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Conor Biggs & Pádhraic Ó Cuinneagáin | Tchaikovsky Songs

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Tchaikovsky Songs

by Conor Biggs & Pádhraic Ó Cuinneagáin

Tchaikovsky is the biggest selling classical composer of all time, but his songs are relatively unknown outside his native Russia. This album reveals some neglected gems, full of the pathos one associates with the composer of the "1812" Overture.
Genre: Classical: Art songs
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Again, As Before, Alone, Op. 73, No. 6
2:35 $0.99
2. My Genius, My Angel
1:33 $0.99
3. Amid The Noise Of A Ball, Op. 38, No. 3
2:35 $0.99
4. Do Not Leave Me, Op. 27, No. 3
2:47 $0.99
5. Do Not Believe Me, Op. 6, No. 1
3:18 $0.99
6. At The Window, Op. 60, No. 10
1:43 $0.99
7. As They Kept Saying:"fool!", Op. 25, No. 6
1:44 $0.99
8. To Forget So Soon
2:39 $0.99
9. Heroism, Op .60, No. 11
3:44 $0.99
10. Lullaby, Op. 16, No. 1
4:09 $0.99
11. No Response Or Word, Op, 28, No. 5
2:34 $0.99
12. None But The Lonely Heart, Op. 6, No. 6
2:55 $0.99
13. Reconciliation, Op. 25, No. 1
4:40 $0.99
14. Wait!, Op. 16, No. 2
3:28 $0.99
15. Night, Op. 73, No. 2
3:50 $0.99
16. The Fearful Moment, Op. 28, No. 6
3:50 $0.99
17. 'twas In The Early Spring, Op. 38, No. 2
2:30 $0.99
18. I Bless You, Forests, Op. 47, No. 5
4:18 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Despite their depth of feeling and beauty of sound, Tchaikovsky's one hundred or so songs have struggled to hold their own in the concert repertoire. The stumbling block is perhaps linguistic, and not musical,since all of Tchaikovsky's songs are accessible and immediately captivating. Although they rarely plumb the depths of Schubert's masterpieces, their melodic charm and contrapuntal adroitness are always evident. What they occasionally lack in choice of poetry or subtlety of nuance, they make up for in dramatic quality and heart-rending emotion - not surprising, as Tchaikovsky was such a successful operatic composer.

In 1992 Pádhraic Ó Cuinneagáin and I gave a performance of the songs recorded on this CD in Dublin and were greatly surprised and graified by the enthuasiastic response with which they were received. This recording will hopefully contribute to making them more popular in recital programmes, in particular for non Russian-speaking audiences.

The songs you will hear on this CD were recorded in the drawing-room of a hansome early nineteenth-century house in Cublin. This lends a cerain air of authenticity to the recording, as most - if not all - of Tchaikovsky's songs were intended for the drawing-romms of polite Russian society. The scale of the piano accompaniments is also consistent with a level suitable for performance in such venues.

Song texts

1. Again, as before, alone (Op. 73, no.6)

Again, as before, I am alone;
again I am filled with despair...
the poplar tree gazes through the window,
bathed in moonlight...

The poplar tree gazes through the the window...
its leaves whisper something...
the stars blaze in the sky...
where are you now, my beloved?

Everything that is happening to me
I am unable to explain...
beloved, pray for me,
as I aleady pray for you!

(A.M. Rathaus)

2. My genius, my angel, my friend

Is it really you, like a light shadow,
my genius, my angel, my friend,
speaking to me tenderly,
and flitting here and there?

In my wavering dream you inspire me,
and comfort my sweet langour,
and offer me sweet dreams,
My genius! Mu angel! Mu friend!


3. Amid the noise of a ball (op.38, no.3)

Amid the noise of a ball
in the futile excitement of the world
I suddenly caught sight of you, but your face
was covered with mystery;
your eyes looked sadly on,
but your exquisite voice sounded divine,
like the far off echo of a flute,
like a purling wave.

Your delicate figure
and your pensive face entranced me,
and your laughter, sad and and vibrant at the same time
still echoes in my heart!
During the lonely hours of the night
I would gladly lie down to rest;
I see your sad eyes,
and hear your happy voice,

Then sadly, sadly, I drift into sleep,
a sleep of dreams beyond recall...
I do not know if I love you,
but it seems to me that I do!

A.K. Tolstoy

4. Do not leave me (Op.27, no.3)

Do not leave me,
my friend, stay close to me!
Do not stray far from me:
I am so happy with you!
Nobody could ever be closer to you,
we could not love each other
more deeply and strongly
than we do.

When you are near me,
bending your head sadly,
I am so happy with you...
Do not leave me,
I am so happy with you!


5. Do not believe me, my friend (Op. 6, no.1)

Do not believe me, my friend,
when in a heated moment
I say that I no longer love you!
Do not believe the tide ebbing,
nor the sea unfaithful:
it will return, lovingly, to the land!

I rediscover the same passion:
I would surrender my freedom to you again.
In the distance the waves are already rolling
back to the shores of love.

Do not believe me, my friend, do not believe it,
when in a heated moment
II say that I no longer love you!
Do not believe the tide ebbing,
nor the sea unfaithful:
it will return, lovingly, to the land!

A.K. Tolstoy

6. At the window (Op.60, no. 10)

In darkness, at the window,
your fair head appears.
You are not asleep, my darling!
Your are not asleep, you little devil!

Come out and meet me then,
because I thirst for your kisses;
my heart touching yours,
I will embrace your passionately.

Don't be afraid of the stars
if they shine brightly:
I will hide you well under my cloak
so that you will be invisible.

If the sentry challenges us,
answer like a soldier;
if you are asked "Who were you with?"
Answer: "With my brother."

Under the yoke of a bigoted old woman
prison is vexing,
but, whether you like it or not,
captivity will teach you to be sly!

J.P. Polonsky

7. As the kept on saying: "Fool!"

As the kept on saying: "Fool!"
Stop running off to the tsar's tavern!"
They keep repeating the same thing:
"Drink water, not wine!
Go and greet the river,
at least learn something there."

So I will go the brook,
and say the following prayer:
"They tel mel: you are not stupid,
and so I come to greet you.
Teach me what I can do
to be ashamed of my drunkenness,
River, how can I drown my sorrow
through you?
Beautiful river, you will teach me
to sing your praises forever!
For you have rescued this drunkard
from the clutches of the tavern!"

L.A. Mey

8. To forget so soon

So quickly forgotten, dear God,
all the happiness of our past life fled!
all our meetins, our conversations,
so quickly forgotten!

Forgotten the agitation of those first days,
appointments under the shade of trees!
the wordless exchange of our glances,
forgotten so soon, forgotten so soon!

To forget how the full moon
streamed in through our window,
how the curtains quietly fluttered...
forgotten so soon, forgotten so soon!

To forget love, to forget dreams,
to forget those vows - do you remember?
In the dark hours of night -
to forget so soon, so soon!
Dear God!

A.N. Apukhtin



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Donal Byrne

Tchaikovsky Songs - Conor Biggs & Pádhraic Ó Cuinneagáin
Mr. Tchaikovsky wrote in a letter to Nadezhda von Meck on 23 November/5 December 1877:

"…You see, my dear friend, I am made up of contradictions, and I have reached a very mature age without resting upon anything positive, without having calmed my restless spirit either by religion or philosophy. Undoubtedly I should have gone mad but for music. Music is indeed the most beautiful of all Heaven's gifts to humanity wandering in the darkness. Alone it calms, enlightens, and stills our souls. It is not the straw to which the drowning man clings; but a true friend, refuge, and comforter, for whose sake life is worth living".
If you should choose to buy the CD you'll get to hear the truth of those words being brought to life through the artistry of Messrs. Biggs and Ó Cuinneagáin.