4. Pushkin's "Reverie"
Text: Untitled 8-verse poem by Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin, 1829. (May be sung either in English or in Russian.)
Original Russian may be found on the last page of the PDF file.
Musicians: Unaccompanied SATB chorus, B & S solos.
Program notes: Pushkin describes how thoughts of the inevitability of death intrude into his daily life. By the end, he achieves acceptance, or at least resignation, by visualizing his tomb and himself at rest. This poem is doubly poignant: First, Pushkin actually died young, in a duel to defend the honor of his wife. Second, because Pushkin had difficult relationships with both the government and the orthodox church, his funeral was private and hurried. Following 6 verses set to original melodies, I set the last two verses as solo descants against the traditional hymns “Holy God” and “Eternal Memory.” In Pushkin’s time, the singing of the former might have been permitted even for the heterodox. The latter hymn was clearly in his mind, as shown by the echo of “Вєчная память” in his final words “вєчною сиять.”
Portrait of Alexander Pushkin
Vasily Tropinin, 1827
Geranium sanguineum (fall color), Tatishchevsky District, Saratov Oblast, Russia
Tomb of Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin, Svyatogorsky Monastery, Mikhailovskoye, Russia
Андрей Лапшин (Andrei Lapshin), 2008