Die Schöne Müllerin at Dom Muzyki 19/04/2019

Performance of Schubert’s song cycle Die Schöne Müllerin by singer Thomas Beavitt and pianist Alexander Polyakov at Ekaterinburg’s Dom Muzyki on 19th April 2019

Смерть поэта | The Bard is Dead!

Смерть поэта (М.Ю. Лермонтов)

Погиб поэт! — невольник чести, —
Пал, оклеветанный молвой,
С свинцом в груди и жаждой мести,
Поникнув гордой головой!..
Не вынесла душа поэта
Позора мелочных обид,
Восстал он против мнений света
Один, как прежде… и убит!

Убит!.. К чему теперь рыданья,
Пустых похвал ненужный хор
И жалкий лепет оправданья?
Судьбы свершился приговор!
Не вы ль сперва так злобно гнали
Его свободный, смелый дар
И для потехи раздували
Чуть затаившийся пожар?

Что ж? Веселитесь… он мучений
Последних вынести не мог:
Угас, как светоч, дивный гений,
Увял торжественный венок.
Его убийца хладнокровно
Навел удар… спасенья нет:
Пустое сердце бьётся ровно,
В руке не дрогнул пистолет.

И что за диво?.. Издалёка,
Подобный сотням беглецов,
На ловлю счастья и чинов
Заброшен к нам по воле рока.
Смеясь, он дерзко презирал
Земли чужой язык и нравы;
Не мог щадить он нашей славы,
Не мог понять в сей миг кровавый,
На что он руку поднимал!..

И он убит — и взят могилой,
Как тот певец, неведомый, но милый,
Добыча ревности глухой,
Воспетый им с такою чудной силой,
Сражённый, как и он, безжалостной рукой.

Зачем от мирных нег и дружбы простодушной
Вступил он в этот свет завистливый и душный
Для сердца вольного и пламенных страстей?
Зачем он руку дал клеветникам ничтожным,
Зачем поверил он словам и ласкам ложным,
Он, с юных лет постигнувший людей?..

И, прежний сняв венок, — они венец терновый,
Увитый лаврами, надели на него,
Но иглы тайные сурово
Язвили славное чело.
Отравлены его последние мгновенья
Коварным шёпотом насмешливых невежд,
И умер он — с напрасной жаждой мщенья,
С досадой тайною обманутых надежд.

Замолкли звуки чудных песен,
Не раздаваться им опять:
Приют певца угрюм и тесен,
И на устах его печать.

А вы, надменные потомки
Известной подлостью прославленных отцов,
Пятою рабскою поправшие обломки
Игрою счастия обиженных родов!
Вы, жадною толпой стоящие у трона,
Свободы, Гения и Славы палачи!
Таитесь вы под сению закона,
Пред вами суд и правда — всё молчи!..

Но есть и божий суд, наперсники разврата!
Есть грозный суд: он ждёт;
Он недоступен звону злата,
И мысли и дела он знает наперёд.
Тогда напрасно вы прибегнете к злословью —
Оно вам не поможет вновь,
И вы не смоете всей вашей чёрной кровью
Поэта праведную кровь!

The Bard is Dead! (tr. T. Beavitt)

The bard is dead! – conscience of our age –
Felled by lies and foul canard,
Lead-choked chest that bursts with rage
Lifts, at last, the proud regard
Of one whose soul could not consent
To yield to mean indignity,
Who railed against this world and went
Alone to face eternity!

Eternity! Spare your crocodile tears…
Your empty praise – a surplus choir,
A token of your petty fears:
The order came from much, much higher!
Was it not you who cruelly mocked
The music from his golden lyre?
For entertainment, did concoct
A little, sly, tormenting fire?

Well? Enjoy the show! He burned
Until he could not stand beneath
But puttered out, expunged, and earned
His wilted laurel wreath.
His vicious killer, unbelieving,
Dealt the blow; gave not an inch;
Empty heart beat, cool and even;
Gun-hand did not flinch.

Occidental – quelle surprise! –
Bequeathed to us by will of fate,
His wealth and rank to cultivate,
Like hundreds of such refugees.
The native customs of our land –
Dismissed in terms derogatory;
Ridiculed our national glory;
Misconstrued this blood-soaked story;
And with that he raised his hand!…

And so he was slain, and his body taken,
Like the nightingale, whose dulcet songs awaken
The envy and resentment of the deaf.
Exalted them till all tunes were forsaken;
Dumfounded, as was he, by the callous hand of death.

Why, from calm obscurity and artless geniality,
Did he step into the light, the glaring, harsh reality –
To sate a heart of free and ardent passion?
Why did he ever give his hand to rogues and fake princesses?
Why did he never countermand the false words and caresses?
He, who, from an early age, discerned life’s meagre ration…

Then, replacing with a crown of thorns, his wreath,
Intertwined with laurel, they thus contrived – and how! –
Clandestine needles sticking in beneath
That pricked his glorious brow,
Embittering his final days with stress
And the subtle whispering of cretins…
And so he died, with vain thoughts of redress:
The intimate annoyance of mislaid expectations.

