Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pianist Alexander Zlatkovski

For those who have heard me rave about my pianist father (, have enjoyed listening to his CD (, have gone to his concerts, or are otherwise interested, my father and I have recorded a few videos of his arrangements and performances ( Please see below:

"Ochi Chernie" ("Dark Eyes" -- Russian):

About the song (from my father's YouTube information about the recording):
This composition is little known, though its main melody is known all over the world: it is the melody of the Russian song “Ochi Chernie” (“Dark Eyes”).

Dark eyes, burning eyes
Passionate and splendid eyes
How I love you, how I fear you
Verily, I saw you at a sinister hour.

If I hadn't met you, I wouldn't be suffering so
I would have lived my life smiling
You have ruined me, dark eyes
You have taken my happiness away forever

This is a Feodor Chaliapin version of the lyrics by the Ukrainian poet Yevhen Hrebinka. The music was arranged in 1884 from the waltz composed by one F. Hermann, but not much is known about him. In some websites he is called a French composer, Florian Hermann; in other sources, a Russified German, Feodor Hermann.

I learned his waltz from Russian sheet music, where it is called “Вальс Воспоминание” (“Recollection Waltz”, in my own translation). It may be that the original title is “Hommage Valse”.

Anyway, whatever the title and whoever the composer might be, the music is beautiful and exciting. I hope you will enjoy it!

Kalinka (famous Russian folk song):

About the song (from my father's YouTube information about the recording):
Kalinka is perhaps the most famous and the most recognizable Russian folk melody. Actually, it is not a folksong: it has a definite author – the composer Larionov – who wrote the song in 1860. But it captures the essence of Russian folk music in a way unlike any other Russian song.

The word Kalinka is the name of a bush. I have seen translations as diverse as arrowwood, snowball bush, viburnum and highbush cranberry. That does not really matter, though: the name has no bearing on the meaning of the song. For that matter, nor does the song itself have much meaning! The verses do not complement either each other or the refrain. What can be extracted from this collection of incompatible lines is that a young boy is dreaming that a pretty maiden will love him.

But of course it is not the nonsense of the text, but the beauty of the music that has made Kalinka so popular. And popular it is! There are countless Russian cafes, souvenir shops, dance groups and singing choirs, named after this song. There is even a small terrier dog breed called Kalinka!

Here I am playing my own arrangement of the famous Kalinka.

"Czardas", by Vittorio Monti

I hope you enjoyed the recordings! Please feel free to pass a link to this page and/or the videos to your pianist-enthusiast-, Russian-loving-, or just plain needing-Classical-music- friends...

1 comment:

Tori Kadera said...

Sasha, I've known you nearly 5 years and still haven't seen you play the piano. How is this possible? I listen to your music every night when Jase is going to sleep and have come to know these songs as lullabies. Finally YouTube and Blogspot made it possible to see you play these songs that soothe my baby boy to sleep. It is wonderful. Thank you for posting this on the web Misha!