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Songs and dances of death : for bass and chamber orchestra, 1875-1877 / 1994 / orch.: Theo Verbey, text: A.A. Golenistjev-Koutousov, Modest Moussorgsky

Publisher: Amsterdam: Donemus, 1997
Publisher's number: 09887
Genre: Vocal music
Subgenre: Voice and orchestra
Scoring: bas 2perc pf str(
Remarks: Oorspr. titel: Pesni i pljaski smerti. - Oorspr. voor lage stem en piano. - Russische tekst. - In opdracht van Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam. - Met financiële steun van het Nestlé Compositiefonds. - Jaar van bew. 1989-1994. - Cop. 1996. - Tijdsduur: ca. 20'
Duration: 20'00"
Year of composition: 1994
Status: fully digitized (real-time delivery)

Other authors:
Goleniscev-Kutuzov, Arsenij (librettist)
Musorgskij, Modest (composer)
Verbey, Theo (orchestrator)
Kolïbel'naya (Lullaby)
Serenada (Serenade)
Polkovodets (The field-marshall)
Program note (English): (Première: 19-2-1996 - Concertgebouw, Amsterdam - Nikita Storozjev, bass - Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Lev Markiz, conducting) - Songs and dancing of death is a cycle of four songs for low voice and piano on texts by Prince Golenistsjev-Koetoesov, of Moussorgsky's friends. The score was first published in 1882, by Bessel. The first three songs were written in the spring of 1875, the last song materialized in 1877. The lullaby is a dialogue between death and a mother, taking place above the cradle of her dying child at dawn. The mother fights for her child's life, but death rocks the child into an eternal sleep. The poem is in atmosphere and content strongly related to the Erlkönig of Goethe, Franz Schubert's ballad. The second song, Serenade sketches how a sick woman is unable to sleep in the spring night. Under her window death brings a serenade, in which he sings of the woman's beauty awaiting the eternal embrace. The third song tells of a drunken farmer who has stumbled
in the obscurity of a snow storm. In Death dances the Trepak with the farmer and sings in his ear: he invites the farmer to death. In the General Moussorgsky has used an existing theme from a Polish revolutionary march. After the battle night falls, and death appears as the supreme general. He orders the fallen soldiers to join his army. One nevertheless will forget why and for what reason the soldiers have fought and death himself will be the only victor. Initially Moussorgsky planned to orchestrate this cycle himself, but it never happened.. After his death both Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov made arrangements for voice and large orchestra. My instrumentation for voice and chamber orchestra is, at the request of Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, nearly the same as 14th Symphony by Shostakovich. Both works have been written for a small string orchestra and percussion. I have strived in my arrangement in harmony to the a poor, low and empty piano arrangement by Moussorgsky, and abandon
any external show as much as possible. The percussion is only used at moments of abrupt changes in atmosphere. - THEO VERBEY

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