Russian Songs - Melodies

Friday 5 March 2010, by Laurent (Vnouk) // Discography

This Cd of Verena Rein and Jascha Nemtsov is about 3 russians’ composers melodies : 9 melodies by Vsevolod Petrovitch Zaderatsky, most of Arthur Lourié’s melodies et 6 romances on texts about japanese poets by Dimitri Shostakovich. The CD making of by Verena Rein gives to ear 2 Zaderatsky’s melodies : Колыбельная (Lullaby), 1944, on Valery Brioussov’s poem et Гаданье (Fortune-Telling), 1931, on Vladimir Lougovskoï’s poem.

The interprets

The soprano received her vocal training as a master student with Kammersänger (title awarded to a singer with outstanding ability) Peter Gougaloff at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. After completing her instrumental studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hanover [School of Music and Theatre], her bel canto studies introduced her to Mirella Freni. She further undertook a two-and-a-half year breathwork course and received advanced improvisation, rhythmic and movement coaching.

Opera and concert performances have taken her to Switzerland, the USA, Denmark, Poland, Lithuania, Romania and Germany. She has participated in radio, CD and TV recordings for, among others, Deutschlandradio, the Danish national radio, the Lithuanian national radio, Polskie Radio Szczecin, TV Kraków, Bucharest television and the Dreyer-Gaido label, as well as the Potsdam Eastern Europe publication series.

She made her opera debut in Switzerland as Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen. Her most notable roles since then have included Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata (which soon became her best role), Konstanze in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Agathe in Weber’s Der Freischütz. Recitals have become a major component of her work as an artist. She has performed at several international festivals, including the Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival, the Internationaler Musiksommer "NordTöne", the Reconstruction Concerts for the Dresden Frauenkirche (Wiederaufbaukonzerte), the Lausitzer Musiksommer, the Summer Festival at Rosenholm Castle, Danmark, the Karol Szymanowski Music Days in Zakopane, Poland, the Christopher Summer Festival in Vilnius, Lithuania, and the International Festival of Lyrical Art as part of the European Cultural Capital 2007: Sibiu programme. Verena Rein is further known as a performer of different styles of contemporary music, from duets to vocal works with orchestra.

The soprano has been achieving great success in both Germany and abroad* in conducting master classes on such diverse subjects as stage performance and stage presence training, lieder interpretation, classical Italian bel canto techniques, as well as breath and timbre control. She previously held a chair at Shenandoah University* in Winchester, VA (USA). She currently teaches stage performance and stage presence to the lieder class of Prof. Axel Bauni at the Universität der Künste (UdK) Berlin [Berlin University of the Arts], as well as courses at the Landesmusikakademie Berlin. Verena Rein also works as a publicist and writer.

Jascha Nemtsov play here a new CD about melodies (the third). You can read his biography here

The CD

The 9 melodies by Zaderatsky :

  1. Колыбельная, 1944 (Lullaby), on Valery Bryusov’s poem
  2. Непогода, 1948 (Violent storm), on Nicolay Aseyev’s poem
  3. Мандолина, 1948 (Mandolin), on Alexey Surkov’s poem
  4. Свет мой оранжавый, 1931 (My light is orange), on Nicolay Aseyev’s poem
  5. Лодери и кот, 1934 (The Lazybones and the Tomcat), on Samuil Marshak’s poem
  6. Victoria regia, 1944, on Igor Severyanin’s poem
  7. Китайская безделушка, 1934 (Chinese bagatelle), on Ilya Selvinsky’s poem
  8. Гадание, 1931 (Fortune-Telling), on Vladimir Lougovskoï’s poem
  9. Десятая часть, 1944 (One tenth), on Valery Bryusov’s poem

The original Russian texts (pdf) of the songs you can download on Verena Rein’s website.

The English and German translation you can find in the booklet.

In his making of, Verena Rein explain what was her intention about this recording :

"In the beginning there was my enthusiasm for the Russian language and music. Three years ago, I decided to learn Russianto be able to sing the Russian repertoire in the original language. Approximatively a year ago it turned out that a CD production would take place at Deutschlandradio Kultur? A programm containing Russian songs. By chance I got to know the pianist Jascha Nemtsov who called my attention to two composers – one I had never heard of before and about the other one just a little bit : Vsevolod Zaderatsky and Arthur Lourié.

Immediatly, the day I got the music I was enthusiastic about the individual song and harmony although Zaderatsky still uses conventional means. It is tonal music in an individual style – really very expressive music !

The song by Lourié are totally différent. This composer’s music has so many faces. In every period of his life, he uses differnet styles, ranging from tonal to atonal music. This project makes it possible to record most of his songs for the first time. Just as Zaderatsky songs : there is no recording at all. That of course is a very interesting task for me as a singer. I can show my own interpretation, my very personal way of feeling and sounding. There is nothing you can compare it with. I can be creative without limits and can be taken up with the music."

Zaderatsky and poets

Vsevolod Petrovich composed during all his life vocal works. He composed around 100 melodies , most of them on texts by russian poets. Bryusov, Aseyev, Severyanin, Selvinsky, Blok, Prokofiev, Marshak, Maïakovsky, Barto, …

On the booklet, Jascha Nemtsov writes : "The nine songs are from the 1930s and 1940s and use texts by contemporary Russian poets. The emotional palette of these songs is unually wideranging. They comprise the jesting children’s song "The Lazybones and the Tomcats", the gloomy, mysterious "Lullaby", the painful, ominus "Fortune-Telling", two highly dramatic, pathos-laden songs ("Violent storm" and "One Tenth") and lyrical masterpieces like "My light", "Mandolin" and "Victoria regia". One of the remarkable, still unpublished songs is "Chinese Bagatelle". The poem by the avant-garde poet Ilya Selvynski (1899-1968) is a unique imitation of "Chinese" intonation in Russian words. The music uses pentatonic structures and percussive effects in the piano to create an "authentic" impression while adopting alienating and stylised means to tell the tragic story of an innocent person who was condemned to death. Only once, when the beloved daughter of the condemned man is mentioned, do the dramatic feelings break through unhampered."

Reply to this article