Deciphering Flavio Pereira’s Reading of Dostoevsky after the The House of the Dead
This article provides a “dechiffrage” of the form, style, compositional techniques, and referential musical meanings employed by the Brazilian composer and pedagogue Flavio Santos Pereira in the composition of a seven-part suite entitled Reading of Dostoevsky, written in 2016 and based on the book The House of the Dead by Fyodor Dostoevsky. This chamber work is a premonitory work about the present pandemic time, which tests not only the human existential instincts and fears but also the spiritual, philosophical, and moral values upon which a mature and complete personality is built. The author manages to turn the economic structure of a dodecaphonic material into a source of polyphonic, polyrhythmic, stylistic, and timbre diversity. Oscillating and incremental textures, often reaching four-voice overlays, find their counterbalance in the asymmetric movements that synthesize complex subharmonic timbre combinations. The work can be classified as program music, as it employs characteristics of expressionist and impressionist styles mixed with free improvisatory polyphonic techniques. This paper also aims at inducing young performers to consider the paradigmatic model of “dechiffrage” for interpretation supported by stylistic and formal analysis based on classical and modern models. The article includes the full score of Reading of Dostoevsky by Flavio Santos Pereira.