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John Tavener

Publisher: Chester Music

Six Russian Folk Songs (1978)
Work Notes
written as a present to the Nash Ensemble for their 15th anniversary
Text Writer
Trad. Russian
Chester Music Ltd
Soloists and Large Ensemble (7+ players)
Year Composed
18 Minutes
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Programme Note
John Tavener Six Russian Folk Songs (1978)
Six Russian Folksongs were written late in 1978 and they represent 'a musical sigh of relief' (to borrow Stravinsky's phrase) after a long spell of intensive writing dating from my opera Therese (1975-77, receiving its Premiere at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1979) up to my monodrama The Immurement of Antigone (1978). They also belong to a group of 'Russian inspired' works including my opera A Gentle Spirit and Liturgy of St John Chrysostom.

I have made basically simple settings of Russian Folksongs to make this wonderful folk-art available to concert performance. This instrumentation of the songs includes an ancient Russian instrument called a domra which bears a family resemblance to the balalaika.

The songs are an anniversary present to the Nash Ensemble and are dedicated with my love to Amelia Freedman. The Nash Ensemble with Elise Ross (soprano) conducted by myself gave the first performance on 15 January 1979 at the Wigmore Hall, London

John Tavener

  • Ensemble
    BBC Symphony Orchestra / Nash Ensemble
    Phyllis Bryn-Julson, soprano John Shirley Quirk, bass Elise Ross
    Gennadi Roshdenstvensky
    BBC Radio Classics:
  • Ensemble
    BBC Symphony Orchestra, The Nash Ensemble
    Phyllis Bryn-Julson, John Shirley-Quirk, Elise Ross
    Gennady Rozhdestvensky
    NMC Recordings:
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