Romances of Taneyev
Romance ... This is a form of musical art that has a charming charm and great attracting power. Of course, that many composers attracted this genre to themselves, and they created wonderful vocal miniatures, which were successfully performed both on large concert scenes and in home music. An eminent Russian composer Sergey Ivanovich Taneyev, whose work is considered to be a unique phenomenon of Russian musical culture at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, treated the composition of romances with great preference.
History of creation
The history of creating a rich romance heritage of Taneyev, as well as his composer's biography, dates back to the times when Sergei Ivanovich was still studying at the conservatory. The composer always had priority in composing vocal miniatures, and therefore he was creating them throughout his creative career. Closed by nature, it was in this genre that he was able to reveal all the secrets of his secret soul, his inner world. Love lyrics, philosophical reflections, psychological or colorful natural landscapes - all this is reflected in the chamber - vocal work, which is often called the composer's lyric diary.
It is rather difficult to trace the chronology of the appearance of Taneyev’s romances. For example, among the first works written while studying at the Conservatory, two romances were discovered: "Summer Night" for the words of N. Grekov and "A cheated paladin servant killed" for the words of V. Zhukovsky. The first two published vocal miniatures: "Venice at Night" by A. Feta and "Serenade" A.K. They saw the light in the late nineties of the nineteenth century and were designated by the composer as composition No. 9. The next ten romances, published in 1905 as opus No. 17, do not have a semantic connection between themselves. During this period, Taneyev energetically looked for "his" authors, therefore the collection includes works written on verses by various poets: P. B. Shelly (trans. KD Balmont), L. Stecchetti (trans. Ellis), AK Tolstoy, A.A. Feta, N. Nekrasova, N.F. Shcherbina. In the works of Sergei Ivanovich, the influence of other composers is still noticeable, for example, PI. Tchaikovsky, but, nevertheless, they already featured features characteristic of Taneyev’s vocal lyricism.
The next collection of romances, published three years later in 1908 under the name "Immorteli," the author already called the composition, however, like the previous album, he did not meet all the requirements of the cycle, although some unity was present in it. All miniatures were written on poems by European poets T. Moore, Dante, M. Meterlink, S. Baudelaire, S. Prudhomme, J. Rodenbach, J. Heredia, S. d'Orias, F. Nietzsche as translated by symbolist poet Ellis. And despite the fact that the composer arranged all the romances by the principle of contrast, here the line of a smooth transition from lyrical to dramatic images is clearly visible. Immorteli, which Taneyev wrote in two weeks, is considered one of his best vocal albums. The vocal miniatures included in it today are the highest achievement not only of the Taneev vocal lyrics, but also of the entire period of Russian music, during which the composer worked.
All subsequent chamber-vocal creativity of Taneyev is connected only with the only poet with whom the composer was familiar very closely - Yakov Petrovich Polonsky. 1910 was a woeful year in the life of Sergei Ivanovich: his nanny, Pelageya Vasilievna Chizhov, a man very dear to the composer, passed away. Religiously losing his loss, he wrote four romances to the verses of Polonsky: “In the Year of Loss,” “The Angel,” “My Mind was Suppressed by Depression,” and “The Winter Way.” This album, printed at number 32, was indeed a cycle, since all the works on content and emotional coloring were closely related.
The last, 33rd and 34th opuses of the composer’s chamber vocal works were published in 1911 and 1912. Together they included twelve works of various figurative spheres: from love lyrics (“Kiss”) and pictures of nature (“Night in the Crimea”) to sharp social subjects (“Prisoner”).
- The collection of romances, to which the composer gave the name "Immorteli" was dedicated to the younger sister of the outstanding musicians Anton and Nikolai Rubinstein, Sofia Grigorievna. She was a wonderful chamber singer and vocal teacher working at the National Conservatory, one of the initiators of whose discovery was S.I. Taneyev.
- Few know that Sergei Ivanovich mastered the artificial language of Esperanto very well, and only in it did he write in his personal diary. In addition, the composer wrote several songs in Esperanto, which were lost. However, a group of enthusiasts do not lose hope of finding them, asking the relatives of friends and students of Taneyev not only in Russia, but also abroad, to review family archives, thereby assisting in the search for lost works.
- Taneyev had his own, rather complicated way of writing music, which many of his friends considered too "tricky"; he spent a lot of time writing his works. Nevertheless, according to the testimony of friends of the composer, sometimes inspired, Sergei Ivanovich could write a vocal miniature in just twenty minutes. So it happened with the romance to the poems of F. Tyutchev "Oh, do not disturb me with a reproach of the fair ...", which Taneyev composed and immediately played, while in Yasnaya Polyana, visiting the couple of Tolstoy. In addition, the composer took only thirty minutes to create the famous vocal miniature “When, circling, autumn leaves”.
