From Jewish Folk Poetry

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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).[1]

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".[2]


The cycle consists of 11 songs:

  1. The Lament for the Dead Child
  2. The Thoughtful Mother and Aunt
  3. Lullaby
  4. Before a Long Parting
  5. A Warning
  6. The Abandoned Father
  7. The Song of Misery
  8. Winter
  9. A Good Life
  10. The Young Girl's Song
  11. Happiness

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ Wilson (2006): p. 267.
  2. ^ Wilson (2006): p. 268.
  • Wilson, Elizabeth (2006). Shostakovich: A Life Remembered. London: Faber. ISBN 0-571-22050-9

External links[edit]