Sergey Zhukov    
   

 

composer

honored art worker of Russian Federation

 
                         
    compositions      
   

 

"INSOMNIA"

ballet in one act based on motifs of A. Pushkin verses

1999

 

Annotation for booklet

 

"Verses written at night during the insomnia" beckoned to me for a long time. It is so, because this frontier condition of insomnia between the sleep and the reality is very creative. The inspiration is given to a composer, an artist or a poet just at that very period. I had no approach to this poem for a long time. But at the time the conception of composing a ballet came into existence I thought its embodying through plastic "movements to be the most successful.

The main character in the Prologue is silence of the night. There are neither themes nor tunes in this music but only the night rustles and sounds. The orchestra echoes each word and each line of Pushkin's poem. This musical material goes through the whole score of the ballet, from time to time arising both in the interludes and in the epilogue. This is like a symbol of night, a symbol of insomnia... On the whole the music of the ballet is a system of symbols, each with its own meaning: a clock and the bells measuring off the Poet's lifetime or a prayer without saying, giving benediction to the Poet, which sounds in the Prologue, in the scene "Autumn", composed as the Poet's monologue, and in the Epilogue. A theme of the Black Man, represented by the leit-timbre of the saxophone and the bass-clarinet is important as well. I was afraid the theme of demons and darkness would prevail over the light coming out from Pushkin's poetry. As a result the score of the bal let was even to be slightly changed in order to introduce this light-carrying note into the finale. As for the Poet, it wasn't my purpose to make a hero out of him. He is just a deep-suffering man, and so there is a note of tragedy in the music.

The music of the ballet is satiated with numerous latent and evident quotations-allegories. The first intonation from Glinka's romance on Pushkin's poem "I remember a wonderful moment...", which became a symbol of clock and bells, can be named among the main ones. The theme of Glinka's "Waltz-fantasia" arises in the episode "Ball" as well as the motive of the waltz "Christmas-tide" from Tchaikovsky's "The Seasons", "The Waltz" by Ravel, or the waltz from Prokofiev's "Cinderella", which are not so evident. For me the scene of the ball in its musical aspect is a peculiar history of waltz, which flourished in XIX century and later was developed by the composers of XX century. Some latent musical quotations also arise in the scene "The Orient", such as the Chorus of girls from "Ruslan and Lyudmila" by Glinka and the Chorus of the Polovtsian girls from "The Prince Igor" by Borodin. An orchestra version of the romance "It is time, my friend, it is time..." from my vocal cycle "The Echo" for the voice and the piano sounds in the epilogue.

S. Zhukov

 

 

"The Insomnia" is a ballet-fantasia, and so I wouldn't like any definite conceptions or versions to be thrust on the spectators. The premiere of the performance is timed to 200th anniversary of A.S.Pushkin's birth, but it is our fantasy on what a creation is, on what a creator feels though it were a poet or a composer, a painter or a writer, a choreographer or a scientist, rather than just a jubilee report of the Bolshoi Theatre and its productive group. Our ballet is about one of the sleepless nights of an Artist...

What is insomnia? This is a condition of pure creation free from any daily needs or social problems (however there is no doubt they leave their imprint), this is a moment of quest, meditation, revaluation, doubt and affirmation.

We tried to present our version of this conception to the spectators. And let them judge whether it turned out well.

A. Petukhov, coreographer

 

 

"The Insomnia" is not so much a story about a concrete man, Pushkin the poet, as probably it is reflecting on impulses of a creative personality, on  difficulties and torments of being an artist. I like both the  main conception of the ballet and the way it has been embodied on the stage by choreographer Alexander Petukhov, conductor Vladimir Andropov, composer Sergey Zhukov.

The sets of the performance represent the deep-blue endlessness, the space, not black but ultramarine like a tropical butterfly. There are a few Empirestyle details in the sets, but the stylized armchairs and chairs are all the same blue. The armchairs, the lustre look like those come from a hall of the Nobiliary Assembly. It seemed to me that the action of the ballet was to develop in a single space. And the main thing about it is that I succeeded in convincing of my conception the author of libretto and the choreographer. The scene of action of the performance is an empty  ceremonial hall, and different scenes appear and replace each other only in the main hero's imagination...

S. Barkhin, designer

 

 

I started working on the ballet with interest, the more so, as it was my first experience as a conductor in producing a ballet. Music by Sergey Zhukov, that is both contemporary but not vanguard, tuneful and traditional in the good sense of the word, has successfully been embodied in the dance pattern, composed by the ballet-master Alexander Petukhov.

There is a line in Pushkin's "Verses written at night during the insomnia" that served as a starting point to create the ballet - "Babbling of the Weird Sister". Three Weird Sisters are three old women, spinning the thread of human fate. The theme of fate can be named among the main motifs of the ballet. The central episodes of the Poet's life, such as the youth, autumn, the Orient, the ball, settled by various characters from his works, are reflected in the scenes of his visions. And the through theme of the performance is that of the Black Man, who constantly goes side by side with the Poet. All these motifs, which nourished Pushkin's creative work, are close and clear to each of us. I would like the audience to be interested in "The Insomnia".

V. Andropov, conductor