed some skill as a versifier, Manitius felt that he had not the slightest talent for poetry; indeed his importance as a scholar rests principally on his work of collecting, relating, organizing and accurately restating the contributions of others, and on his establishment of an educational tradition in the eastern portion of the Frankish empire. For this latter achievement he became known as ‘praeceptor Germaniae’.
M. Manitius: Geschichte der lateinischen Literatur des Mittelalters, i (Munich, 1911/R), 288–302
F. Raby: A History of Christian-Latin Poetry from the Beginnings to the Close of the Middle Ages (Oxford 1927, 2/1953), 179–83
J. Szövérffy: Die Annalen der lateinischen Hymnendichtung, i (Berlin, 1964), 220–27
A. Richenhagen: Studien zur Musikanschauung des Hrabanus Maurus (Regensburg, 1989)
RUTH STEINER/BRADLEY JON TUCKER
(b Kiev, 28 Jan 1935). Ukrainian composer. While an economics student at Kiev University (1951–6) he entered the conservatory there, studying composition with Lyatoshyns'ky and Revuts'ky. He graduated in 1959 and his diploma was secured with the Four Ukrainian Songs for chorus and orchestra (1959) which won first prize in an all-union competition, and about which Shostakovich wrote: ‘the Ukrainian Songs by Hrabovs'ky pleased me immensely … his arrangements attracted me by the freedom of treatment and good choral writing’. During the early 1960s Hrabovs'ky taught theory and composition at the Kiev Conservatory. It was in this period that he, together with Hodzyats'ky, Huba and Sil'vestrov, formed the so-called Kiev avant garde. These composers (later joined by Stankovych and Zahortsev), following the models of Stravinsky and Bartók, added the heritage of Schoenberg, the Polish postwar avant garde and other trends generated by post-serialism to cause a musical revolution in Ukraine. Of all of the Soviet composers who emerged on the international scene in the mid-1960s, Hrabovs'ky has gained the reputation of being the most adventurous, outrageous and, at the same time, most interested in formal experimentation which made liberal use of dissonant counterpoint, polytonal chordal complexes and polyrhythms. Although he began employing a neo-classical style tempered by a contemporary approach to ethnographic material, after completing two chamber operas (The Bear in 1963 and The Marriage Proposal in 1964) he broke with this style. Between 1962 and 1964 he had written a number of works that were bringing him closer to 12-tone aesthetics; at the same time he was studying not only the Second Viennese School but also the Polish avant garde, the ideas of Stockhausen and Xenakis, the music of Cage, Feldman, Lutosławski and Varèse. This gestation period resulted in a group of compositions written in 1964 in a phenomenal burst of activity. These compositions espoused the post-Webernian aphoristic manner alongside aleatory rhythms, spatial notation and exploitation of unusual timbres. Although many of these works were highly conceptual and appear skeletal on paper, they sound weighty and very colourful (even the Microstructures for solo oboe of 1964), in part because the gestures, although formally precise and ‘classically’ transparent, are so fitted that they result in a series of very long and complex lines that create a mood of spaciousness. The culmination of this stylistic stage was La mer (begun in 1964 but finished in 1970), in many ways Hrabovs'ky's most ambitious work of that period, which was first performed during the Gaudeamus Music Week in 1971. At about this time, with a cycle entitled Homoeomorphia I–III for piano (1968–9), Homoeomorphia IV for orchestra (1970) and A Little Chamber Music no.2 (1971), Hrabovs'ky began to develop a style that can be described as structural minimalism: this involved an algorithmic method of dealing with random numbers which reached full maturity in the Concerto misterioso for nine instruments of 1977. His music later began also to exhibit a complex synthesis of various styles. In 1981 he moved to Moscow, and in 1987 joined the editorial staff of the journal Sovetskaya muzïka. In 1990, at the invitation of the Ukrainian Music Society, He moved to the USA, where several performances of his works have taken place. He was composer-in-residence at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York (1990–94) and now lives in Brooklyn, working as a church organist.
Chbr ops: Medved' [The Bear] (after A.P. Chekhov), 1963; Predlozheniye [The Marriage Proposal] (after Chekhov), 1964
Vocal: 4 Ukrainian Songs, chorus, orch, 1959; From Japanese Haiku, T, pic, bn, xyl, 1964, rev. 1975; Pastels (P. Tychyna), S, vn, va, vc, db, 1964, rev. 1975; La mer (melodrama, after St John Perse), spkr, 2 choruses, org, orch, 1964–70; Epitaph for Rainer Maria Rilke, S, hp, cel, gui, chimes, 1965, rev. 1975; Marginalien zu Heissenbuettel (H. Heissenbuettel), spkr, 2 tpt, trbn, 1 perc, 1967, rev. 1975; Kogda [When] (introduction and 9 miniatures, V. Khlebnikov), Mez, cl, vn/va, perc, pf, str, 1987; Temnere mortem (cant., after H. Skovoroda), chbr chorus, 1991; Peredvistia svitla [Omen of Light] (6 poems, V. Barka), S, cl, vn, pf/synth, 1992; I bude tak [And it Will Be] (8 poems, M. Vorobyov), Mez, cl, vn, perc, pf/synth, 1993
Inst: Sonata, vn, 1959; 5 Character Pieces, pf, 1962; 4 Two-Pt Inventions, pf, 1962; Costanti [Constants], vn, 6 perc, 4 pf, 1964, rev. 1966; Microstructures, ob, 1964, rev. 1975; Trio, vn, db, pf, 1964, rev. 1975; 4 Inventions, chbr orch, 1965 [arr. of pf inventions]; A Little Chbr Music no.1, 15 str, 1966; Homoeomorphia I–II, pf, 1968; Homoeomorphia III, 2 pf, 1969; Vizerunky [Ornamentations], ob, va, hp/gui, 1969, rev. 1981; Homoeomorphia IV, orch, 1970; A Little Chbr Music no.2, ob, hp, 12 str, 1971; 2 Pieces, str, 1972; Bucolic Strophes, org, 1975; On St John's Eve, sym. legend, orch, 1976 [after N.V. Gogol]; Conc. misterioso, 9 insts, 1977; Concorsuono, hn, 1977; Homages, gui, 1981; Night Blues, gui, 1981; Für Elise zur Erinnerung [Keepsake for Elissa], pf, 1988; Hlas I, vc, 1990; Vorzel, sym. elegy, 3 orch groups, 1992; Hlas II, b cl, 1994
CC1 (G. McBurney)
V. Baley: ‘Die Avantgarde von Kiew: ein Retrospektive auf halbem Weg’, Melos/NZM, ii (1976), 185–92
V. Tsenova and V. Barsky, ed.: Muzïka s bïvshego SSSR [Music from the former USSR] (Moscow, 1994)