The mellifluous tones of our tragic nation
No more to be pealed
As, taking up his cramped accommodation,
The singer’s lips were sealed.

And you, O arrogant descendants,
In whom are amplified the faults of your ancestors,
With slavish heels that trample on the fragments –
Isn’t it a jolly game for their malign successors!
A greedy crowd with drooling, gaping maw;
Vapid executioners of freedom, wit and glory!
Cowards, taking refuge in the law:
For you, are truth and honour just a story?

But there is a sacred court, O intimates of vice!
There is an awful trial – there He sits and waits.
There’ll be no church bells chiming to entice;
Thoughts and deeds already known behind those final gates…
Then in vain will you recall the time before the flood,
With hearts already hard:
For you will never wash away the blood,
The righteous blood of the bard!

Сон | Dream

Сон (М.Ю. Лермонтов)

В полдневный жар в долине Дагестана
С свинцом в груди лежал недвижим я;
Глубокая еще дымилась рана,
По капле кровь точилася моя.

Лежал один я на песке долины;
Уступы скал теснилися кругом,
И солнце жгло их жёлтые вершины
И жгло меня — но спал я мёртвым сном.

И снился мне сияющий огнями
Вечерний пир в родимой стороне.
Меж юных жен, увенчанных цветами,
Шёл разговор весёлый обо мне.

Но в разговор весёлый не вступая,
Сидела там задумчиво одна,
И в грустный сон душа её младая
Бог знает чем была погружена;

И снилась ей долина Дагестана;
Знакомый труп лежал в долине той;
В его груди, дымясь, чернела рана,
И кровь лилась хладеющей струёй.

Dream (tr. T. Beavitt)

The sun beats down on a Dagestani chasm.
A bullet in my chest, I lie inert.
Smoking still, my wound leaks ectoplasm
As, drop by drop, my lifeblood crimsons dirt.

Alone, as I lie upon the sands of that ravine,
‘Neath jagged cliffs that jostle overhead,
Under the bright orb that sears the hazy sheen,
My body burns; yet, starting in my head,

I seem to dream a hundred gleaming candles –
An evening banquet at my family’s mansion.
Pretty girls with wreaths recounting scandals,
In which I am the subject of their passion.

But, not participating in this merry theme,
Pensively, one maiden sits apart,
Her queer, young soul in a melancholy dream –
God only knows what’s hidden in her heart.

In her dream, a Dagestani valley;
A cherished body lying on the ground;
In his chest, his valour’s dreadful tally;
Congealing blood that oozes from a wound.


Желание (М.Ю. Лермонтов)

Зачем я не птица, не ворон степной,
Пролетевший сейчас надо мной?
Зачем не могу в небесах я парить
И одну лишь свободу любить?

На запад, на запад помчался бы я,
Где цветут моих предков поля,
Где в замке пустом, на туманных горах,
Их забвенный покоится прах.
На древней стене их наследственный щит
И заржавленный меч их висит.

Я стал бы летать над мечом и щитом
И смахнул бы я пыль с них крылом;
И арфы шотландской струну бы задел,
И по сводам бы звук полетел;
Внимаем одним, и одним пробуждён,
Как раздался, так смолкнул бы он.

Но тщетны мечты, бесполезны мольбы
Против строгих законов судьбы.
Меж мной и холмами отчизны моей
Расстилаются волны морей.

Последний потомок отважных бойцов
Увядает средь чуждых снегов;
Я здесь был рожден, но нездешний душой…
О! зачем я не ворон степной?…

Yearning (tr. T. Beavitt)

If I were a raven, a raptor of the plain,
Whirling far above this earthly brain;
If I could only my desires betake to wing
And all at once my heart were free to sing.

To the west, to the west, I’d be gone in an hour!
Where the fields of my sires are in flow’r,
Where in a bare keep ’neath the swirling of mists,
Their oblivious bones are lying at rest.
Where on ancient walls ancestral shields hang
Above a broad sword, rusty and lang.

I would fly over the sword and the shield,
Brushing the dust of ages as I wheeled;
Grazing the neglected Scottish harp strings
As, again, through the chamber it rings
And is heard by the one who awakes –
And as it reverberates… so the spell breaks.

But disconsolate dreams, unfulfillable yearning
Against the strict edicts of fate not returning;
Between me and the hills of my native land
Billowing furrows lie twixt either strand.

The last scion of a race that routed foes
Desiccating here amongst th’ alien snows;
Ach, I was born here – but I would be fain…
O! Why am I not a raptor of the plain?

Ossian’s Tomb

Гроб Оссиана (М.Ю. Лермонтов)

Под занавесою тумана,
Под небом бурь, среди степей,
Стоит могила Оссиана
В горах Шотландии моей.

Летит к ней дух мой усыпленный
Родимым ветром подышать
И от могилы сей забвенной
Вторично жизнь свою занять!…

Ossian’s Tomb (tr. T. Beavitt)

Beneath a swirling shroud of mist,
A louring sky, upon the moor,
Ossian’s tomb shall aye persist
Among the Scottish hills obscure.

My wearied spirit flies to her
My native breath doth there respire
The soul that men shall once inter
Shall thus a second life acquire!…

Schubert’s «Die Schöne Müllerin» at Dom Muzyki

Die Schöne Müllerin

Franz Schubert’s song cycle Die Schöne Müllerin will be presented in the original German language by Scottish vocalist Thomas Beavitt on 19th April 2019 at Ekaterinburg’s Dom Muzyki (House of Music). Accompanied by the pianist Alexander Polyakov, laureate of international competitions, all 20 songs from one of the most popular songs cycles of the Romantic era will be heard from the venue’s stage.

Although the rhythmic pattern and melody of each song are quite distinct, they are united by a common theme – the love and life of a young apprentice miller, whose heart is broken by the miller’s beautiful daughter. However, his dream of love turns into a tragic nightmare when, instead of our young hero, the heroine chooses a dashing hunter as her suitor.

The cycle’s memorable melodies are written in a folky spirit, with marvellous landscapes opened up by the piano accompaniment, which glides, murmurs and tumbles along to the vocalist’s emotional outpourings just like the brook, representing our protagonist’s inner state and only true friend.

The songs from Die Schöne Müllerin became very popular in Germany following their first performance (32 years after their creation), being performed by professional vocalists and amateurs alike. To this day, Schubert’s songs are very well known and actively performed in European countries.

“In Russia, it is fairly rare for a performer to take on the performance of this cycle; in Yekaterinburg, all the more so. Sometimes you can hear it in Moscow or St. Petersburg, but not here,” commented Alexei Petrov, the well-known Ekaterinburg singer, winner of all-Russian and international competitions and the Sverdlovsk Governor’s Prize. “Reasons for this include the foreign language and the technical demands placed on the singer. ”

This is not the first year that Thomas Beavitt has explored the work of Schubert. In April 2018, on the same stage, he presented the cycle Winter Journeyman (in his own English translation), which is a kind of sequel to Die Schöne Müllerin.

Concert «Die Schöne Müllerin» (Franz Schubert).

Performed by:

Vocal ‑ Thomas Beavitt (Scotland),

Piano ‑ laureate of international competitions Alexander Polyakov (Russia).

19 April at 19:00, Dom Muzyki, 30 Sverdlova street

What Global Village Bard is about

Today I am going to try to address the main problem with this website, which is that, although my lovely webmistress Olga and I have been beavering away to try to obtain a harmonious marriage of form and content, the editorial glue that should hold this whole thing together has, until now, been lacking.

So, what is Global Village Bard about and why might it be of interest to you? Essentially,  the concept is that the activity of song and verse translation produces rich, meaningful artistic collaborations, whether in the area of video or audio production, live performances, happenings and so on.

Since I am the founding Global Village Bard and I happen to be currently located in Ekaterinburg, Russia, a lot of the collaborative work is presently anchored in Russian culture. So, for example, the project of translating the Russian poet Lermontov, who had Scottish family roots, has not only generated a repertoire performed by the vocal group ‘Rhyming Thomas & the Three Muses’, but is currently the focus of a collaboration with two young composers Andrey Bokovikov and Nikita Nikitin. This work is essentially a spoken word composition, in which musical themes (leitmotivs) are combined with rhythms derived from contemporary rap as well as those present in the poetry itself. We hope that there will be not only an English but also a Russian language version of this work – the former recited by me and the latter by a special guest to be announced later. We are very much looking forward to sharing this work with you!

Another collaboration I am currently engaged in here is with the pianist Alexander Polyakov, who teaches at the Ural State Pedagogical University. Alexander is a really great musician! One of the really great things about living in this city is the opportunity to work with such talented and hard-working people! We have been working on Schubert’s song cycles – last year it was Winterreise, which we performed in my contemporary English translation. This year we will be performing Die Schöne Müllerin but sticking to the original German, at least for now!

The oil painting you see below was done by Chisha Paszczyk, who also did the series of paintings illustrating Winterreise last year. Her work caught the eye of Iain Phillips, whose encyclopaedic tribute to Winterreise features our version of the work.

So, what has this to do with you? Well, on the one hand, it is hoped that you might simply enjoy viewing, listening and reading what is presented here – or even attending an event sometime. But on the other hand, the Global Village Bard concept is based on the insight that everyone is in the process of developing themselves and potentially has something to contribute. If this form of development interests you, get in touch!



Winter Journeyman (YouTube playlist)

Contemporary English interpretation of Schubert’s iconic song cycle based on Wilhelm Müller’s original German verses. Sung and translated by Thomas Beavitt, accompanied by Alexander Polyakov on piano. Artwork by Chisha Paszczyk.

Bridges (to Ajda)

Song about human relationships. We are communicative bridges for each other. But bridges can be burnt as well as built.

Winter Journeyman – Premiere