Monday, October 3, 2011

Boris Shtokolov - Letter To Mother

Boris Shtokolov  ( 1930 - 2005 ) was one of the leading Bass singers in the 20th Century. He was not well-known in the west, but in his native Russia he was a star of Russian opera for over 30 years.  He also sang many Russian Folk Songs and Romances.  In a country that seems to produce more than its share of Bass singers, Shtokolov's  vocal dynamics and tone color made him unique.  His voice was what is called a Basso-Profundo, a voice dark in color and powerful.

The song 'Letter To Mother', written to words of a poem by Esenin,  is the perfect vehicle to show Shtokov's artistry and sensitive musicianship.

Boris Shtokolov sings 'Letter To Mother' to a poem by Esenin, a translation of which is below the video:

Letter To Mother

Still around, old dear? How are you keeping?
I too am around. Hello to you!
May that magic twilight ever be streaming
Over your cottage as it used to do.

People write how sad you are, and anxious
For my sake, though you won't tell them so,
And that you in your old-fashioned jacket
Out onto the highroad often go.

That you often see in the blue shadows
Ever one dream, giving you no rest:
Someone in a drunken tavern scuffle
Sticks a bandit knife into my chest.

Don't go eating your heart out with worry,
It's just crazy nonsense and a lie.
I may drink hard, but I promise, mother,
I shall see you first before I die.

I love you as always and I'm yearning
In my thoughts for just one thing alone,
Soon to ease my heartache by returning
To our humble low-roofed country home.

I'll return when decked in white the branches
In our orchard are with spring aglow.
But no longer wake me up at sunrise,
As you used to do eight years ago.

Do not waken dreams no longer precious,
Hope never fulfilled do not excite.
It was my misfortune to experience
Loss and weariness too early in my life.

Don't teach me to pray. Please, mother!
There's no going back, try as you might.
You alone give me support and comfort,
You alone glow with a magic light.

So forget your cares, please. Don't be anxious
And for my sake, dear, don't worry so.
Out onto the road in your old-fashioned
Jacket, please do not so often go.

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