Four Monologues on Verses by Alexander Pushkin
Four Monologues on Verses by A. Pushkin
for bass and piano
The second Pushkin cycle was written in the autumn of 1952. In contrast to the poems of the first cycle, the composer called the new compositions ‘monologues’.
The four vocal miniatures were notated one after the other in four days, which is shown by the dates in the fair author’s manuscript, ‘Fragment [In a Jewish Hut]’ on 5 October, ‘What Does My Name Mean to You?…’ on 6 October, ‘In the Depths of the Siberian Mines…’ on 7 October, and ‘Farewell’ on 8 October. The romances were based on Pushkin’s short poems of the same names, apart from the first item, which the composer titled ‘Fragment’ (in the author’s original the verse does not have a name).
There is no information about the premiere of the four monologues.
Despite the actual absence of romances Op. 91 in the concert repertoire of vocalists, there were nevertheless printed editions of the cycle. The first edition was done in 1960 (Sovetsky kompozitor, Moscow). In 1967, the first foreign publication of the cycle with Russian and German texts came out (Edition Peters).
There are a few recordings of the romances of the cycle Op. 91, which appeared during Shostakovich’s lifetime, as there are of Op. 46: performed by Askold Besedin and Lyubov Yedlina and the Czechoslovak duet Jaromír Vavruška and Jiří Pokorný. The discography that appeared after 1975 is more extensive.
The cycle was orchestrated by Gennadi Rozhdestvensky and recorded under his direction, with Anatoli Safiulin as the soloist and the USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra.