Hyperion Records

Pushkin, Aleksandr (1799-1837)  

Aleksandr Pushkin

born: 6 June 1799
died: 10 February 1837
country: Russia

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Russian poetry doesn’t begin with Pushkin, just as Russian music doesn’t begin with his contemporary Glinka, but it is hardly an exaggeration to see both of them as the source of all the fine things that Russian music and literature have produced since the early nineteenth century.

Aleksandr Pushkin (1799–1837) was far from being some impossible Sacred Monster to be treated with distant respect, but a very real human being, full of passions and contradictions, sudden enthusiasms and hesitations, a great lover and a clear-eyed observer, a man who springs vividly to life in everything he wrote or did. Few writers in any language can match Pushkin for the variety of his styles and subjects. His re-tellings of the old Russian folk tales he heard in his childhood are full of wonder, humour and mystery. His education at the Imperial Lycée gave him a grounding in the Classics which is reflected in his sculpted metres and rhythmic virtuosity. With a worldly life in St Petersburg there began the series of lyrics which explore every aspect of love. There followed some years spent in Southern Russia, where he encountered the exotic, Asiatic part of his country; then, with his return to the North, he embarked on a series of large-scale works in verse and prose which delve into Russia’s past and its evolution towards his own times, giving a precise literary reflection of every level of Russian society, with its particular traditions, customs and ways of speech.

At the time when Soviet Russia was marking the centenary of Pushkin’s death, a double standard prevailed. Pushkin’s hatred of tyranny was all very well as long as it applied to the bad old Tsarist days, but any application to contemporary reality was out of the question. The 1937 celebrations tended to focus on his less controversial works, musicians choosing lyric verses that avoided confronting the sort of oppression Pushkin knew well from personal experience. In 1825 he had found himself on the fringes of the Decembrist revolt, which attempted to provide some sort of constitution for Russia. He spent the rest of his life either under virtual house-arrest at his small country estate, or under the watchful eyes of officialdom in St Petersburg, where Tsar Nikolai I appointed himself the personal censor of the writer he is supposed to have described as ‘the wisest man in Russia’.

Few Russian composers could resist setting verses by this compelling figure, and his influence on the development of Russian music was indirectly as great as his influence on literature. For one thing, Pushkin’s poetry encouraged musicians who set his words to be clear, concise and direct. The Russian language itself, with its rich clusters of consonants and dark, liquid vowels, has a unique fascination, and the general practice among Russian composers of setting one note per syllable results in a close bond between words and music, with vocal lines intimately shaped by poetic stresses and phrasing.

