Mysticism, Mathematics & Thimbles: the Cello Music of Sofia Gubaidulina

This fascinating composer has written extensively for the cello, often calling for extended-range techniques

Sofia Gubaidulina is a composer whose works cross oppositional boundaries. Half-Tatar, half-Russian, and the descendant both of Muslims and of Russian Orthodox Christians, Gubaidulina’s journey to maturity was divided between her two cultures. This perhaps explains the dichotomies in her compositions, where instruments of Western classical music oppose folk instruments, consonance opposes dissonance, and mathematical concepts such as the Fibonacci series and the Golden Ratio oppose the ethos of Christian mysticism.

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