MUSSORGSKY. SERENADE FROM SONGS AND DANCES OF DEATH
“I was obsessed with Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death ever since
I first performed them at age 13. I was blown away by their powerful stories, and a sense of inevitability conveyed in the music.
My favorite among them has always been the Serenade, portraying Death coming as a mysterious knight to a deadly ill young woman. I was attracted by Mussorgsky’s use of rich and sometimes spicy harmonies, and by a thrilling metaphor of a deadly love hidden between its lines. Mussorgsky created a haunting sound image by setting the poetic text in a subtle, detailed way, magnifying each moment. ”
© Asiya Korepanova
Here is the beautiful Serenade's lyrics by Russian poet
Magical languor, blue night,
Trembling darkness of spring.
The sick girl takes in, with her head dropped,
The whisper of the night's silence.
Sleep does not close her shining eyes,
Life beckons towards pleasures,
Meanwhile under the window in the midnight silence
Death sings a serenade:
"In the gloom of captivity, severe and stifling,
Your youth is fading away;
A mysterious knight, with magic powers I'll free you up.
Stand up, look at yourself: with beauty
Your translucent face is shining,
Your cheeks are rosy, with a wavy plait
Your figure is entwined, like with a cloud.
The blue radiance of your piercing eyes
Is brighter than skies and fire.
Your breath flutters with the midday heat ...
You have seduced me.
Your hearing is captured with my serenade,
Your voice called for a knight,
The knight has come for the ultimate reward;
The hour of ecstasy has arrived.
Your body is tender, your trembling is ravishing...
Oh, I'll suffocate you
In my strong embraces: listen to my seductive
Chatter! ... be silent!... You are mine!"
translation © Sergy Rybin