Four Verses of Captain Lebyadkin for Bass and Piano
May 10, 1975. Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire. Performed by Y. Nesterenko and Y. Shenderovich.
1975. “Muzfond” Publishers, Moscow.
The hand-written score is in the archive of the composer’s family.
Four Verses of Captain Lebyadkin
on Texts by Fyodor Dostoevsky (From the Novel The Possessed)
For Bass and Piano, Op. 146
On 23 august 1974, Dmitri Shostakovich sent a letter to Isaak Glikman in which, apart from Suite on Verses by michelangelo, he mentioned another opus he had just finished, Verses of Captain Lebyadkin on Texts by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Shostakovich collected Lebyadkin’s poems taken from Dostoevsky’s novel into a cycle consisting of four items no. 1. The Love of Captain Lebyadkin. no. 2. The Cockroach. no. 3. The Ball for the Benefit of Governesses. no. 4. A Pure Soul.
Created in august 1974, ‘Four Verses’ were not performed until the spring of 1975. As the first performers of ‘The Verses’, Yevgeni Nesterenko and Yevgeni Shenderovich, recalled, they did not receive the music until February 1975. On 9 may 1975, Nesterenko and Shenderovich performed the new opus at the composer’s dacha. This was the only meeting with the author before the premiere, which was held the next day in the Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. The cycle was performed for the first time on 10 may 1975; the author was present in the hall and was given a warm reception by the audience (this was the last premiere he had occasion to attend).
The first performers of the cycle soon made its recording. The first performance abroad took place in the USA—the cycle was performed in russian on 30 october 1983 in the concert hall of Boston University by Robert Osborne (with Howard Lubin on piano). Later it was repeatedly performed and recorded by Russian and Western musicians. There is an English translation of the texts by Joan Pemberton Smith.
The first publication came out in Volume 33 of the composer’s Collected Works (Muzyka Publishers, Moscow, 1984).
The orchestral version of the work was performed and recorded by Alexei Mochalov with the accompaniment of Boris Pokrovsky’s Chamber Music Theatre Orchestra under the baton of Anatoli Levin and Sergei Leiferkus with the accompaniment of the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Thomas Sanderling.
- Orchestra of the Moscow Chamber Musical Theater. Artistic Director B.A. Pokrovsky. Soloist: A. Mochalov. Conductor: A. Levin 1995 // TRITON 17 008, 1996
- Gluboky P., Rassudova N. 1994 // SAISON RUSSE RUS 288 089, 1995
- Fisher-Discau D., Ashkenazi V.D. 1991 // DECCA 433 319-2 D H, 1993