Sunday, 6 September 2015

Britten - The Nightingale and the Rose

Yes, yet another Nightingale. You'll not hear me complaining, there's no way I could do this blog without them.

This is a Nightingale by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) from The Poet's Echo, six settings of poems by Pushkin that Britten wrote when he was on holiday in Russia in 1965, and dedicated to megastar cellist Rostropovich and his wife, the megastar soprano Galina Vishnevskaya.

You'll hear the Nightingale singing delicately on the piano, with a strange twilight quality that always makes so much of Britten's music a bit uncomfortable to listen to. But in a good way.

The Poet's Echo

4. The Nightingale and the Rose

V bezmolvii sadov, vesnoj, vo mgle nochej,
pajot nad rozoju vostochnyj solovej.
No roza milaja ne chuvstvujet, ne vnemlet,
I pod vljublennyj gimn kolebletsja i dremlet.
Ne tak li ty pajosh’ dlja khladnoj krasoty?
Opomnis’, o po’et, k chemu stremish’sja ty?
Ona ne slushajet, ne chuvstvujet po’eta;
gljadish’ – ana cvetet; zyvajesh’ – net atveta.

The garden’s dark and still; ’tis spring; no night wind blows.
He sings! the nightingale, his love song to the rose.
She does not hearken, his rose beloved, disdainful,
and to his amorous hymn, she dozes, nodding and swaying.
With such words would you melt cold beauty into fire?
O poet, be aware how far you would aspire!
She is not listening, no poems can entrance her;
you gaze; she only flowers; you call her; there’s no answer.


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