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Mussorgsky`s “Songs and Dances of Death” for Tenor in St. Petersburg

Alexander Raskatov`s adaptation of Modest Mussorgsky`s “Songs and Dances of Death” for Tenor and Orchestra with intermezzi will be given its world premiere on 26 May 2012 in St. Petersburg.

Raskatov has kept strictly to the original keys as selected by Mussorgsky, so that the vocal cycle, the orchestrations of which so far (by Shostakovich, Denisov and Raskatov himself) require a bass solo, are now also performable by a tenor soloist. The interludes inserted between the individual movements by Raskatov already in his first version (for bass and orchestra) reveal themselves to be ingenious transitions that give the cycle the effect of having been cast from one mould.

The world premiere of this adaptation is part of the opening concert of the “Twentieth Music Festival Stars of the White Nights.” The Orchestra of the Mariinski Theatre will perform under the direction of Valery Gergiev.

Modest Mussorgsky`s “Songs and Dances of Death” were composed during the years 1875 to 1877. During his lifetime, Mussorgsky found no possibility of publishing his cycle, which he himself once called “Totentanzlieder.“ The text is by Arseny Golenishchev-Kutuzov, of whom Mussorgsky was a personal friend.

Alexander Raskatov confesses that he has always found Mussorgsky`s “Songs and Dances of Death” to be a kind of “musical Bible.” For each composer who attempts a new instrumentation of the work, it becomes increasingly difficult to add new aspects when following up on these great paragons. He, however, has especially concentrated on the many nuances still to be found in the texts.

Further performances of this Raskatov adaptation under the direction of Valery Gergiev are planned for 2 June 2012 in St. Petersburg at the festival “New Horizons” and for 30 July 2012 in Salzburg at the Salzburg Festival.

26 May 2012
St. Petersburg
Mariinski Theatre, Concert Hall, 5 PM
World premiere: Modest Mussorgsky / Alexander Raskatov
”Songs and Dances of Death” for tenor and orchestra with intermezzi
Orchestra of the Mariinski Theatre
Valery Gergiev (direction)

 

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