Я стремлюсь к роскошной воле / I seek for the splendid vast, choral song on Alexander Block’s poem

 

From : Two choral songs on Alexander Blok’s poems

Date of composing March 2016

Genre choral songs for mixed SATTB chorus a cappella

Language Russian

Style Romantic

Duration [2’09”]

Level of difficulty intermediate to advanced

Dedication to Nina A. Zharkova

Copyrights music: © 2016 Natalia Pispini; lyrics: Alexander Block’s poems from public domain

Idea and musical structure

D major. Largo. Notwithstanding the poem’s romanticism, I wanted to create music of calm and almost epic, objective character, oriented toward the early Russian choral manner. Slow motion, syllabic texture and regular rhythm of the lines through the whole composition are working for this stylization. The piece has ABA1 form. The harmonies are simple but colored by additional dissonant tones. The ranges are: soprano – C-sharp4 – G5, alto – B3 – A4, tenor I – B3 – E4, tenor II – E3 – A-sharp4, bass –  A2 – D3. (Originally, the song was composed in C major, i.e. in lower range, complying with the Russian choral style.)

Lyrics

Russian text

 [Там один и был цветок,

Ароматный, несравненный

Жуковский]*

Я стремлюсь к роскошной воле,

Мчусь к прекрасной стороне,

Где в широком чистом поле

Хорошо, как в чудном сне.

Там цветут и клевер пышный,

И невинный василек,

Вечно шелест легкий слышно:

Колос клонит… Путь далек!

Есть одно лишь в океане,

Клонит лишь одно траву…

Ты не видишь там, в тумане,

Я увидел – и сорву!

English transliteration

Ya stremlyus’ k roskoshnoy vole,

Mchus’ k prekrasnoy storone,

Gde v shirokom chistom pole

Khorosho, kak v chudnom sne.

Tam tsvetut i klever pyshnyy,

I nevinnyy vasilyok,

Vechno shelest lyogkiy slyshno:

Kolos klonit… Put’ dalyok!

Yest’ odno lish’ v okeane,

Klonit lish’ odno travu…

Ty ne vidish’ tam v tumane,

Ya uvidel – I sorvu!

English translation

[There was only one flower,

Aromatic, nonpareil

Zhukovsky]*

I seek for the splendid vast,

I rush to the beautiful land,

Where, in a wide smooth meadow,

It’s as good as in a dream.

They’re blooming there: a pompous clover

And an innocent cornflower,

Forever, a rustle’s slightly heard:

The ears are bending… The path is long!

There is only one thing in the ocean,

Only one that bends the grass…

You don’t see it there, in the mist,

I’ve seen, and I’ll pick it up!

* The original poem has an epigraph taken from Russian poet V.A. Zhukovsky (displayed for informative purposes only).

Performance notes.

1.The piece has a maestoso manner. It goes with the same mood and tempo from the beginning to the end. 2. It is meant for performance without any audible breathing breaks (i.e., the non-simultaneous breaths applied) except of the self-evident pauses at the end of composition. Otherwise, the very short breaths are possible at the end of the phrases. 3. The tenor part is constantly divisi to create additional harmonic colors, and should be treated with care in order not to dominate over other voices. 4. The bass part is better to sing by deep profundo-like voices.

 

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Two choral songs on Alexander Blok’s poems

Two_choral_songs

  1. Я стремлюсь к роскошной воле / I seek for the splendid vast. D major. Largo
  2. После дождя / After the rain. In A. Andante

 

Date of composing March 2016

Genre choral songs for mixed SATTB / SATB chorus a cappella

Language Russian

Style Romantic, Neo-Romantic

Duration [2’09”], [2’00”]

Level of difficulty intermediate to advanced; advanced

Dedication to Nina A. Zharkova

Copyrights music: © 2016 Natalia Pispini; lyrics: Alexander Block’s poems from public domain

I am glad to introduce another choral works bringing further exploration of the harmonic and textural possibilities of the Romantic music style. It is my second opus (after the cycle on Walt Whitman’s lyrics) composed for mixed a cappella chorus.

The choice was made for two early poems by Russian symbolist poet Alexander Blok (1880-1921), written in 1898-1899. These poems are not so peculiar to the famous symbolist style of Blok; they rather reflect views of a young, daydreaming and romantic personality, with ardent and idealistic attitude to the world around. The poems reveal admiration for the nature but there is also veiled parallelism to the psychological plane of human existence. These early poems by Blok truly bear a resemblance to the works of another Russian Romantic poetry master, Fyodor Tyutchev.

The songs are dedicated to Nina A. Zharkova, my first teacher of music.

For the Russian lyrics, I provide my own literal English translation (and the transliteration can be checked at the links below).

No.1. Я стремлюсь к роскошной воле / Ya stremlyus’ k roskoshnoy vole / I seek for the splendid vast

Russian text

Я стремлюсь к роскошной воле,

Мчусь к прекрасной стороне,

Где в широком чистом поле

Хорошо, как в чудном сне.

Там цветут и клевер пышный,

И невинный василек,

Вечно шелест легкий слышно:

Колос клонит… Путь далек!

Есть одно лишь в океане,

Клонит лишь одно траву…

Ты не видишь там, в тумане,

Я увидел – и сорву!

 

English translation

I seek for the splendid vast,

I rush to the beautiful land,

Where, in a wide smooth meadow,

It’s as good as in a dream.

They’re blooming there: a pompous clover

And an innocent cornflower,

Forever, a rustle’s slightly heard:

The ears are bending… The path is long!

There is only one thing in the ocean,

Only one that bends the grass…

You don’t see it there, in the mist,

I’ve seen, and I’ll pick it up!

 

No.2. После дождя / After the rain

Russian text

Сирени бледные дождем к земле прибиты…

Замолкла песня соловья;

Немолчно говор слышится сердитый

Разлитого ручья…

 

Природа ждет лучей обетованных:

Цветы поднимут влажный лик,

И вновь в моих садах благоуханных

Раздастся птичий крик…

 

English translation

The pale lilacs are nailed to the ground by rain…

The nightingale’s song has fallen silent;

Incessantly, a grumpy murmur is heard

Out of the flooded stream …

 

The nature’s waiting for the promised rays:

The flowers will raise their moist faces,

And again, in my fragrant gardens,

The bird calls will resound…

 

The works are independent from each other and do not constitute a cycle. Both choruses are quite slow (1 – Largo, 2 – Andante) and require long breathing technique. Look at the descriptions of each chorus at the links below.

Я стремлюсь к роскошной воле / I seek for the splendid vast

После дождя / After the rain