Thursday, January 30, 2014

Romances (Романсы): Verse and Voice

In Russian, the word "romance" denotes a symbiosis of poetry and music. An art song, if you will, stretched on a taut wire between the two poles of high opera and spontaneous Gypsy-like expression. Originally, this category of songs was associated with the upper classes, but later on--it became accessible, and was favored by anyone who had a friend with a guitar and a passable voice. Or, by anyone who had a ticket to the "kino." Involved in the creation of a romance are several persons: the composer, singer, lyricist/poet, and accompanying musicians, or sometimes actors/actresses. Romances are subject to individual interpretation, which causes each performance to be unique in its color and mood. The results of these efforts include some of the following songs:

Here is a romance composed by Rachmaninoff. Anna Netrebko, singing "It is good to be here..."

Nicolai Gedda, whose voice lent itself to either opera or romance. Here, Однозвучно гремит колоколчик (The sleigh-bell repeatedly ringing..., often translated as "monotonously rings a bell" -- but this song is NOT monotonous!) If one repeats the name, Nicolai Gedda three times, one transforms into a mermaid. Listen to this tenor with caution.

Because one Nicolai Gedda song is not enough: "Foggy morning."
As another YouTube user put it: "Боже! Какой голос!"

Galina Kareva croons "Two Guitars."

Anastasia Vertinskaya, moaning, "Don't awaken remembrance..."

"Cruel Romance" is at once the name of a sub-category of romances, and the title of a film. Here, Valentina Ponamareva sings Tsvetaeva's poem, "Beneath the caress of a plush throw..."

Alla Pugacheva's voice, behind the pretty face of a Polish actress, Barbara Brylska, singing Akhmadulina's poem, "On my street..."

Simply for enjoyment, an entire musical-poetic-presentation of the poems of Marina Tsvetaeva, read by A. Freindlich.
Oh myyyyyy.

When I think of someone in the West who could transform almost any song into a "romance," Judy Collins comes to mind.


Cheryl and Janet Snell said...

Wonderful choices! Beautiful blog.

Iulia Flame said...

Thank you Cheryl and Janet. Much appreciated. I'm just sharing what I enjoy. :)

Iulia Flame said...


I am saving a link here to a playlist of songs written for Tsvetaeva poems, just so I don't lose it.

Harlequin said...

The treasure of blogs is their ability to divert / prompt the readers thought. I liked the title here and once upon the words and links the spike of color and mood certainly have their play.
For what it's worth ..... by the end my mind had wandered here
Words by W B Yeats, arranged and adapted (quite finely I feel) by the artist

Iulia Flame said...

Thank you.

Iulia Flame said...

Harlequin--the video link you sent, with the poem by Yeats -- is astoundingly beautiful and speaks to me, brought me to tears.

Thank you once again.

the song of a shell sapphire melting inside jade a color unnamed Ofra Haza's version of this song defies categoriz...

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