Preview: Shostakovich at Marlboro

Tomorrow night, at the Marlboro Festival, I will perform, together with the wonderful bass-baritone Simon Barrad, the extraordinary Suite on Verses by Michelangelo Buonarotti, Op. 145 (the composer insisted it was a suite, not a cycle) by Dmitri Shostakovich. The music is absolutely top-notch—arresting, haunting, shattering, and just so very beautiful. But the great poetry of Michelangelo deserves equal billing. Here is the text of the final verse (No. 11), in the original Italian, then in the Shostakovich setting (as translated by Abram Efros) and finally in Simon Barrad’s English translation.

Qui vuol mie sorte c'anzi tempo i' dorma,

né son già morto: e ben c'albergo cangi,

resto in te vivo, c'or mi vedi e piangi,

se l'un nell'altro amante si trasforma.

Qui son morto creduto; e per conforto

del mondo vissi, e con mille alme in seno

di veri amanti; adunche a venir meno,

per tormen' una sola non son morto.

Здесь рок послал безвременный мне сон,

Но я не мёртв, хоть и опущен в землю:

Я жив в тебе, чьим сетованьям внемлю,

Затем, что в друге друг отображён.

Я словно б мёртв, но миру в утешенье

Я тысячами душ живу в сердцах

Всех любящих, и, значит, я не прах,

И смертное меня не тронет тленье.

Here fate has sent me an untimely dream,

But I’m not dead, though lowered into the earth:

I am alive in you, to whose laments I hearken,

Because we are reflected in each other.

I am as dead, but, in consolation to the world,

I live in the hearts of thousands of souls,

Of all those who love—and therefore I’m not dust,

And mortal decay will not touch me.