Soul Songs of Peasant Girl, for female vocal trio (SMsA), on Alexey Koltsov’s lyrics


  1. Так и рвётся душа / The soul is so breaking away (A-flat major. Andante ma non troppo)
  2. Я любила его / I loved him (G major. Adagio)
  3. Люди добрые, скажите / Tell me, oh good people (G minor. Larghetto con dolore)
  4. Я затеплю свечу / I will light a candle (B minor. Allegretto furioso)
  5. Песнь русалки / Mermaid’s song (B major. Andante soprannaturale)


Title Soul Songs of Peasant Girl (Задушевные песни молодой крестьянки)

Date of composing 2016 (1, 2, 4, 5); 2018 (3)

Genre song cycle for female trio (soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto) a cappella

Language Russian (English text provided)

Style ethnic, Russian, romantic, neo-romantic

Duration [2’06”] [2’53”] [2’49”] [2’27”] [2’55”]

Level of difficulty intermediate to advanced

Copyrights music: © 2016-2018 Natalia Pispini; lyrics: Alexey Koltsov’s poems from public domain


Ideas and Poetic Texts

A young provincial girl lives through dreaming about true love, meeting real love, failure, disappointment, and finally finishes her life as a mermaid.

5 different poems by Alexey Koltsov have been chosen for this cycle, representing themes which are very typical for the Russian folk poetry.

Alexey Koltsov (1809-1842) was a self-taught Russian poet of the Early Romantic period.


 Portrait of A.V. Koltsov by A.K. Gorbunov, 1838

The main original source about A. Koltsov’s life and poems is the essay written by V. Belinsky in 1846. (see here).

(Look at the Russian texts, Latin transliteration and English translation of the songs from ‘Soul Songs of Peasant Girl’ here.)

Music structure

While composing the songs, I used some features of the folk songs collected on the river Don and published in 1949-1954 in the famous series ‘Songs of the Don Kazaks’ by A.M. Listopadov. Certain elements of folk music harmony, melody, texture and structure had been borrowed from there.

Each song refers to various stages of developing the main theme, has its own sentiment and resembles different Russian genres. Thus, No.1 is very close to an ordinary peasant lyrical song; No.2 uses intonations of urban early ‘romance’ (type of Russian art song); No.3 is also connected to romance but enriched by polyphonic and polytonal effects; No.4 partially returns to the peasant motives especially those of the calendar ritual songs; in No.5, because of its theme of mermaid’s transformation, much favorable in Russian classical music of 19th century, there are references to the Russian romantic opera style. All songs are composed in tonality, pure, extended or poly-. The different kinds of strophic form (1, 3, 5) or ternary form (2, 4) have been applied.

Performance notes

There are few cases of special technique of voice glissando in the end of phrases (imitating the folk singing) in No.2.

The vocal ranges are the following:

Soprano: Ab4 – Ab5 (1); D4 – B5 (2); C#4 – G#5 (3); Eb4 – A5 (4); F4 – Ab2 (5)

Mezzo-soprano: Db4 – Db5 (1); Bb3 – C5 (2); B3 – E5 (3); C#4 – Eb5 (4); C#4 – D#5 (5)

Alto: Ab3 – Ab4 (1); F3 – F#4 (2); F#3 – Bb4 (3); G3 – G4 (4); G3 – B4 (5).

Although meant to be sung as a whole cycle, the songs may have separated performance.


Look at the score samples   No.1   No.2   No.3   No.4   No.5

! This work may be performed. For your inquiry please contact Natalia. In your message, kindly provide some information  (brief introduction, collective’s title, website, contact details). The score, parts and all necessary material will be sent to you within a week.