Monday, May 11, 2009

On Rachmaninoff Suite No 1

Just bought a new score of Rachmaninoff Fantaisie-Tableaux op 5 (Suite no 1 for two pianos). Rachmaninoff was only 20 when it was published. Dedicated to Tchaikovsky and showing obvious hints of that composer’s influence, the Suite op 5 consists of four brief movements which are preceded in the score by quotations from four of Rachmaninoff’s favorite poets: Lermontov, Byron, Tyutchev, and Khomyakov, whose verses provided the profound ideas of the work.
I found out, even though Rachmaninoff was in his early age when he created this Suite, we can trace the composer’s thoughtful mind on humanity through the verses. Very touchy :)


No. 1 Barcarolle (Gondola Song)
O cool evening wave
Lap gently under the oars of the gondola
... that song again! and again the sound of guitar!
... in the distance, now melancholy, now happy,
Was heard the sound of the old barcarolle:
“The gondola glides through the water, and time flies through love;
The waters become smooth again and passion will rise no more.”

Mikail Lermontov (1814 – 1841)


No. 2 La nuit... L’amour (Night... Love)
It is the hour when from the boughs
The nightingale’s high note is heard;
It is the hour when lover’s vows
Seem sweet in every whisper’d word;
And gentle winds, and waters near,
Make music to the lonely ear.

Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)


No. 3 Les Larmes (Tears)
Human tears, o human tears!
You flow both early and late –
You flow unknown, you flow unseen
Inexhaustible, innumerable,
You flow like torrents of rain
In the depths of an autumn night

Fyodor Tyutchev (1803 – 1873)


No. 4 Pâques (Easter)
The mighty peal rang out over the earth,
And all in air, moaning, shuddered and groaned.
Melodious, silver thunderings
Told the news of the holy triumph.

Alexei Khomyakov (1804 – 1860)

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