CD Mirror of Russia's Soul

Russian Romance: A Unique Genre

Russian Romance was born in the 18th and 19th centuries, as Russia developed a distinct cultural identity. From Pushkin to Tchaikovsky, from Fet to Rachmaninov, Russia's greatest poets and composers created short songs about love, longing and nature. Appealing to Russian's love of classical music and passion for literature, romances fast became popular.

Russian romances started as poems set to music and were influenced by trends in Western Europe, especially France. Most were composed for singer and one instrument, typically piano and less often guitar or lute. Over time, romances became more nuanced, each a mini-essay of its own.

Romances inspired Russia's leading intellectuals. Lev Tolstoi, the author of War and Peace said of "Invisible in the Fog", a pearl contained in this CD, that he had never felt such pain from beauty. Mikhail Glinka, the composer of Russia's first Opera, discovered "a beautiful poem by Kozlov" when he was traveling in Italy in the 1830s and composed "Venetian Night".

Many felt Russia's poets deserved living music. Dargomizhsky loved Pushkin's poems and composed many romances for them, including two in this collection: "Garden" and "Youth and Maiden". Tchaikovsky composed romances his whole life, seeking to capture the most heartfelt emotions.

Rachmaninov, the foremost composer of Russian Romance, created his romances before being forced into exile. They reveal a deep nostalgia for the lost Russia of old-yet his romances remain relevant to this day, including "Don't sing, my beauty" and "How nice it is here".

This CD presents a selection of romances from different composers and different periods some well-known the world over, others seldom if ever recorded: A Mirror of Russia's Soul.


1. A.S. Dargomizhsky "Young man and maiden" Text by A. Pushkin ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2. A.S. Dargomizhsky "Garden" Text by A. Pushkin
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3. A.S. Dargomizhsky "On heavenly fields" Text by N. Shcherbini
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4. M.I. Glinka "Venetian night" Text by I.Kozlov
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5. M.I. Glinka "I am here Inezilia" Text by A.Pushkin
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6. M.A. Balakirev "A young moon rose into the sky" Text by M. Yazevich
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7. S.I. Taneev "Invisible in the fog" Text by A.Fet
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8. N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov "Attracted by the rose, a nightingale" Text by A.Kolzov
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9. N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov "Maiden and Sun" Text by A.Maikov
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10. N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov "It was in early spring" Text by A. Tolstoy
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11. A.G. Rubinstein "The dew sparkles" Text by G. Bodlen
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12. P.I. Tchaikovsky "A soul quietly flew into heavenly clouds" Text by A.Tolstoy
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13. P.I. Tchaikovsky "Don't believe, my love, don't believe" Text by A.Tolstoy
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14. P.I. Tchaikovsky "I won't tell you anything" Text by A. Fet ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
15. P.I. Tchaikovsky "Tell about what in branches' shade" Text by V. Sologub
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16. S.V. Rachmaninov "At my window" Text by G. Galina
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17. S.V. Rachmaninov "In my garden at night" Text by A. Blok
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18. S.V. Rachmaninov "Daisies" Text by I. Severyanin
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19. S.V. Rachmaninov "Don't sing, my beauty, near me" Text by A. Pushkin
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20. S.V. Rachmaninov "How nice it is here" Text by G.Galina
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21. S.V. Rachmaninov "Spring Streams" Text by F.Tutchev

Copyright Anastasia Prokofieva 2009