Works Choral Compositions

Ten Russian Folk Songs. Adaptation for Solo Voices, Mixed Choir and Piano

Opus 89 Opus SO

Opus SO
1951 year

Ten Russian Folk Songs. Sans op. (1951). Two Russian Folk Songs. Op. 104 (1957). Choruses a cappella from Film Music.


The official premiere of the cycle was held on 18 October 1971 in Magnitogorsk.

first publication:

Muzyka Publishers, Moscow, 1985, Dmitri Shostakovich’s Collected Works, vol. 34


Manuscript kept at RNMM rec. gr. 32, f. 121

Ten Russian Folk Songs
Adaptation for Solo Voices, Mixed Choir and Piano

     Shostakovich wrote the collection of adaptations of Russian folk songs — Ten Russian Folk Songs (Sans op.) — in the 1950s. This a separate cycle of adaptations that included ten Russian folk songs from three different collections compiled by well-known folklorists of different times—Nikolai Lvov-Ivan Prach, Yevgeniya Lineva and Yevgeni Gippius. Most of them—‘All of a Sudden There was a Clap of Thunder over Moscow’ (No. 1), ‘Beyond the Mountains, Beyond the Valleys’ (No. 2), ‘Out of the Forest of Spears and Swords’ (No. 3), ‘Nights are Dark, the Clouds are Menacing’ (No. 4) and ‘What Songs Are These’ (No. 10) — were borrowed from Yevgeni Gippius’ collection of Russian Folk Songs, which came out in Leningrad in 1943.
     Shostakovich chose three songs for adaptation from the Lvov-Prach collection: ‘Fir Grove, My Fir Grove’ (No. 7), ‘In My Dear Father’s Green Garden’ (No. 8) and ‘I Told My Sweetheart’ (No. 9).
     Two songs—‘A Little Cuckoo Cuckoos’ (No. 5) and ‘The Splinter’ (No. 6)—were taken from the first edition of Yevgeniya Lineva’s collection Russian Songs with Traditional Harmony (St. Petersburg, 1904).
     The songs Shostakovich selected for the cycle do not have any general theme in common, but can be divided into two groups—the first four and last one are soldiers’ (primarily Cossack) marching songs, while the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and tenth are different genres of women’s songs (lyrical, wedding, plangent and dancing).
     The official premiere of the cycle was held on 18 October 1971 in Magnitogorsk, and then on 3 December in Moscow (the Grand Hall of the Conservatory) performed by the Magnitogorsk State Academic Choral Capella conducted by Semen Eidinov. Ten Russian Folk Songs were performed in Leningrad on 19 October 1989 by the Chamber Choir of the USSR Ministry of Culture directed by Valeri Polyansky (the piano part was performed by Igor Khudolei).
     The cycle was first recorded in 1981 by the Glinka Leningrad Academic State Cappella under the baton of Vladislav Chernushenko, soloists—Gennadi Bezzubenkov (Nos. 1 and 3), Yevgeni Popov (No. 2), Yevgeni Bortnikov (No. 4), Zhanna Polevtsova (No. 5), Kira Gerasimova (No. 6), Nina Kuznetsova (No. 7), Yulia Antonova (No. 9) and Aleksandr Seleznev (No. 10), the piano part was played by Lyudmila Bogomolova. In 1999, a recording of the cycle was issued with the participation of the soloists and choir of the Academy of Choral Art directed by Viktor Popov (the piano part was played by Tamara Kravchenko).
     The collotyped edition of the adaptations of Ten Russian Folk Songs is kept in Dmitri Shostakovich’s Archive. In 1952, Muzgiz put out separate items of the cycle (‘A Little Cuckoo Cuckoos’, ‘The Splinter’ and ‘Fir Grove, My Fir Grove’) entitled Three Russian Folk Songs. All ten adaptations were published in Volume 34 of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Collected Works (Muzyka Publishers, Moscow, 1985). The foreign edition of the songs was put out in 1997 by the Japanese Publishers Zen-On Music.