Sergei Мikhailovich Slonimsky (born in 1932) is one of hе leading composers of the Russian modern music. His creation embraces actually all the genres — from operas and symphonies to cinematographic sound-tracks. Slonimsky is the author of more than fifty compositions. The cast of performers in his vocal cycles varies from traditional one (voice and piano) to mostly exotic ones (е. g. the new cycle “Three Songs” to the verses by Yevgeny Rein for basso, trombone and wooden beam). Slonimsky addresses to all kinds of poetry, including now the ancient Indian lyrics and David's psalms, now songs of troubadours and the Russian folk songs, now the Silver Age poetry and the one of the composer's younger contemporaries.
The offered collection contains six vocal cycles:
— to the verses by S. Yesenin, N. Rubtsov, А. Gorodnitsky (per one cycle);
— three cycles to the verses by Ye. Rein.
All these cycles are united by one common feature. This quality is revealed in resorting to utility genres, i. е. romance, song, urban tune, variety melody. Неге the composer continues and further works out the intonations, genre peculiarities, measures and imaginative sphere of the poems themselves.
Everything is not really as clear as it seems on the surface. If you remove scales from your eyes, the polemical underlying idea will appear before you. Both Yesenin and Rubtsov are represented without their usual affected Slavophile hint. Yesenin occurs to be the lonely and lost soul, while Rubtsov exposes his simple- heartedness and mostly touching defencelessness. The poet Gorodnitsky enjoyed his popularity for his lyrics with guitar accompaniment. Не is demonstrated here by the poem about the problem, sometimes real impossibility of the verses to be set to music. The robber's song about the new "robber song" is given after this, also to Gorodnitsky's words.
And finally the composer comes over to Yevgeny Rein. Slonimsky started working with his poetry long ago in the 1950-ies. Rein's language is quite clear and seems to be artless at the first glance. However, it’s not deprived of some now ironical, now keenly lyrical implication. Slonimsky refracts these concealed purports simultaneously with other moods. The composer sharpens the accents, giving sarcastic hints to taunt and more tension to lyricism in sound. These evident poles penetrate sometimes through each other, becoming nearly unseparable as in the song of the Japanese saxophonist:
Utter me with your saxophone — may Paradise be Hell,
Really can we return to our Past as well?
Is Paradise maybe called Hell, let your sax utter at last,
Really, can we bring ourselves back somewhere to our Past.
Alexander Kharkovsky (translated by Asya Ardova)
Moscow, the Coarse
Three Songs to the verses by Sergey Yesenin
1. I Shan' t Deceive Myself
2. At the Curved Moscow Streets
3. I’m Not Sorry, I Don' t Call, I Don' t Cry
То the verses by Nikolay Rubtsov
The Minute оf Music
То the verses by Alexander Gorodnitsky
1. When the Sound Abates
2. New Russians (Robber's Song)
А Мап From the Ваr
Suite for basso, saxophone and ршпо to the verses by Yevgeny Rein
2. А Man From the Bar
3. Night Shades
То the verses by Yevgeny Rein
1. You Read ш а Low Voice
2. About Raven
А Failure s Songs
Five Heartrending Romances to the verses Ъу Yevgeny Rein
1. Electric Train 0.40
2. Life Has Passed
3. Brethren, Let Me Go Ноше
4. Dark Rain ш а Lane
5. In the Old Hall