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Oxford Lieder Live Online


Trepak (1875)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Songs and Dances of Death ('Pesni i pljaski smerti')


Les da poljany, bezljud'e krugom.
V'juga i plachet i stonet,
Chujetsja, budto vo mrake nochnom,
Zlaja, kogo-to khoronit;
Gljad', tak i jest'! V temnote muzhika
Smert' obnimajet, laskajet,
S p'janen'kim pljashet vdvojom trepaka,
Na ukho pesn' napevajet:
Oj, muzhichok, starichok ubogoj,
P'jan napilsja, popljolsja dorogoj,
A mjatel'-to, ved'ma, podnjalas', vzygrala.
S polja v les dremuchij nevznachaj zagnala.
Gorem, toskoj da nuzhdoj tomimyj,
Ljag, prikorni, da usni, rodimyj!
Ja tebja, golubchik moj, snezhkom sogreju,
Vkrug tebja velikuju igru zateju.
Vzbej-ka postel', ty mjatel'-lebjodka!
Gej, nachinaj, zapevaj pogodka!
Skazku, da takuju, chtob vsju noch' tjanulas',
Chtob p'janchuge krepko pod nejo zasnulos'!
Oj, vy lesa, nebesa, da tuchi,
Tem', veterok, da snezhok letuchij!
Svejtes' pelenoju, snezhnoj, pukhovoju;
Jeju, kak mladenca, starichka prikroju...
Spi, moj druzhok, muzhichok schastlivyj,
Leto prishlo, rascvelo!
Nad nivoj solnyshko smejotsja da serpy gljajut,
Pesenka nesjotsja, golubki letajut...

Trepak (Russian Dance)

Forests and glades, not a soul in sight.
A blizzard wails and howls.
In the darkness of night,
It is as if someone is being buried by some evil force:
Just look – it is so! In the darkness,
Death tenderly embraces a peasant,
Leading the drunken man in a lively dance,
And singing this song in his ear:
‘Oh, poor peasant, pitiful old man,
Drunk and stumbling on your way,
And the blizzard, like a witch, rose up and raged,
Driving you by chance from the field into the deep woods.
Oppressed by grief and sadness and want,
Lay down, rest and sleep, my dear!
I will warm you, my friend, with a cover of snow,
Weaving a great game around you.
Whip up a bed, oh swan-like snowstorm!
Hey, you elements, strike up a song,
Spin a tale that will last all night,
So that that old drunk might sleep soundly to its strains!
Hey, you woods and heavens and storm clouds,
Darkness and winds and driving snow!
Spin him a shroud of downy snow,
And I will swathe the old man, like a new-born child…
Sleep, my friend, you fortunate peasant,
Summer has come, all in bloom!
The sun smiles down on the cornfield and the sickles glimmer,
A song wafts across the air and the doves are flying…’

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Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (21 March 1839 – 28 March 1881) was a Russian composer. He was an innovator of Russian music in the romantic period. He strove to achieve a uniquely Russian musical identity, often in deliberate defiance of the established conventions of Western music. Many of his works were inspired by Russian history, Russian folklore, and other national themes.

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