- Sergei Ivanovich not only treated the work in the chamber-vocal genre with great preference, but also considered it as a laboratory for his work. So, the melody of the romance "People are sleeping" was used by the composer in the second part of the symphony No. 2.
- Taneyev was very demanding of his works and gave them to the publishing house when he thought that they deserve not a one-off performance, but a long concert life. Of the fifty-five romances known today, forty were printed during the composer’s life, and only fifteen after his death.
The content of Taneyev’s romances is very diverse. Some of his works are filled with sublime love lyrics or philosophical reflections. In others, the composer paints colorfully landscapes of nature or displays the whole spectrum of human feelings: from jubilant joy to inconsolable sadness. In addition, Sergei Ivanovich is often attracted poetic works of a social, civil nature. However, no matter what topic was written the romance, in each composition you can hear the real skill of the composer, which is timeless.
For example, some of his works:
- "In the haze - invisible" - one of the comparatively early romances of the composer, which was based on A. Fet's poem, which is a model of light lyrics. Here, the poetic text paints a romantic picture: the emotional experiences of the heroine against the backdrop of a nightly blooming spring garden sanctified by a young moon. The lyrical mood of the romance creates a beautiful melodic line, which is supported by smoothly descending measured accompaniment motifs. However, vocals and accompaniment are closely related to each other, as in the piano part there are continuous tunes that imitate the solo part.
"In the haze - invisible" (listen)
- "People are sleeping" - this vocal miniature of Taneyev was composed on the verses by A. Fet in the seventies of the nineteenth century. It openly sounds a declaration of great love, and the expressive melody of the vocal, combined with the accompaniment part beautifully enriched with melodic backs, helps it.
"People are sleeping" (listen)
- "Minuet" - in the romance, this work is considered to be the highest artistic achievement of the composer, it is even called a software instrumental piece with a vocal part. The literary basis of the composition was the poetic work of S. d'Orias, translated by Ellis, which Taneyev very skillfully placed into the framework of a complex three-part form. In the romance, two very contrasting themes. If the first part, praising the elegant dance “Minuet”, is graceful and light in texture, then the middle part, in the accompaniment of which the composer included the transformed motive of a revolutionary song, sounds dramatic and even threatening. Then the theme of the minuet returns again, but it is no longer stable enough, and in the last performance, it finally loses its dancing character.
- "When, circling, autumn sheets" - Elegy on the words of L. Stecchetti in the translation of Ellis. The composer adorned the poetic text, filled with a mood of sadness, with a beautiful sensual melody, which is supported by an uncomplicated arpeggiated accompaniment.
"When, turning, autumn sheets" (listen)
- "Stalactites" - this romance of Taneyev was written in the words of the French poet S. Prudhomme (translation of Ellis). Sad elegy, in which sad human experiences are compared with the phenomenon of nature. Already from the first bars of the introduction, a pictorial image of measured droplets arises, and calcareous stalactites are compared with human grief: there are no tears anymore, but the heart continues to ache from emotional wounds. Since the poem is divided into four stanzas, Taneyev also divided his composition, introducing changes in each section, for example: modulation to a different tone or texture polyphony.
- "The heart is beating restless" - a romance written in the words of the great Russian poet A. Nekrasov, is a model of vocal lyricism, which ranks with the most popular works of this genre. Already from the very beginning, the accompanying part with an energetic pulsating rhythm creates a temperamental character of the composition. The ardent warehouse of the work is underlined by his expressive vocal part, the melodic line of which supports the passion of the emotional speech.
"The heart is beating restless" (listen)
- "Mask" - the poetic text of this composition was composed by the wonderful Russian poet Jacob Polonsky. Taneyev, in order to more expressively convey the bright, intimate feeling about which is spoken of in the poem, wrote it in the waltz genre. In addition, he used the main theme of the dance as a reflex of the rondo form, in which he composed these works.
- "Winter Way" - Another of many works in which Sergei Ivanovich refers to the work of Yakov Polyansky. The composer was attracted by one of the themes rooted in classical Russian art. The endless spaces covered with snow, which cause dreary feelings to the traveler, which in a drowsy state give rise to various kinds of memories. Taneyev in this romance gave preference to the three-part form, where the first and last sections depicted a picture of the winter landscape, a running troika and a monotonously ringing bell. The middle part consists of several different episodes that revive memories from childhood in a traveler.
The outstanding Russian composer Sergey Ivanovich Taneyev made a huge contribution to the development of Russian musical culture and left for posterity a creative legacy in which romances occupy a very worthy place. Most of the composer's vocal miniatures today continue their lives on the stages of concert halls and are included in the repertoire of many famous Russian vocalists.