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The Old House. Poem for voice and orcestra.

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This poem is a little composition for voice (mezzo soprano) and symphonic orchestra. I have written it to a poetry by a Russian poet symbolist Konstantin Balmont.

The poem consists of two parts. The first one is a slow recitative introduction. 

The second (main) part was written in rhythms of waltz. When I worked with this music I remembered "Dance Macabre" by Saint-Saens. Of course, I didn't want to make something similar. I just wanted to make my waltz strange and fantastic, but not ugly or terrible. I dreamt to create something ghostly and unreal as a moonlight or night shadows. 

Unfortunately I couldn't found a translation it into English and I tried to do it myself. Of course, I even didn't try to translate it as a poetry. I just wanted to show the content of the lyrics.

 The Old House

(after K.Balmont)


In the old house there is a high hall,

At night the quiet steps are heard there,

At midnight the depth of mirrors comes to life,

And friends and enemies come out from them.


Be afraid of silent people,

be afraid of old houses,

Fear the destructive power of the words,

which weren't uttered.


Be afraid of old houses,

be afraid of their secret charms,

The house is the more greedy the older.


Who once has thrown his unrequited glance into the cold mirrors,

That person is shackled by the mirror,

And the gloomy hall is crowded of shadows

And there is no turning back.


There are lifeless stretches of light from the melted dim candles,

In the midnight hall the pale transparent ghosts come from the mirrors.

The forgotten waltz revives in the rustling and groaning,

Our dead flesh is alive again.


Moments are scattered, they attract us,

We are only reflections in the mirrors.


We are weaved in the dance only for a moment,

We circle, not feeling the sight of the Moon,

We dance with our own twins,

At dawn we return into the depth of the mirrors again.


The poem with the score is here


Edited by Alexx

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Something that detracted from your potential goal of otherworldliness is the consistent use of this heptatonic diatonic collection. More whole tone, octatonic, or even bebop scale derivatives could easily break that monotony.
Also, it was fine until I heard the Dies Irae. Maybe it's just me, but it struck me as really comical and not really that dark.

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Thank you very much for your feedback. It was very valuable for me.

I think that any scale can't make a composition more monotonic or more interesting. It is depended from the author's composition skills only. If somebody can't use some composer technique well he can't write a good music with any scale, form or orchestra. 

I thought about the octatonic scale when I wrote this poem. However I decided don't use it because it reminds classical compositions very much. Maybe I was mistaken but I wanted to avoid the methods of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov or other famous composers. Also I wanted to create a mood somewhere between real and fantastic. The listeners have to decide themselves is it a real ghosts or just playing of shadows and their imagines. 

I can't translate into English the moods of the lyrics fully. But I tried to transfer it to music as I could. 

Excuse me, please, if I said something wrong or incomprehensible. 

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