From Jewish Folk Poetry
From Jewish Folk Poetry, Op. 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. Russian translation by T. Spendiarova (1 August 1948)
- The Thoughtful Mother and Aunt. Russian translation by A. Globa (5 August 1948)
- Lullaby. Russian translation by V. Zvyagintseva (10 August 1948)
- Before a Long Parting. Russian translation by A. Globa (15 August 1948)
- A Warning. Russian translation by N. Ushakov (20 August 1948)
- The Abandoned Father. Russian translation by S. Mar (25 August 1948)
- The Song of Misery. Text by B. Shafir. Russian translation by B. Semyonov (29 August 1948)
- Winter. Russian translation by B. Semyonov (29 August 1948)
- A Good Life. Russian translation by S. Olender (10 October 1948)
- The Young Girl's Song. Russian translation by S. Olender (16 October 1948)
- Happiness. Russian translation by L. Dligach (24 October 1948)
References and sources
- Wilson (2006): p. 267.
- Wilson (2006): p. 268.
- The dates of composition are taken from the autographs as printed in the score:Shostakovich, Collected Works, vol. 32. Romances and Songs, "Muzyka" Moscow, 1982
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