Thursday night we had our first Artist Series of the semester. Valentina Lisitsa and Alexei Kuznetsoff (don't let the names throw you. they're married) played pieces specifically written for duo piano.
They were good. Very good. Even I could tell they were good. They got a standing ovation. And two encores. (but that's another story altogether) One of the things I liked was that they actually explained stuff about the piece and the composer before they performed it--for the less-than-perfectly-classicaly cultured such as myself, it made all the difference in the world once I understood a few things.
At any rate, they included the poems Rachmaninoff claimed as his inspiration to his Fantasie-tableaux (Suite No. 1), Op 5. They immediately caught and held my attention and interest, and when the piece was finally played after intermission I was properly moved and impressed and even visualized the reality the notes were to represent. The poems are magnificent.
Click "more" for Lermontov's Barcarolle (the classic song of the gondolier), Byron's Night of Love, Tyutchev's Tears, and Khomyakov's Russian Easter.
At dusk half-heard the chill wave laps
Beneath the gondola's slow oar.
...once more a song!
once more the twanged guitar!
...now sad, now gaily ringing,
The barcarolle comes winging;
"The boat slid by, the waters clove;
So time glides by, o'er the surge of love;
The waters will grow smooth again,
But what can rouse a passion slain!"
Night of Love
It is the hour when from the boughs
The nightingale's high note is heard;
It is the hour when lovers' vows
Seem sweet in every whisper'd word;
And gentle winds and waters near,
Make music to the lonely ear...
Tears, human tears,
that pour forth, beyond telling,
Early and late, in the dark, out of sight,
While the world goes on its way all unwittingly,
Numberless, stintless, you fall unremittingly
Pouring like rain, the long rain that is willing
Endlessly, late in the autumn at night.
Across the earth a mighty peal is sweeping
Till all the booming air rocks like a sea,
As silver thunders carol forth the tidings
Exulting in holy victory...