Anna Akhmatova, Text.
SATB a cappella (2004) ca. 3’
Premiered by San Francisco Choral Artists, Magen Solomon, director.
Listen to a recording of the Cantilena Chamber Choir, Andrea Goodman, director:
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Anna Akhmatova was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1889 and lived there through the terrible times of the Russian Revolution and Stalin’s reign, dying in 1966. Unlike many of her contemporaries in the intelligentsia, she elected to remain in Russia at great personal risk. This small poem is a beautiful testament to how the will of the people and the reality of the state can be so painfully at odds with one another.
Nyet, i nye pod chuzhdim nyebosvodom,
I nye pod zashchitoy chuzhdykh kryl
Ya byla togda s’moim narodom,
Tam, gdye moy narod, k’nyeschastyu, byl.
No, not under the vault of alien skies,
and not under the shelter of alien wings —
I was with my people then,
There, where my people, unfortunately, were.
-trans. Orlando Figes
1 thought on “Rekviem”
It is not easy to find music based on texts by Akhmatova, and this, her most famous poem, is extremely moving. This piece is quite “serviceable” for any program emphasizing the power of poetry when linked with music and vice-versa. The work is about 3 minutes in length and is of medium difficulty. A Russian language coach on hand is highly recommended, as is the work!