A Vocal Cycle for Mezzo-Soprano, Bassoon and Piano “The Fragments” by Elisavieta Panchecko Set to Poems by Anna Akhmatova

Ekaterina V. Ivanova, Maksim A. Kharin


Elisavieta Panchenko’s vocal cycle “The Fragments” set to poetry by Anna Akhmatova presents an example of
a genuinely innovative contemporary manifestation of a specific kind of intonation of speech with its minutest
emotional tints, as well as a non-standard type of interpretation of the solo instrumental timbre. Written for a vocalinstrumental
trio (mezzo-soprano, bassoon, piano), this is, nonetheless, a vocal cycle one in the essence and nature
of its musical thematicism. The features of through development in the cycle, the continuous renewal of musical
material, the freedom of thematic development peculiar for the most part to instrumental compositions – all of these
are directed for the most part towards heightened attention to micro-syntactic units of the poetic and musical texts.
The musical content of the cycle is abundant with fine achievements in the domains of mode, harmony, texture and
intonation, characteristic to the music of the present and previous centuries. The dialogue of the two equitable soloists
– the two dramatic characters of the poem – is already being formed during the process of the representation. For
the first time in vocal music the bassoon is interpreted as being endowed with a vocal timbre, albeit not possessing
verbal characteristics of an unperceived character. The composer implements a counter-tendency to the picturesque
content of the source hidden in the implication of the narrative: not only does the mother mourn the loss of her
unjustly arrested son, but also the son when still alive bids h is mother farewell, without hoping to see her again.

Keywords: Anna Akhmatova, E. Panchenko, Lev Gumilyov, vocal cycle, the poem “Fragments,” bassoon, speech

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