from notes by Andrew Huth © 2009

Albums
'English Poets, Russian Romances' (CDA67274)
English Poets, Russian Romances
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67274  Download currently discounted
'Pushkin Romances' (CDA67773)
Pushkin Romances
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67773 
'Russian Images, Vol. 1' (CDA67105)
Russian Images, Vol. 1
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67105 
'Russian Images, Vol. 2' (CDA67205)
Russian Images, Vol. 2
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67205 
'Russian Songs' (CDA67355)
Russian Songs
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67355 
'Tchaikovsky: Songs' (CDH55331)
Tchaikovsky: Songs
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55331  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
On other labels
'Michael Zadora – The complete recordings' (APR6008)
Michael Zadora – The complete recordings
APR6008  2CDs for the price of 1 — Download only  
Alphabetical listing of all musical works
25 Poems by Pushkin, Op 57 (Cui)
4 Romances, Op 46 (Shostakovich)
6 Stikhotvoreniy A Pushkina '6 Pushkin Poems', Op 36 (Medtner)
7 Stikhotvoreniy Pushkina '7 Pushkin Poems', Op 29 (Medtner)
Adel' (Glinka)
Angel  No 3 of Ekho poeta 'The poet's echo', Op 76 (Britten)
Arion, Op 34 No 5 (Rachmaninov)
Chto v imeni tebe moyem? 'What does my name mean to you?', Op 4 No 1 (Rimsky-Korsakov)
Dlya beregov otchizny dal'noy 'For the shores of your far homeland' (Borodin)
Dvenadtsat' Romansov 'Twelve Romances', Op 60 (Tchaikovsky)
Ekha 'Echo'  No 1 of Ekho poeta 'The poet's echo', Op 76 (Britten)
Ekho poeta 'The poet's echo', Op 76 (Britten)
Ekho, Op 45 No 1 (Rimsky-Korsakov)
Epigramma 'Epigram'  No 5 of Ekho poeta 'The poet's echo', Op 76 (Britten)
Fontan lyubvi, fontan zhivoy! 'Fountain of love, fountain of life!'  First line to Fontanu Bakhchisarayskovo dvortsa 'The fountain in the courtyard of Bakhchisaray' (Vlasov)
Fontanu Bakhchisarayskovo dvortsa 'The fountain in the courtyard of Bakhchisaray' (Vlasov)
Gde nasha roza 'Where is our rose'  First line to Roza 'The rose', No 6 of 7 Stikhotvoreniy Pushkina '7 Pushkin Poems', Op 29 (Medtner)
Igray, Adel 'Play on, Adèle'  First line to Adel' (Glinka)
K chemu, vesyolïe druzya 'Why, my cheerful friends'  First line to K druz'yam 'To his friends' (Dargomïzhsky)
K druz'yam 'To his friends' (Dargomïzhsky)
K moryu 'To the sea'  No 3 of Three Romances (Mosolov)
Lish' rozï uvyadayut 'When roses wither'  No 3 of 6 Stikhotvoreniy A Pushkina '6 Pushkin Poems', Op 36 (Medtner)
Medlitelno vlekutsa dni moi 'My days pass by so slowly'  First line to Zhelaniye 'Desire', No 25 of 25 Poems by Pushkin, Op 57 (Cui)
Mel'nik 'The Miller' (Dargomïzhsky)
Meri 'Mary' (Glinka)
Moy golos dlya tebya i laskovïy i tomnïy 'My voice, calling you with love and longing'  First line to Noch' 'Night', No 1a of Soirées à St-Petersbourg, Op 44 (Rubinstein)
Moy golos dlya tebya i laskovïy i tomnïy 'My voice, calling you with love and longing'  First line to Noch' 'Night' (Musorgsky)
Moy golos dlya tebya 'My voice, calling you', Op 7 No 1 (Rimsky-Korsakov)
Muza 'The muse'  No 1 of 7 Stikhotvoreniy Pushkina '7 Pushkin Poems', Op 29 (Medtner)
Muza 'The muse', Op 34 No 1 (Rachmaninov)
Na kholmakh Gruzii 'The hills of Georgia', Op 3 No 4 (Rimsky-Korsakov)
Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne 'Do not sing to me, fair maiden' (Glinka)
Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne 'Do not sing to me, fair maiden', Op 4 No 4 (Rachmaninov)
Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne 'Do not sing to me, fair maiden', Op 51 No 2 (Rimsky-Korsakov)
Noch' 'Night'  No 1a of Soirées à St-Petersbourg, Op 44 (Rubinstein)
Noch' 'Night' (Musorgsky)
Nochnoy zefir 'Night Zephyr' (Dargomïzhsky)
Pesn' Zemfirï 'Zemfira's song' (Tchaikovsky)
Pevets 'The singer', Op 36 No 7 (Rubinstein)
Priznaniye 'Confession' (Glinka)
Pustoye vï serdechnïm tï 'Instead of a formal you'  First line to Tï i vï 'You and Thou', Op 27 No 3 (Rimsky-Korsakov)
Pustoye vï serdechnïm tï 'Instead of a formal you'  First line to Tï i vï 'You and Thou', No 11 of 25 Poems by Pushkin, Op 57 (Cui)
Redeyet oblakov letuchaya gryada 'A line of flying clouds', Op 42 No 3 (Rimsky-Korsakov)
Revyot li zver v lesu glukhom 'The cry of an animal in the forest depths'  First line to Ekho, Op 45 No 1 (Rimsky-Korsakov)
Romance in E flat major  No 1 of Soirées à St-Petersbourg, Op 44 (Rubinstein)
Roza 'The rose'  No 6 of 7 Stikhotvoreniy Pushkina '7 Pushkin Poems', Op 29 (Medtner)
Slïkhali l vï za roshchey glas nochnoy 'Have you heard, beyond the grove at night'  First line to Pevets 'The singer', Op 36 No 7 (Rubinstein)
Snovideniye 'A dream', Op 17 No 3 (Arensky)
Soirées à St-Petersbourg, Op 44 (Rubinstein)
Solovey i roza 'The nightingale and the rose'  No 4 of Ekho poeta 'The poet's echo', Op 76 (Britten)
Solovey 'The nightingale'  No 4 of Dvenadtsat' Romansov 'Twelve Romances', Op 60 (Tchaikovsky)
Starïy muzh, groznïy muzh, rezh menya 'Old man, dreadful man, stab me'  First line to Pesn' Zemfirï 'Zemfira's song' (Tchaikovsky)
Stikhi, sochinennïye noch'yu vo vremya bessonnitsï 'Lines written during a sleepless night'  No 6 of Ekho poeta 'The poet's echo', Op 76 (Britten)
Strekotun'ya beloboka 'The magpie' (Musorgsky)
Three Romances (Mosolov)
Tï i vï 'You and Thou'  No 11 of 25 Poems by Pushkin, Op 57 (Cui)
Tï i vï 'You and Thou', Op 27 No 3 (Rimsky-Korsakov)
Tsarskosel'skaya statuya 'The fountain statue at Tsarskoye Selo', Op 57 No 17 (Cui)
Tsarskoselskaya statuya 'The statue at Tsarskoye Selo'  No 17 of 25 Poems by Pushkin, Op 57 (Cui)
Urny s vodoy uroniv 'The girl has dropped the urn'  First line to Tsarskoselskaya statuya 'The statue at Tsarskoye Selo', No 17 of 25 Poems by Pushkin, Op 57 (Cui)
Uznik 'The Prisoner', Op 20 No 4 (Grechaninov)
V mladenchestve moyom ona menya lyubila 'When I was a child she loved me'  First line to Muza 'The muse', No 1 of 7 Stikhotvoreniy Pushkina '7 Pushkin Poems', Op 29 (Medtner)
V mladenchestve moyom ona menya lyubila 'When I was a child she loved me'  First line to Muza 'The muse', Op 34 No 1 (Rachmaninov)
Vospominaniye 'Recollection'  No 1 of Three Romances (Mosolov)
Ya dumal, serdtse pozabïlo 'My heart, I fancied it was over'  No 2 of Ekho poeta 'The poet's echo', Op 76 (Britten)
Ya perezhil svoi zhelan'ya 'I have outlived my aspirations', Op 3 No 2 (Medtner)
Ya pomnyu chudnoye mgnoven'ye 'I remember the wonderful moment' (Glinka)
Ya vas lyublyu, khot ya beshus 'I love you, though I must be mad'  First line to Priznaniye 'Confession' (Glinka)
Ya videl smert' 'I have seen death', Op 27 No 6 (Arensky)
Ya zdes, Inezilya 'Here I am, Iñesilla' (Glinka)
Yunosha i deva 'A girl and a boy' (Dargomïzhsky)
Yunoshu, gorku rïdaya 'A girl was sobbing bitterly'  First line to Yunosha i deva 'A girl and a boy' (Dargomïzhsky)
Yunoshu, gorku rïdaya 'A girl, sobbing bitterly'  No 2 of 4 Romances, Op 46 (Shostakovich)
Zaklinaniye 'Invocation' 'The call', Op 29 No 7 (Medtner)
Zhelaniye 'Desire'  No 25 of 25 Poems by Pushkin, Op 57 (Cui)
Zhelaniye 'Desire'  No 2 of Three Romances (Mosolov)
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