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Music Text

Otsuno Odzi (1-3), anonymous. A. Brandt (1-3 R)



Abbreviations (PDF)



This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes / Sikorski for the UK, British Commonwealth (excluding Canada), Republic of Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Israel.


World Premiere
Concert Hall of the Academic Glinka Choir, Leningrad
Anatoli Manukhov, tenor / Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra / Igor Blazhkov
Repertoire Note

1. Love - An Epitaph
2. Before Suicide
3. Immodest Glance (Otsuno Odzi)
4. For the First and Last Time
5. Hopeless Love
6. Death

Among the strangest and most fragile pieces in the whole of Shostakovich’s output, these evocative and ethereal songs to Russian translations of Japanese words are astonishingly different from the massive and famous song-cycles of his later years.

Dedicated to Nina Varzar, the composer’s first wife, these pieces are at once modernistic and wistful, harsh and haunting. In their brief span they make great demands on the singer who has to capture mercurial changes mood from phrase to phase. The delicate orchestral accompaniment is handledd with an almost impressionistic subtlety.

The composer himself made an alternative version for voice and piano op.21a.

By Gerard McBurney


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