From Jewish Folk Poetry
From Jewish Folk Poetry (opus 79) is a song cycle for soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and piano by Dmitri Shostakovich. It uses texts taken from the collection Jewish folk songs, compiled by I. Dobrushin and A. Yuditsky, edited by Y. M. Sokolov (Goslitizdat, 1947).
The piece was composed in the autumn of 1948, after Shostakovich's denunciation in the Zhdanov decree of that year. The composer's situation and the official anti-Semitism of the time made a public premiere impossible until January 15, 1955, when it was performed by Shostakovich himself with Nina L'vovna Dorliak, Zara Dolukhanova and Alec Maslennikov. Before the premiere the work received a number of private performances.
The cycle is just one of many works by Shostakovich to incorporate elements of Jewish music; he said that he was attracted by "a jolly melody on sad intonations".
The cycle consists of 11 songs:
- The Lament for the Dead Child
- The Thoughtful Mother and Aunt
- Before a Long Parting
- A Warning
- The Abandoned Father
- The Song of Misery
- A Good Life
- The Young Girl's Song
References and sources
- Wilson (2006): p. 267.
- Wilson (2006): p. 268.
- Wilson, Elizabeth (2006). Shostakovich: A Life Remembered. London: Faber. ISBN 0-571-22050-9
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