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nine song settings of Anna Akhmatova & Boris Pasternak for soprano and piano

Francis Pott

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nine song settings of Anna Akhmatova & Boris Pasternak for soprano and piano

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Composer Francis Pott
Year of Composition 2010
Duration -
ISMN 9790570681143
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-fp1et1


The conception of this group of songs involved preliminary consideration of a much larger selection from the translated works of both (and other) poets. The result is a work which may be performed complete as an extended cycle, and which in that context might be thought of (pace William Blake) as ‘songs of experience’, with a form of implied narrative thread running from first to last. If the work is performed complete, the sequence herein should be preserved. However, individual songs or selections of songs may be made too, the only clear exception being the ninth and final song, which makes retrospective reference to certain of the foregoing settings, notably no.2 (the work in toto ends with a valedictory reference to this).

Anna Akhmatova and Boris Pasternak were almost exactly contemporaneous, knew one another and each wrote a number of poems taking as their subject the nature of their relationship or a response to the other’s poetry, couched sometimes in ambivalent terms. Pasternak is alleged to have proposed to Akhmatova on three occasions, but was married twice and conducted affairs with a number of mistresses. Akhmatova, herself unhappily married three times, made little secret of detesting Pasternak’s second wife, yet appears to have regarded the bond between her and the other poet as essentially Platonic, a kind of attractive intermittent flirtation based upon mutual artistic recognition.