Six Romances and Songs, Op. 27

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Tchaikovsky's Six Romances and Songs (Шесть романсов и песен), Op. 27 (TH 98 ; ČW 232-237), were written in March and April 1875 in Moscow.

Contents

Instrumentation

Scored for medium voice (Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6) or low voice (No. 2), with piano accompaniment.

Movements and Duration

  1. At Bedtime (На сон грядущий)
    Adagio misterioso (B-flat minor, 64 bars).
  2. Look, Yonder Cloud (Смотри: вон облако)
    Andante semplice (C minor, 56 bars).
  3. Do Not Leave Me (Не отходи от меня)
    Andante amoroso (F major, 69 bars).
  4. Evening (Вечер)
    Moderato assai (B-flat major, 40 bars).
  5. Was it the Mother Who Bore Me? (Али мать меня роэжала)
    Allegro non troppo. Tempo di Mazurka (E-flat minor, 95 bars).
  6. My Spoiled Darling (Моя баловница)
    Allegro con spirito. Tempo di Mazurka (A major, 145 bars) — 1st version
    Allegretto con spirito. Tempo di Mazurka (A major, 99 bars) — 2nd version.

Texts

  1. Nikolay Ogaryov (1813–1877), from his poem of the same name (early 1840s?)
  2. Nikolay Grekov (1810–1866), from his poem Stanzas (Стансы) (by 1860)
  3. Afanasy Fet (1812–1892), from an untitled poem in his cycle Melodies (Мелодии) (1842)
  4. Lev Mey (1822–1862), after Taras Shevchenko (1814–1861), from his poem of the same name (1859) — a translation from the Ukrainian of Taras Shevchenko's (1841–1861) poem The Little Cherry-Orchard (Садок вишневий коло хати) from his cycle In the Casement (В каземат) (1847)
  5. Lev Mey, after Teofil Lenartowicz (1822–1893), from his poem of the same name (1857) — a translation from the Polish of Teofil Lenartowicz's (1822–1893) ballad Tęsknota (1843) [1]
  6. Lev Mey, from his poem Pieszczotka moja (1849) — a translation from the Polish of Adam Mickiewicz's (1798–1855) poem Do D.D.: Wizyta in the collection Sonety odeskie (1826)

In the romance Was it the Mother Who Bore Me? the last two lines of each verse are omitted.

Composition

The history of these romances is undocumented. They were probably composed sometime between mid/late March (after the Six Romances, Op. 25) and 7/19 April 1875 (the date they were received by Pyotr Jurgenson, as noted on the manuscript).

The romance My Spoiled Darling (No. 6) survives in two versions. The second version, which was completed by 5/17 November 1890 [2] has significant differences compared to the original, most notably the omission of the entire central episode, and the change of tempo marking from 'Allegro con spirito' to 'Allegretto con spirito'.

A letter from Boris Jurgenson to Sergey Taneyev of 7/20 January 1908 reveals more about the origins of the second version: "I am sending you P. I. Tchaikovsky's romance My Spoiled Darling in two versions—old and new. The new version dates from so long ago that we had completely forgotten about it, but for some reason Pyotr Ilyich made significant alterations, as you will see by comparing the new version against the old. However, we can only assume that he made the changes he set the new version aside (otherwise we would have published both). What do you think about resurrecting the old version? Do you happen to remember anything about this romance's history?" [3].

Sergey Taneyev replied on 14/27 January 1908: "Until now Pyotr Ilyich's romance My Spoiled Darling has only been known to me in its earlier version. Since this romance has become long-established in its present form. it seems to me that if the two were to be published they should be distinguished as "original version" and "later reworking", or something of that sort. Various singers, having learned this romance in its present form, might only with some difficulty be persuaded to purchase a new, revised edition. The fact that the author did not consider it necessary to bring out the alternative version during his lifetime will cause people to be reluctant to discard the first version" [4].

In its first edition the romance was published in its old form, in the second (from 1892) it appeared in its new version, albeit with the earlier plate number. This was probably one of the romances that Tchaikovsky wanted to revise for republication [5]. It is possible that the romance was revised as a result of César Cui's criticism of "deviations from the verses of such a brilliant poet as Mickiewicz" [6].

Performances

The romance Evening (No. 4) was performed, possibly for the first time, by Aleksandra Svyatoslovskaya in Moscow on 17/29 December 1876, at the sixth symphony concert of the Russian Musical Society.

Publication

The romances were published by Pyotr Jurgenson in May 1875 [7]. A new edition, containing the second version of My Spoiled Darling (No. 6), was issued by Jurgenson in August 1892.

The set (including both versions of No. 6) was published in volume 44 of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works (1940), edited by Ivan Shishov and Nikolay Shemanin.

Arrangements

The romance Do Not Leave Me (No. 3) was orchestrated by Sergey Taneyev in 1891, and this arrangement was published by Pyotr Jurgenson in 1892.

Autographs

Tchaikovsky's manuscript scores of all six romances are now preserved in the Glinka National Museum Consortium of Musical Culture in Moscow (ф. 88, No. 136).

Recordings

See: Six Romances and Songs, Op. 27: Recordings

Dedication

All the romances are dedicated to Yelizaveta Lavrovskaya.

Notes and References

  1. In the autograph and most printed editions the original poem is erroneously attributed to Adam Mickiewicz — see Richard D. Sylvester, Tchaikovsky's complete songs. A companion with texts and translations (2002), p. 90 [back]
  2. See Letter 4251 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 5/17 November 1890  [back]
  1. Letter from Boris Jurgenson to Sergey Taneyev, 7/20 January 1908 — Klin House-Museum Archive [back]
  2. Letter from Sergey Taneyev to Boris Jurgenson, 14/27 January 1908 — State Central Archive for Literature and the Arts [back]
  3. See Letter 4249 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 3/15 November 1890 [back]
  4. See Петербургские ведомости (1876), No. 9 [back]
  5. Passed by the censor on 8/20 April 1875 [back]