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Belarusian Music

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Author Topic: Belarusian Music  (Read 3470 times)
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« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2016, 12:40:20 am »

I have posted up two pieces by Yauhen Tsikotski (Evgeny Tikotsky in Russian, 1893-1958):

- The Song of the Stormy Petrel - heroic poem after Maxim Gorky (written 1920, revised in 1936)
- Lyavonikha

Lyavonikha is the name of a dance which is popular in Belarus, and this is Tsikotski's arrangement of it. According to (Russian) Wikipedia:

It is performed in pairs with solo variations also being performed under the same name. It has comic content, is dynamic and cheerful. A lively tempo in 2/4. The dance consists of traditional patterns (circle, asterisk, snake, gate), with different transition lines in pairs or with a change of partners and whirling in pairs, arm in arm. At weddings, "Lyavonikha" is the main dance and is often accompanied with rhyming playful couplets. In some areas of Belarus "Lyavonikha" is performed as a solo dance. Performers go one by one out in the middle of the circle and dance as best they can. Movements of the dancers are very different - the tramp, gallop,.... "Lyavonikha" has entered the repertoire of many professional and amateur groups, and is used in the ballet "The Nightingale" by Mikhail Kroshner, and "Prince-Lake" by Vassili Zolotarev.

The Song of the Stormy Petrel was a poem written by revolutionary Russian write Maxim Gorky in 1901 and is an important piece of Russian revolutionary literature. It was swiftly banned by the censors and Gorky was arrested.  It is halfway between prose and poetry, and was written in unrhymed trochaic tetrameter, which when read aloud gives its rhythm a powerful sense of urgency and something-dramatic-about-to-happen. Reportedly it was one of Lenin’s favourite works.

The Russian for stormy petrel is “burevestnik” which can be translated as “storm herald” or “storm bringer”.

From Wikipedia:
Maxim Gorky wrote "The Song of the Storm Petrel" in March 1901 in Nizhny Novgorod. It is believed that originally the text was part of a larger piece, called "Spring Melodies" and subtitled "Fantasy" . In this "fantasy", the author overhears a conversation of birds outside his window on a late-winter day: a crow, a raven, and a bullfinch representing the monarchist establishment; sparrows, "lesser people"; and anti-establishment siskins. As the birds discussing the approach of the spring, it is one of the siskins who sings to his comrades "the Song of the Stormy Petrel, which he had overheard somewhere", which appears as the "fantasy's" finale. In the "Song", the action takes place on an ocean coast, far from the streets of a central Russian town; the language calling for revolution is coded—the proud stormy petrel, unafraid of the storm (that is, revolution), as all other birds cower.

Text as follows (English translation):

    High above the silvery ocean winds are gathering the storm-clouds, and between the clouds and ocean proudly wheels the Stormy Petrel, like a streak of sable lightning.

Now his wing the wave caresses, now he rises like an arrow, cleaving clouds and crying fiercely, while the clouds detect a rapture in the bird's courageous crying.

In that crying sounds a craving for the tempest! Sounds the flaming of his passion, of his anger, of his confidence in triumph.

The gulls are moaning in their terror--moaning, darting o'er the waters, and would gladly hide their horror in the inky depths of ocean.

And the grebes are also moaning. Not for them the nameless rapture of the struggle. They are frightened by the crashing of the thunder.

And the foolish penguins cower in the crevices of rocks, while alone the Stormy Petrel proudly wheels above the ocean, o'er the silver-frothing waters.

Ever lower, ever blacker, sink the stormclouds to the sea, and the singing waves are mounting in their yearning toward the thunder.

Strikes the thunder. Now the waters fiercely battle with the winds. And the winds in fury seize them in unbreakable embrace, hurtling down the emerald masses to be shattered on the cliffs.

Like a streak of sable lightning wheels and cries the Stormy Petrel, piercing storm-clouds like an arrow, cutting swiftly through the waters.

He is coursing like a Demon, the black Demon of the tempest, ever laughing, ever sobbing--he is laughing at the storm-clouds, he is sobbing with his rapture.

In the crashing of the thunder the wise Demon hears a murmur of exhaustion. And he is knows the strom will die and the sun will be triumphant; the sun will always be triumphant!

The waters roar. The thunder crashes. Livid lightning flares in stormclouds high above the seething ocean, and the flaming darts are captured and extinguished by the waters, while the serpentine reflections writhe, expiring, in the deep.

It's the storm! The storm is breaking!

Still the valiant Stormy Petrel proudly wheels amond the lightning, o'er the roaring, raging ocean, and his cry resounds exultant, like a prophecy of triumph--

Let it break in all its fury!
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