Sergey Zhukov    



honored art worker of Russian Federation





The composition consists of five parts, which are connected via piano interludes. Soprano I and piano are on the stage, while Soprano II and an instrumental ensemble are in the hall behind the audience. Throughout the entire piece there are various sound interactions between the two groups of performers. In the final part, Soprano II, continuing to sing, moves from the hall to the stage, where she has a short dialogue-culmination with Soprano I. After the climax, Soprano I descends from the stage into the hall and exits, leading the full instrumental ensemble. On the stage there remains only Soprano II and pianist, performing the principal musical motif.



"Spivanochky" represents the experience of implementing samples of ancient Ukrainian folklore. This work expresses not just the author's interest in ancient folklore formations, but enjoyment of the beauty of poetic texts, symbolic of calendar rituals. Even the "sacrifice" ("Podolyanochka") is perceived through the prism of the poetic and appears rather menacing, but its execution reveals a much deeper ritual meaning. The effect of "spaciousness" has an important role in the conception of the work. The expressive heterophonic combinations of two female voices, or voices and instruments (soprano and clarinet in the first and last songs, soprano and violin in the second), however, cannot exist outside the rarefied space, mysterious and unstable, so the listener cannot help but take it into another dimension - of depth and time perspective ...

In this work one feels the 20' -century composer's vision of the ethnographic realities of a bygone era: hence [one perceives] impressionistic instrumental colors (for example, the dancing tune of the violin and the clarinet's magical fortune-telling in the final lullaby - examples of folk-genre touches in the score), and the special role of the piano interludes, performing the function of the peculiar "departures from the author." In the cycle there are no direct quotations, folklore motives only occasionally "encrusted" in the vocal and instrumental song tissue. Instead, there is the general atmosphere of ritual action, the nature of human contemplation of ancient Russia (namely contemplation, rather than invasion of the surrounding world), reverence for the mysterious forces of nature and at the same time, feeling its own equality merging with nature, recreated by the author of "Spivanochky "masterfully, with great artistic tact". 

T. Didenko



The composer replicates not only the texts and intonation of Ukrainian ritual songs, but also the environment of their historical performance context; for example, the stereophonic summonings of the singers (each with its own accompaniment) and their movement throughout the room - associated with the characteristic features of the syncretic folk action and simultaneously shaping/expanding the sound space ...

N. Golodnova




Musical style and genre

Sergei Zhukov's cantata "Spivanochky" (1975) for two soprano and chamber ensemble draws on ancient layers of Ukrainian folklore intonations of popular speech and folkloric tunes are organically combine with a music-space treatment which recreates with the original syncretic the ritual, dictated the idea spatial movement, a kind of crescendo diminuendo. Two teams are on the stage (soprano and piano) and in the hall (a second soprano, violin, clarinet and woodblock). The spatial distance between them makes the playing possible: the interchanges, interaction and contrasts between these groups differential space in the early numbers and enliven it. In the final part ("Oh, sleep go") there is a real movement of sound in space: the second soprano comes onto the stage. The tempo of her movement is regulated by pauses in the first soprano part. Thus, spatial movement is united with musical sound, the temporal development of the process, and organized by it. After a dramatic dialogue the first soprano leaves the stage. This is inversion the musical time is regulated by spatial movement. The form is broken. After the singer leaves the hall the performers can finish the work as they like, on any note of the last segment of quasi improvisation. Ritual time recreated here and one cycle, of it reproduced.

The heightened attention to problems of space and the search for now forms of time organization inherent in the numerous trends of contemporary music not only testify to a desire for a synthesis of the arts. They change our focus about the genre style system, heralding the discovery of new syntactical realties and, in the final analysis, an understanding of the deep rooted laws of contemporary musical aesthetics and poetics.


M. Lobanova

History and modernity

Harwood academic publishing

Amsterdam, 2000