Georgy Sviridov (1915–1998) was born in of Fatezh in the Kursk Governorate in 1915, his compositional and musical talents revealed themselves early and he moved to Leningrad while still a teenager to study music. Within a few years he became one of Shostakovitch’s pupils at the Leningrad conservatory his music is mostly in a neo-romantic style and covers a variety of genres but his métier was choral music and songs many of which became very popular the moment they were published and which remain a popular part of the Russian choral repertoire to this day.
The Bells of Dawn sets a text by Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) and is an atmospheric and somewhat wistful meditation on youth and the passing of time. It begins and ends with abbreviated rhythmical phrases sung by a soprano that echo across Russia’s expanses, as the the song progresses Sviridov combines three musical layers – a dense and richly textured choral foundation overlaid by the soprano and baritone soloists to create a feeling of spaciousness and remoteness that evokes Russia and by extension the vastness of time. The effect is both otherworldly and beautiful. Enjoy :-)
Gyorgy Sviridov (1915–1998): Zoryu b’yut – The Bells of Dawn
Zoryu b’yut…iz ruk moikh
The Bells of dawn… from my hands
Zvuk privïchnïy, zvuk zhivoy,
A familiar, alive sound,
Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)
The Bells of Dawn.
English translation & transliteration: Anastasia Belina-Johnson
- Grand Choir, also known as “Masters of Choral Singing” conducted by Prof. Lev Kontorovich.
- Dmitri Hvorostovsky.