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Sibelius & Rachmaninov Songs


Credits Tracklist Programme note Sung texts and translations Biographies

Sibelius &




Post-production Julia Thomas


Recorded in Snape Maltings, UK, on 23–25 September 2014 and 8 July 2016 Recording Producer & Engineer Philip Hobbs

Cover Image Photograph by Richard Ecclestone MENU


Sibelius & Rachmaninov Songs


Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) Five Christmas Songs, Op. 1 1 — Nu står jul vid snöig port (‘Christmas stands at the snowy gate’) 1:49

Five Songs, Op. 37 10 — Den första kyssen (‘The first kiss’) 1:53

2 — Nu så kommer julen (‘Christmas is now coming’) 2:47

12 — Soluppgång (‘Sunrise’) 2:22

11 — Lasse liten (‘Little Lasse’) 1:55 13 — Var det en dröm? (‘Was it a dream?’) 2:08

3 — Det mörknar ute (‘It’s getting dark outside’) 1:39

14 — Flickan kom ifrån sin älsklings möte (‘The girl returned from meeting her lover’) 2:57

4 — Giv mig ej glans, ej guld, ej prakt (‘I seek no gold or majesty’) 3:16 5 — On hanget korkeat (‘The frost engraves all the window panes’) 2:29 6 — På verandan vid havet (‘On the balcony by the sea’), Op. 38 No. 2 3:24 7 — Norden (‘The North’), Op. 90 No. 1 2:26 8 — Svarta rosor (‘Black roses’), Op. 36 No. 1 2:22 9 — Säv, säv, susa (‘Reed, reed, rustle’), Op. 36 No. 4 2:41




Sergei Rachmaninov (1873–1943) 15 — Letter to K S  Stanislavsky 2:56 16 — Siren’ (‘Lilacs’), Op. 21 No. 5 1:50 17 — Zdes’ khorosho (‘How nice it is here’), Op. 21 No. 7 1:55 18 — Na smert’ chizhika (‘On the death of a linnet’), Op. 21 No. 8 2:50 19 — Khristos voskres (‘Christ is risen’), Op. 26 No. 6 2:45 20 — K detjam (‘To the children’), Op. 26 No. 7 3:14 21 — V molchan’i nochi tajnoj (‘In the silence of the mysterious night’), Op. 4 No. 3 2:42 22 — Ne poj, krasavitsa, pri mne (‘Do not sing to me, my beauty’), Op. 4 No. 4 4:35 23 — Vesennije vody (‘Spring waters’), Op. 14 No. 11 2:09 Special thanks to our friend Pearce Rood whose kindness, encouragement over the years and financial support have made this recording possible.


© Richard Ecclestone



Sibelius & Rachmaninov Songs


Jean Sibelius and Sergei Rachmaninov grew up in one another’s backyard. For both aspiring composers, St Petersburg was the nearest major musical hub: 390 kilometers east of Sibelius’s Helsinki and a comparable 265 kilometers north west of the Rachmaninov family estate at Veliky Novgorod. As a Grand Duchy of the Empire, Finland was a playground for the Russian aristocracy of which Rachmaninov was a member. He is known to have visited the well-heeled Konstantin Kapitanovich Ushkov, which would have brought him within a few kilometers of Sibelius’s villa Ainola (Ushkov had built himself a rather grander abode, known as Syväranta, nearby). Sibelius long felt the urge to travel east across the border to the bright musical lights of St Petersburg. On one such trip in 1906, he dropped in on the concert series established by Rachmaninov’s cousin Alexander Siloti.



Can a parallel symbiosis be traced in the music of these two composers, born within a decade of one another? Yes and no. Despite their differently shaded relationships to conventional tonality, both reflected on their predicaments as lost souls in the brave new musical world of the twentieth century. But however out of step they might have felt, their music proved magnetically attractive and was highly structurally innovative (both composers made it onto the very short ‘shortlist’ of foreign names drawn up by the Vienna Conservatory in its dramatic search for a professor of composition in 1912). Rachmaninov’s songs may well have exercised some influence on those of Sibelius and there is a slim chance the process was reciprocated. Of more significance is that both these large-scale musical architects found a particular mode of expression in vocal miniatures, at the heart of whose quietness and delicacy is a certain communion with nature. Sibelius’s musical language matured at a time of national resentment in the face of Russian rule, and the resulting process of nation-building fostered direct contact between urban artists and practitioners of Finland’s rural folk arts. For musicians, that meant the living tradition of runic singing  – the recounting of mythical stories through song. A long way from bourgeois art song in every sense, runic song was founded on repetition, layering and phasing, and played a significant role in shaping Sibelius’s large-scale musical structures from Kullervo to Tapiola.


Rarely do we sense the hypnotic repetitions of the rune singers in Sibelius’s songs, despite the occasional glimpse of the intense focus with which they practised their craft. Sibelius’s songs grew more from the European soil of the Lutheran chorale, before taking on elements of the salon romance, embracing magical modernity and emerging full circle with some of the mysterious power of the rune singers almost by accident. Some way down that path, Sibelius might have learnt from Rachmaninov – and certainly from Richard Strauss – that the ‘concert song’ was a viable alternative to the more introspective German lied style. Purposefully entwined with Lutheran ideals of perseverance, industry, stoicism and individual freedom, the stories of Zachris Topelius were bread and butter to the young Sibelius. In literary terms Topelius was Finland’s answer to Hans Christian Andersen but, even more significantly, he was a man who helped forge a pictorial idea of Finland in the eyes of his countrymen. Like Sibelius and most Finnish poets of the time, he wrote in Swedish. The central work of the Five Christmas Songs, Op. 1, is ‘Giv mig ej glans’ (‘I seek no gold’), in which standard four-bar phrases are anchored by underlying pedal notes. With Topelius’s very Finnish shunning of pomp and pomposity, ‘Giv mig ej glans’ has become a sonic staple of the country’s Christmas celebrations. The song and companions, written variously between 1897 and 1913 (do not be misled by the opus number), speak of Christmas as a beacon of warmth and light in the Nordic winter, concerned as much with shared humanity as individual spirituality. Only one, ‘On hanget korkeat’ (‘The frost engraves all the



window panes’), sets a text in Finnish, not from the pen of Topelius but Wilkku Joukahainen. All are simple, strophic ditties that underline what an aesthetic touchstone the Lutheran tradition was to the composer both musically and temperamentally. Sibelius’s relationship with the Swedish language, much like his songs themselves, was bound up with fluctuating expressive ideals. He felt more comfortable speaking, writing and setting music in Swedish, his mother tongue, despite being happy for the nationalistic cause to tether him to more ‘everyman’ Finnish. As a result, Swedish texts probably induced more personal truths in the composer – thus dominating his song output – while he associated Finnish with overt nationalistic statements. If any one piece argues that case, it is ‘På verandan vid havet’ (‘On the balcony by the sea’), Op. 38 No. 2, a coiled dialogue between singer and pianist written in 1903 that recounts an expressionistic poem by Viktor Rydberg. Quite apart from the song’s sprinkling of slippery tritones, its proto-cinematic piano writing and its combination of cool symbolism with shrieking angst, it is remarkable for its divorcing of the piano from the voice while giving the impression of a self-contained, floating recitative. It is hard to imagine a genre other than song in which Sibelius could have achieved anything similar, despite the fact, of course, that in later orchestral works he would.



Johan Ludvig Runeberg was statistically Sibelius’s favourite poet and the first from Finland to achieve international prominence. In ‘Norden’ (‘The North’), Op. 90 No. 1, the composer responds to Runeberg’s symbolic image of the national bird of the Nordic countries and its mournful migration. If we sense the strange alchemy of late Sibelius in ‘På verandan vid havet’, there is more in this piece, written just as Finland untethered itself from Russia in 1917 only to collapse into civil war. In that context, Sibelius created a picture of both nationalistic nostalgia and national crisis, built on a single phrase spread over a continuous crescendo. When resolution finally comes, it is only from the fingers of the pianist. Topelius appears once more in ‘Lasse liten’ (‘Little Lasse’) from the all-Swedish Five Songs, Op. 37, in which the childlike sentiments of the text and vocal line are eddied by the adult urges of the piano accompaniment. All five poems used in the songs, whose chronology hovers around the turn of the century, deal in some way with death. Two are by Runeberg. The composer’s expressivity was blossoming in these pieces but he was yet to move away from the directness and architectural formality that rooted his song writing until the second decade of the century, despite the suggestive nature of some of the poems. There is a fatalistic shroud wrapped around Runeberg’s ‘Den första kyssen’ (‘The first kiss’), while the protagonist of same poet’s ‘Flickan kom ifrån sin älsklings möte’ (‘The girl returned from meeting her lover’) pours out her tragic secret as if to hold anyone with ears in an embrace. Months before Sibelius wrote the song in Berlin in  January  1901,



his daughter Kirsti had died of typhus. ‘Var det en dröm?’ (‘Was it a dream?’) recedes once more, setting a poem by Josef Julius Wecksell and occupying its own intangible hinterland like the dream it describes. In ‘Soluppgång’ (‘Sunrise’), Sibelius responds evocatively to Tor Hedberg’s final poetic description of a Nordic sunrise. That Sibelius indulged in experimentation in his songs is clear from one of the most famous, ‘Svarta rosor’ (‘Black roses’), Op. 36 No. 1, which, despite its national romantic residue and neat proportions, betrays few of its creator’s stylistic fingerprints. Some say the qualities of Ida Ekman’s soprano voice, for which it was written in 1899, shaped the piece. But the blunt, ominous harmonies underneath Ernst Josephson’s line ‘ty sorgen har nattsvarta rosor’ (‘for grief has roses black as night’) once more foreshadow the composer’s late style. From the same Op. 36 set, ‘Säv, säv, susa’ (‘Reed, reeds, rustle’), Op. 36 No. 4, tells of a young girl’s suicidal drowning via a poem by Gustaf Fröding. Perhaps in this sorry tale, also conceived for Ekman’s voice, we hear something of the frenzied but focused intensity of the rune singers, while the piano sways like waterside reeds. There were no divided linguistic loyalties for Rachmaninov, whose creative life was rooted in the clustered consonants and liquid vowels of Russian. As a language, Russian is kinder to singers than Swedish or Finnish, and Rachmaninov counted some of the finest Russian vocalists of his time among his friends. One was the great Feodor Chaliapin, who in 1908 attended a party to mark the tenth anniversary of Konstantin Stanislavsky’s ensemble at



the Moscow Arts Theatre. Rachmaninov was otherwise engaged, so wrote and then set a letter of simultaneous apology and congratulation to Stanislavsky, which he arranged for Chaliapin to sing in his absence. Despite having its tongue in its cheek – it includes banal greetings and a post-script – it has a moving nobility at its core. In contrast, it was the greats of Russian poetry who inspired Rachmaninov to write most of his 80-something songs, the last of which arrived in 1916, just before the Russian Revolution saw Sibelius’s Finland freed but Rachmaninov forced into Scandinavian and later American exile. The first batch was written between 1890 and 1893 soon after the composer’s graduation from the Moscow Conservatoire. It was labeled Op. 4 and includes a setting of Alexander Pushkin’s ‘Ne poj, krasavitsa, pri mne’ (‘Do not sing to me, my beauty’) notable for its Oriental glances and the particularly evocative ‘V molchan’i nochi tajnoj’ (‘In the silence of the mysterious night’), reflecting a poem by Afanasy Fet with anguished falling sixths. As that piece illustrates, Rachmaninov’s songs were rooted musically in the romans of Tchaikovsky and Glinka – the very works whose Romantic expression had combined with Lutheran steel to deliver the distinct atmosphere of so many of Sibelius’s – which itself owed much to the French tradition. But as Rachmaninov’s prowess and power at the keyboard grew, so did the scale and expressive reach of his songs. In ‘Vesennije vody’ (‘Spring waters’) from the set labeled Op. 14, written in 1896 to a text by Fyodor Tyutchev, we hear spring burst into life via cascading virtuosity from the pianist.



There was, however, a stylistic shift on the way and it had arrived by 1902 when Rachmaninov delivered his Op. 21 songs. Not only was the composer newly married – the songs were committed to paper during his honeymoon in Lucerne and an atmosphere of blissful intimacy pervades them – but he was also fresh from valuable experiences as an opera conductor. Now, the piano part is less demonstrative and more poised, throwing the focus back onto the singer who is afforded a little more expressive space even in apparently simplified music. That is particularly evident in ‘Siren’’ (‘Lilacs’), where a bittersweet text by Ekaterina Beketova hangs on an unassuming melody, itself draped over a startlingly focused accompaniment. Rachmaninov dedicated ‘Zdes’ khorosho’ (‘How nice it is here’) to his new wife Natalya Satina, infusing Glafira Galina’s text with a guarded joy that envisages their new life together. It stands in direct contrast to the resignation of its immediate successor ‘Na smert’ chizhika’ (‘On the death of a linnet’), to a text by Vasily Zhukovsky filled with the northern melancholy that proved such fertile ground for Rachmaninov.



By 1906, Rachmaninov had joined the staff of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, an experience blighted by unsuccessful attempts to birth his own career as an opera composer. Once more, the art of song was on hand to quench the composer’s thirst to wed music to words, and his set of fifteen songs Op. 26 was written during a retreat to the family estate in August of that year. Once more, the expression is simple in the adjacent ‘Khristos voskres’ (‘Christ is risen’) and ‘K detjam’ (To the children’), with texts by Dmitry Merezhkovsky and Aleksey Khomyakov. At the time, Rachmaninov’s daughter Irina was unwell. The composer was not a churchgoer, but Christian sentiments and scriptures are found in a significant proportion of his works. It is not inconceivable that for Rachmaninov, as for Sibelius, nature was itself a reflection of the sacred and that the passing of the seasons – felt keenly at the latitudes where all these songs were written – served as its cyclic liturgy.

© Andrew Mellor, 2018



© Richard Ecclestone



1 — Nu står jul vid snöig port Christmas stands at the snowy gate



Nu står jul vid snöig port, klappar på och myser: ”Kära barn släpp in mig fort! Här står jag och fryser. Se, min korg är full och tung! Båd’ åt gammal och åt ung jar jag gåvor rara; får jag hos dig vara?” ”Ja, kom, ja, kom, kära jul!”

Christmas stands at the snowy gate, and knocks with a happy smile: ‘Quick, dear children, let me in! It’s freezing out here. Look, my basket is heavy and laden with special gifts for both old and young; will you invite me in?’ ‘Come in, yes come in, dear Christmas!’

”Jag för med mig tända ljus och en gran från skogen, frid och fröjd i varje hus, vänskap så förtrogen. Fattig man skall ej bli glömd, där han hungrar tyst och gömd, och var sorg, som gråter, skall bli tröstad åter.” ”Ja, kom, ja, kom, kära jul!”

‘I’ve brought candles to light and a fir tree from the forest, in every home will be peace and joy, friendship and affection. The poor shall not be forgotten wherever they starve, quiet and hidden, and every sorrow, every tear will be comforted.’ ‘Come in, yes come in, dear Christmas!’

Zachris Topelius (1818–1898)

© David McCleery, 2018


2 — Nu så kommer julen 1913


Christmas is now coming

Nu så kommer julen! Nu är julen här, litet mörk och kulen, men ändå så kär.

Christmas is now coming! Christmas is now here, a little dark and chilly, but it’s still a time so dear.

Han i salen träder med så hjärtligt sinn’, och i högtidskläder dansa barnen in.

He steps into the hall with a kind and generous heart and the children dance in, dressed up in their very finest.

Ljusen och lanternan glimma högt kring dem, som den klara stjärnan över Betlehem.

The candles and the lanterns shine down on them from above just as the brightest star shone down over Bethlehem.

Brinn, du julens stjärna, lys min barndomsstig! O, så gärna, gärna ser jag upp till dig,

Burn bright, O star of Christmas, light the path of my childhood! Oh so gladly, so very gladly do I look up at you,


som jag dig förstode, liten liksom jag var också den gode frälsaren en dag.

you taught me to understand that like me, the good saviour was once a small child.

Och då sken du redan på hans krubba klar, och så sken du sedan allt till våra dar.

And just as back then you shone your light brightly on his manger, you’ve shone your light ever since brightly on all our days.

O du goda, fromma, glada juletid! Du vår vinterblomma, full av fröjd och frid!

Oh good and holy, happy Yuletide! You are our winter flower, filled with joy and peace!

Tusen skalkar gunga ystra på ditt knä, och små änglar sjunga kring vårt juleträ.

A thousand young waifs and strays play raucously on your knee, while tiny angels sing merrily around our Christmas tree.

Glatt med dem sig blandar barnens fröjdeljud. Alla goda andar lova Herren Gud.

Amongst this all rings out the sound of children’s joy. Every good living soul praises the Lord our God.

Zachris Topelius (1818–1898)

© David McCleery, 2018



3 — Det mörknar ute 1897


It’s getting dark outside

Det mörknar ute och vindens sus far över de dunkla dalar; natt faller över den armes hus och rikemans stolta salar. Var är det ljus, var är det ljus som oss hugsvalar?

It’s getting dark outside and the sigh of the wind falls over the dark valleys; night is falling over the poor man’s house and over the rich man’s grand abode. Where is the light, where is the light which brings us comfort?

De eviga stjärnor stråla klart i däldernas dunkel neder. Av festliga ljus ett underbart, ett glänsande sken sig breder. Kom snart Guds ljus, kom snart Guds ljus, som allen oss lyser.

The eternal stars shine clear and bright in the darkest depths of the glens. A warm and wonderful beam of light radiates from festive candles. Oh light of God, come to us and shine brightly on us all.

Allt mörker ljusnar för Herren Krist som kom för att världen lysa. Guds helga änglar med oljekvist omskygga dem som frysa. I kväll skall visst, i kväll skall vår hydda änglarna hysa.

All darkness lifts for Christ our Lord who came to light our world. God’s holy angels with soothing balm embrace all those who suffer in the cold. Tonight the angels will for sure find shelter in our humble home.

Zachris Topelius (1818–1898)

© David McCleery, 2018 17

4 — Giv mig ej glans, ej guld, ej prakt

I seek no gold or majesty

1909 Giv mig ej glans, ej guld, ej prakt i signad juletid. Giv mig Guds ära, änglavakt och över jorden frid! Giv mig en fest som gläder mest, den konung, jag har bett till gäst! Giv mig ej glans, ej guld, ej prakt, giv mig en änglavakt!

I seek no gold or majesty, no pearl or shining gem, but Lord above, I pray to you for peace on earth to men! O Lord divine, my heart is yours, oh, let my thoughts to you incline! I seek no pearl or shining gem but peace on earth to men!

Giv mig ett hem på fosterjord, en gran med barn i ring, en kväll i ljus med Herrens ord och mörker däromkring! Giv mig ett bo med samvetsro, med glad förtröstan, hopp och tro! Giv mig ett hem på fosterjord och ljus av Herrens ord!

Among the children, in our home, give blessed harmony. The light that on the shepherds shone, oh, let it shine on me! O word of light, O truth and might, oh, shed your blessing glad and bright! O word of grace and pardon free: give peace and harmony!

Till hög, till låg, till rik, till arm, kom, helga julefrid! Kom barnaglad, kom hjärtevarm i världens vintertid! Du ende, som ej skiftar om min Herre och min konung, kom! Till hög, till låg, till rik, till arm kom glad och hjärtevarm! Zachris Topelius (1818–1898)

Let Christmas come to rich and poor, its brilliant light unfold, and with the wealth of God allure to heaven’s streets of gold! I long for you, I wait for you, O Lord, I need your charity! May rich and poor alike abide in peace at Christmastide! © Alexandra Glynn, 2009 18


5 — On hanget korkeat 1901


The frost engraves all the window panes

On hanget korkeat, nietokset, vaan joulu, joulu on meillä! On kylmät, paukkuvat pakkaset ja tuimat Pohjolan tuuloset, vaan joulu, joulu on meillä.

The frost engraves all the window panes, but Christmas comes with its treasure! The snow-quilts mantle the lakes and plains, the sun retreats, and the cold remains, yet Christmas comes with its treasure.

Me taasen laulamme riemuiten, kun joulu, joulu on meillä! Se valtaa sielun ja sydämen ja surun särkevi entisen, mi kasvoi elämän teillä!

Rejoice, rejoice, in the music glad, for Christmas comes with its treasure, erasing worries that make us sad, so we in joy and delight are clad, for Christmas comes with its treasure!

Oi käykää, ystävät laulamaan, kun joulu, joulu on meillä! Se tuttu, ystävä vanhastaan, on tänne poikennut matkoillaan ja viipyy hetkisen meillä.

O hush, and hark to the tidings true, for Christmas comes with its treasure! Come, friends and neighbours, the old and new, the Yuletide carol will comfort you and flood your spirit with pleasure.



Nyt tähtitarhoihin laulu soi, kun joulu, joulu on meillä! Nyt maasta taivaaseen päästä voi, jos sydän nöyrä on lapsen, oi, kun joulu, joulu on meillä!

The starlight joins in the harmony, for Christmas comes with its treasure! O heaven, teach us humility – as little children our souls will be, for Christmas comes with its treasure!

Oi anna, Jumala, armoas, kun joulu, joulu on meillä! Ja kansaa suojaa sun voimallas, meit’ auta näkemään taivaitas, kun joulu, joulu on meillä!

Your mercy give us, O God above, for Christmas comes with its treasure, the peace that rests like a velvet dove as we behold our redeemer’s love, for Christmas comes with its treasure!

Wilkku Joukahainen (1879–1929)

© Alexandra Glynn, 2009


6 — På verandan vid havet



On the balcony by the sea

Minns du de skimrande böljornas suck, att vid målet de hunnit endast en jordisk kust, icke det evigas strand? Minns du ett vemodssken från himlens ovanskliga stjärnor? Ack, åt förgängelsens lott skatta de även till slut. Minns du en tystnad, då allt var som sänkt i oändlighetsträngtan, stränder och himmel och hav, allt som i aning om Gud?

Do you remember the sigh of the shimmering waves, how they came to an end at a terrestrial coast, and not at the beach of eternity? Do you remember the melancholic light shining from heaven’s immortal stars? Alas, their final destiny was to burn out and die. Do you remember a silence, where everything sank into infinite yearning, sand, sea and sky, and everything created by God?

Viktor Rydberg (1828–1895)

© David McCleery, 2018


7 — Norden


The North 1917

Löven de falla, sjöarna frysa. Flyttande svanor, seglen, o seglen sorgsna till södern, söken dess nödspis, längtande åter; plöjen dess sjöar, saknande våra!

The leaves are falling, the lakes freeze over. Migrating swans glide, how they glide sorrowfully to the south, to seek refuge, impatient to return; they plough the lakes longing for ours!

Då skall ett öga se er från palmens skugga och tala: ”Tynande Svanor, vilken förtrollning vilar på norden? Den som från södern längtar, hans längtan söker en himmel.”

There, a beady eye will spot you from the shadow of a palm tree and say: ‘O melancholic swans, what sort of magic enchants the north? He who comes from the south has a yearning; he yearns to find paradise.’

Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804–1877)

© David McCleery, 2018 22

8 — Svarta rosor



Black roses

Säg varför är du så ledsen i dag, du, som alltid är så lustig och glad? Och inte är jag mera ledsen i dag än när jag tyckes dig lustig och glad; ty sorgen har nattsvarta rosor.

Tell me, why are you so sad today, you, who are always so cheerful and happy? And I am no more sad today as when I appear to you cheerful and happy; for grief has roses black as night.

I mitt hjärta där växer ett rosendeträd som aldrig nånsin vill lämna mig fred. Och på stjälkarne sitter det tagg vid tagg, och det vållar mig ständigt sveda och agg; ty sorgen har nattsvarta rosor.

In my heart a rose tree grows that will never leave me in peace. And on its branches sit thorn upon thorn, and it causes me constant pain and bitterness; for grief has roses black as night.

Men av rosor blir det en hel klenod, än vita som döden, än röda som blod. Det växer och växer. Jag tror jag förgår, i hjärtträdets rötter det rycker och slår; ty sorgen har nattsvarta rosor.

But from roses comes a whole treasure, white as death, red as blood. It grows and grows. I believe I will perish, my heart-tree’s roots wrench and beat; for grief has roses black as night.

Ernst Josephson (1851–1906)

© Anna Hersey, 2016


9 — Säv, säv, susa 1899


Reed, reed, rustle

Säv, säv, susa, våg, våg, slå, I sägen mig var Ingalill den unga månde gå?

Reed, reed, rustle, wave, wave, crash. Can you tell me where young Ingalill might have gone?

Hon skrek som en vingskjuten and, när hon sjönk i sjön, det var när sista vår stod grön.

She screamed like a duck with a broken wing, as she sank into the sea; that was the last spring, when all was green.

De voro henne gramse vid Östanålid, det tog hon sig så illa vid.

They turned against her at Östanålid, she took that to heart so badly.

De voro henne gramse för gods och gull och för hennes unga kärleks skull.

They begrudged her wealth and her gold and her young heart full of love.

De stucko en ögonsten med tagg, de kastade smuts i en liljas dagg.

They stuck thorns in the object of her desire and threw dirt at the lily dew.

Så sjungen, sjungen sorgsång, i sorgsna vågor små, säv, säv, susa, våg, våg, slå!

So sing, sing this song of sorrow, O small waves of sadness, reed, reed, rustle wave, wave, crash!

Gustaf Fröding (1860–1911)

© David McCleery, 2018

10 — Den första kyssen


The first kiss 1900

På silvermolnets kant satt aftonstjärnan, från lundens skymning frågte henne tärnan: Säg, aftonstjärna, vad i himlen tänkes, när första kyssen åt en älskling skänkes?

As the evening star sat on the edge of the cloud, the maiden asked her from the twilit grove: Tell me, evening star, what do they think in heaven when a lover receives her first kiss?

Och himlens blyga dotter hördes svara: På jorden blickar ljusets änglaskara, och ser sin egen sällhet speglad åter; blott döden vänder ögat bort och gråter.

And heaven’s bashful daughter replied: The angels look to earth and see the reflection of their bliss; only death turns away, and weeps.

Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804–1877)

© David McCleery, 2018


11 — Lasse liten


Little Lasse


Världen är så stor, så stor, Lasse, Lasse liten! Större än du nånsin tror, Lasse, Lasse liten!

The world is so big, so big, Lasse, little Lasse! Bigger than you’d ever think, Lasse, little Lasse!

Det är hett och det är kallt, Lasse, Lasse liten! Men Gud råder överallt, Lasse, Lasse liten!

It’s hot and it’s cold, Lasse, little Lasse! But God takes care of it all, Lasse, little Lasse!

Många mänskor leva där, Lasse, Lasse liten! Lycklig den som Gud har kär, Lasse, Lasse liten!

Lots of people live there, Lasse, little Lasse! And happy are those whom God loves, Lasse, little Lasse!

När Guds ängel med dig går, Lasse, Lasse liten! Ingen orm dig bita få, Lasse, Lasse liten!

When God’s angels are by your side, Lasse, little Lasse! No snake will poison you with its bite, Lasse, little Lasse!

Säg, var trives du nu mest, Lasse, Lasse liten? Borta bra men hemma bäst, Lasse, Lasse liten!

So, where do you like most to be, Lasse, little Lasse? Away is good, but home’s best for me, Lasse, little Lasse!

Zachris Topelius (1818–1898)

© David McCleery, 2018 26

12 — Soluppgång 1902



Under himlens purpurbrand ligga tysta sjö och land. Det är gryningsstunden. Snöig gren och frostvit kvist teckna sig så segervisst mot den röda grunden.

Beneath the purple sky lie silent seas and lands. The day is breaking. Snowy branches and frosty twigs cast their patterns victoriously over the red earth.

Riddarn står vid fönsterkarm, lyssnar efter stridens larm, trampar golvets tilja. Men en smal och snövit hand kyler milt hans pannas brand, böjer mjukt hans vilja.

The knight stands by the window, listens for the call to arms, paces the room, back and forth. But a small, snow white hand cools his fiery brow, gently calms his will.

Riddarn sätter horn till mun, blåser vilt i gryningsstund, över nejd som tiger. Tonen klingar, klar och spröd, branden slocknar, gyllenröd, solen sakta stiger.

The knight puts his bugle to his lips, blows wildly into the morning light towards the silent land. The sound rings out, bright and clear, the golden fire of dawn retreats and the sun slowly rises.

Tor Hedberg (1862–1931)

© David McCleery, 2018


13 — Var det en dröm? 1902


Was it a dream?

Var det en dröm, att ljuvt en gång jag var ditt hjärtas vän? Jag minns det som en tystnad sång, då strängen darrar än.

Was it a dream, that once upon a blissful time I was your heart’s friend? I remember it like a silent song whose melody still lingers on.

Jag minns en törnros av dig skänkt, en blick så blyg och öm; jag minns en avskedstår, som blänkt. Var allt, var allt en dröm?

I remember you gave me a rose with a look so shy and tender; I remember the glistening of a parting tear. Was it all just a dream?

En dröm lik sippans liv så kort uti en vårgrön ängd, vars fägring hastigt vissnar bort för nya blommors mängd.

A dream like a wildflower’s life, so brief in the verdant meadow, whose beauty quickly withers away within an ocean of new flowers.

Men mången natt jag hör en röst vid bittra tårars ström: göm djupt dess minne i ditt bröst, det var din bästa dröm!

But on many a night I hear a voice through a stream of bitter tears: hide this memory deep in your heart, for this was your best dream!

Josef Julius Wecksell (1838–1907)

© David McCleery, 2018 28

14 — Flickan kom ifrån sin älsklings möte

The girl returned from meeting her lover

1901 Flickan kom ifrån sin älsklings möte, kom med röda händer. Modern sade: ”Varav rodna dina händer, flicka?” Flickan sade: ”Jag har plockat rosor och på törnen stungit mina händer.”

The girl returned from meeting her lover, returned with red hands. Her mother asked: ‘Why are your hands red, daughter?’ The girl said: ‘I was picking roses and the thorns pricked my hands.’

Åter kom hon från sin älsklings möte, kom med röda läppar. Modern sade: ”Varav rodna dina läppar, flicka?” Flickan sade: ”Jag har ätit hallon och med saften målat mina läppar.”

Once more she returned from meeting her lover, returned with red lips. Her mother asked: ‘Why are your lips red, daughter?’ The girl said: ‘I was eating berries and the juice stained my lips.’

Åter kom hon från sin älsklings möte, kom med bleka kinder. Modern sade: ”Varav blekna dina kinder, flicka?” Flickan sade: ”Red en grav, o moder! Göm mig där och ställ ett kors däröver, och på korset rista, som jag säger:

Once more she returned from meeting her lover, returned with pale cheeks. Her mother asked: ‘Why are your cheeks pale, daughter?’ The girl said: ‘Dig me a grave, mother! Hide me there and place a cross on top, and engrave the cross with these words:

En gång kom hon hem med röda händer, ty de rodnat mellan älskarns händer. En gång kom hon hem med röda läppar, ty de rodnat under älskarns läppar. Senast kom hon hem med bleka kinder, ty de bleknat genom älskarns otro.”

Once she returned with red hands, red from being held between her lover’s hands. Once she returned with red lips, red from being caressed by her lover’s lips. Finally she returned with pale cheeks, pale from her lover’s betrayal.’

Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804–1877)

© David McCleery, 2018 29


15 — Pis’mo K. S. Stanislavskomu 1908


Letter to K S  Stanislavsky

Dorogoj Konstantin Sergejevich, ja pozdravljaju Vas ot chistoj dushi, ot vsego serdca! Za èti desjat’ let Vy shli vsjo vperjod i vperjod, i na ètom puti vy nashli, – Sinjuju pticu! – Ona vasha luchshaja pobeda! Teper’ ja ochen’ sozhaleju, chto ja ne v Moskve, chto ja ne mogu, vmeste so vsemi, Vas chestvovat’, Vam khlopat’, krichat’ Vam na vse lady: – Bravo, bravo! –, i zhelat’ Vam mnogaja, mnogaja, mnogaja let! Proshu Vas peredat’ vsej truppe moj privet, moj dushevnyj privet.

Dear Konstantin Sergevich, I congratulate you with my whole soul, from the bottom of my heart! For these ten years you have gone from strength to strength, and on that road you have arrived – The blue bird! It is your greatest victory! Now, I very much regret that I am not in Moscow, that I cannot, together with everyone, honour you, applaud you, shout at you in full chorus: – Bravo, bravo! –, and wish you many, many, many years! Please convey to the whole company my regards, my sincere regards.

Vash Sergej Rakhmaninov. Drezden, 14 oktjabrja 1908 g. Postskriptum: Zhena moja mne vtorit.

Your Sergei Rachmaninov. Dresden, 14 October 1908. PS, my wife echoes my words.

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873–1943)

© Anton Bespalov & Rianne Stam, 2004 30

16 — Siren’


Lilacs 1902

Po utru, na zare, po rosistoj trave, ja pojdu svezhim utrom dyshat’; i v dushistuju ten’, gde tesnitsja siren’, ja pojdu svoje schast’e iskat’…

In the morning, at daybreak, over the dewy grass, I will go to breathe the crisp dawn; and in the fragrant shade, where the lilac crowds, I will go to seek my happiness…

V zhizni schast’e odno mne najti suzhdeno, i to schast’e v sireni zhivjot; na zeljonykh vetvjakh, na dushistykh kistjakh mojo bednoje schast’e cvetjot…

In life, only one happiness it was fated for me to discover, and that happiness lives in the lilacs; in the green boughs, in the fragrant bunches, my poor happiness blossoms…

Ekaterina Beketova (1855–1892) 

© Anton Bespalov & Rianne Stam, 2004


17 — Zdes’ khorosho


How nice it is here 1902

Zdes’ khorosho… Vzgljani, vdali ognjom gorit reka; cvetnym kovrom luga legli, belejut oblaka. Zdes’ net ljudej… Zdes’ tishina… Zdes’ tol’ko Bog da ja. Cvety, da staraja sosna, da ty, mechta moja!

How nice it is here… Look, far away, the river is a blaze of fire; the meadows lie like carpets of colour, the clouds are white. Here there is no one… Here it is silent… Here are only God and I, the flowers, the old pine tree, and you, my dream!

Glafira Galina (1873–1942)

© Emily Ezust, 2018


18 — Na smert’ chizhika


On the death of a linnet 1902

V sem grobe vernyj chizhik moj! Prirody miloje tvoren’e, iz mirnoj oblosti zemnoj on uletel, kak snoviden’e.

In this little coffin lies my dear linnet! A darling creation of nature, from the peaceful earthly realm, he flew away, like a dream.

On dlja ljubvi na svete zhil, on nezhnoj pesenkoj privetnoj, za lasku nezhnuju platil, i podletal k ruke privetnoj.

He lived for love in this world, with his sweet chirping song, he repaid me for my caring affection when he flew towards my welcoming hand.

No v svete strashno i ljubit’: jemu byl dan druzhok krylatyj; chtob milogo ne perezhit’, on v grobe skrylsja ot utraty.

But even to love is perilous in this life. He had a winged tender friend; so as not to outlive a dear one, he escaped his loss in a coffin.

Vasily Zhukovsky (1783–1852)

© Sergey Rybin, 2018


19 — Khristos voskres 1906


Christ is risen

«Khristos voskres» pojut vo khrame; No grustno mne… dusha molchit. Mir polon krov’ju i slezami, i ètot gimn pred altarjami tak oskorbitel’no zvuchit.

‘Christ is risen’ they sing in church; yet I am sad… my soul is silent. The world is steeped in blood and tears, and so this hymn before the altars sounds like an insult.

Kogda-b On byl mezh nas i videl, chego dostig nash slavnyj vek, kak brata brat voznenavidel, kak opozoren chelovek, i jesli b zdes’, v blestjashchem khrame «Khristos voskres» on uslykhal, kakimi b gor’kimi slezami, pered tolpoj on, zarydal!

Were he present among us to see what our glorious age has achieved – how brother comes to hate his brother, and how shameful is mankind – and if, within the shining church, this ‘Christ is risen’ he were to hear, what bitter tears before the crowd would he sob!

Dmitry Merezhkovsky (1865–1941) 

© Shawn Thuris, 2005 34

20 — K detjam


To the children


By’valo, v glubokij polunochny’j chas, malyutki, pridu lyubovat’sya na vas; by’valo, lyublyu vas krestom znamenat’, molit’sya, da budet na vas blagodat’, lyubov’ Vsederzhitelya Boga.

It used to be, in the dark midnight hour, my little ones, I’d come to lovingly admire you; to mark you with the holy cross, and to pray that grace be with you, the love of Almighty God.

Sterech’ umilenno vash detskij pokoj, podumat’, o tom, kak vy’ chisty’ dushoj, nadeyat’sya dolgikh i schastlivy’kh dnej dlya vas, bezzabotny’kh i mily’kh detej, kak sladko, kak radostno by’lo!

To tenderly guard your childlike peace, to think how pure your souls were, and to hope for many long and happy days for you, my happy and sweet children, how happy and joyful I felt!

Teper’ prixozhu ya. Vezde temnota, net v komnate zhizni, krovatka pusta, v lampade pogas pred ikonoyu svet… Mne grustno, malyutok moikh uzhe net! I serdce tak bol’no sozhmetsya!

Now when I come – darkness is everywhere, there is no life in the bedroom, the cot is empty, the light before the icon has been extinguished… I’m sad that my little ones are no longer there! And my heart shrinks with pain!

O, deti! V glubokij polunochny’j chas, molites’ o tom, kto molilsya o vas, o tom, kto lyubil vas krestom znamenat’; molites’, da budet i s nim blagodat’, lyubov’ Vsederzhitelya Boga.

Oh children! In the dark midnight hour, pray for those who used to pray for you, for those who used to mark you with the holy cross; pray, that grace be with them, the love of Almighty God.

Aleksey Khomyakov (1804–1860)

© Sergey Rybin, 2018


21 — V molchan’i nochi tajnoj ?1892


In the silence of the mysterious night

O, dolgo budu ja, v molchan’i nochi tajnoj, kovarnyj lepet tvoj, ulybku, vzor sluchajnyj, perstam poslushnuju volos, volos tvojikh gustuju prjad’, iz myslej izgonjat’, i snova prizyvat’. Sheptat’ i popravljat’ bylye vyrazhen’ja rechej moikh s toboj, ispolnennykh smushchen’ja, i v op’janenii, naperekor umu, zavetnym imenem budit’ nochnuju t’mu.

Oh, for a long while, in the silence of the mysterious night, your beguiling murmur, smile, fleeting glance, a luscious strand of your hair, obedient to my fingers, will I banish from my thoughts, but then recall again. Whisper and reconsider the phrases of my embarrassed conversations with you, and, as if intoxicated, against all reason, with your cherished name, awaken the nightly darkness.

Afanasy Fet (1820–1892)

© Sergey Rybin, 2017


22 — Ne poj, krasavitsa, pri mne ?1892/3


Do not sing to me, my beauty

Ne poj, krasavitsa, pri mne ty pesen Gruzii pechal’noj; napominajut mne one druguju zhizn’ i bereg dal’nij.

Do not sing to me, my beauty, your sad songs of Georgia; they remind me of that other life and distant shore.

Uvy, napominajut mne tvoi zhestokije napevy i step’, i noch’, i pri lune cherty dalekoj, bednoj devy!

Alas, they remind me, your cruel melodies, of the steppe, the night and moonlit features of a poor, distant maiden!

Ja prizrak milyj, rokovoj, tebja uvidev, zabyvaju; no ty pojosh’, i predo mnoj jego ja vnov’ voobrazhaju.

That sweet and fateful apparition, I forget when you appear; but you sing, and before me, I picture that image anew.

Ne poj, krasavitsa, pri mne ty pesen Gruzii pechal’noj; napominajut mne one druguju zhizn’ i bereg dal’nij.

Do not sing to me, my beauty, your sad songs of Georgia; they remind me of that other life and distant shore.

Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837)

© Anton Bespalov & Rianne Stam, 2004 37

23 — Vesennije vody 1896


Spring waters

Jeshchjo v poljakh belejet sneg, a vody uzh vesnoj shumjat – begut i budjat sonnyj breg, begut, i bleshchut, i glasjat…

The fields are still whitened with snow, but the waters already roar with spring. They rush and awaken the sleepy riverbank, they rush, and sparkle, and proclaim…

Oni glasjat vo vse koncy: «Vesna idjot, vesna idjot! My molodoj vesny goncy, ona nas vyslala vperjod.

They proclaim to all corners of the earth: ‘Spring is coming, spring is coming! We are the heralds of the young spring, she has sent us forward.

Vesna idjot, vesna idjot, i tikhikh, teplykh majskikh dnej rumjanyj, svetlyj khorovod tolpitsja veselo za nej!»

Spring is coming, spring is coming, and the quiet, warm days of May in a bright and glowing round dance bustle joyfully behind her!’

Fyodor Tyutchev (1803–1873)

© Sergey Rybin, 2018


Jacques Imbrailo



Since his critically acclaimed portrayal of Billy Budd in Michael Grandage’s production for the Glyndebourne Festival, South African baritone Jacques Imbrailo has performed at many of the most prestigious opera houses throughout the world, collaborating with conductors, directors and orchestras of the highest stature. Operatic highlights have included his debut at the Teatro Real, Madrid, performing Billy Budd in a new production by Deborah Warner, Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles for the English National Opera, Horatio in Brett Dean’s Hamlet at the Glyndebourne Festival, Pelléas in Pelléas et Mélisande for the Opernhaus Zürich, the Royal Swedish Opera, the Welsh National Opera and the Opera Vlaanderen, Joachim Messner in the world premiere of Jimmy López’s Bel Canto at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the title role in Don Giovanni for the Perm Opera with Teodor Currentzis and for the Scottish Opera, Valentin in Gounod’s Faust in the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte for the Houston Grand Opera, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte for the Welsh National Opera, and Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia in Florence and Houston.


On the concert platform, Imbrailo has appeared in Britten’s War Requiem with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop, Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Robin Ticciati, and Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under the helm of Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. He performed Christ in Elgar’s The Apostles with The Hallé and Sir Mark Elder at the BBC Proms, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Orff’s Carmina Burana with the New York Philharmonic under Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and returned to the BBC Proms for James MacMillan A European Requiem. Imbrailo has given solo recitals at Wigmore Hall and St John’s Smith Square in London, and the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He also performed at the Verbier Festival, the Royal Albert Hall and the Southbank Centre. A former member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Imbrailo also studied at the Royal College of Music and in 2007 was awarded the Audience Prize at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition.



© Sim Canetty-Clarke



Alisdair Hogarth



With a prominent background in both solo and song-accompaniment, Alisdair Hogarth is a versatile pianist combining a robust technique with a fresh, contemporary approach. He made his concerto debut in 1996 as soloist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Queen Elizabeth Hall and has since performed with a variety of orchestras, including tours of Hungary and the Czech Republic. Hogarth has broadcast for BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. Performances have included recitals at Wigmore Hall, concerts at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Cadogan Hall, Bridgewater Hall and Philharmonic Hall, as well as recitals for international festivals. Committed to song-accompaniment, Hogarth is the Director and pianist of The Prince Consort. They made their Wigmore Hall debut in 2009 in which they were joined by Graham Johnson. Their first recording for Linn, Ned Rorem – On an echoing road, was Gramophone Editor’s Choice in addition to being named ‘Outstanding’ in International Record Review. The Prince Consort are Associate Artists of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s Vocal Department.


© Richard Ecclestone

Hogarth studied privately with Philip Fowke and at the Royal College of Music with John Blakely where he won the major prizes for piano accompaniment. He acknowledges the kind and generous support of Simon Yates, and Philip and Christine Carne. Hogarth is a Steinway Artist.



Also available on Linn

CKD 382 The Prince Consort Other Love Songs CKD 342 The Prince Consort Ned Rorem – On an echoing road CKD 462 Thomas Søndergård BBC National Orchestra of Wales Sibelius: Symphonies 2 & 7


CKD 502 Thomas Søndergård BBC National Orchestra of Wales Sibelius: Symphonies 1 & 6 CKD 566 Thomas Søndergård BBC National Orchestra of Wales Sibelius: Finlandia



CKD 382

CKD 342

CKD 502

CKD 566

CKD 462




Ckd 482 web booklet  
Ckd 482 web booklet