Four Russian Folksongs


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Orpheus Music

Composer: Eccles - Lance

Instrumentation: Descant - Treble - Tenor - Bass

Period/genre: Folk/Trad

Grade: Moderate

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*Four Folksongs.* Attractive folksong settings with good interest in all parts.

1. Farewell Happiness
2. The Boundless Sea
3. The Little Bell
4. Do not Reproach me

_Score 7 pp. Parts each 4 pp._

  • Reviews
  • OMP177 Lance Eccles Four Russian Folksongs

    Lance Eccles is a prolific, contemporary Australian musician who arranges materials for his own consort and for meetings of the Sydney Society of Recorder Players.

    These arrangements for a recorder quartet are very short and simple. All four pieces are at a low intermediate to intermediate level with equally interesting parts. Unfortunately neither Russian text nor English translation is provided, so there is nothing to indicate the mood with which they should be played.

    "Farewell Happiness" is set in a minor key that creates a moody, bluesy sound, with short chromatic passages that keep it interesting. When it shifts from 4/4 into 3/4 for a few measures and then back, the beat remains steady. The shift will provide a challenge for lower level players, yet will not be too difficult. An Internet search of the English title turned up a possible text: "Farewell, happiness, my life, I know you go without me. It means: "We must part; I won't see you any more."

    "The Boundless Sea" is bright and bouncy in 6/8, with the melody moving between the soprano and alto lines. Unable to find any text, the group played faster than the suggested "Moderato," and used very light tonguing to avoid a sing-song sound. There would be some challenges for newer players on the soprano and alto lines, which stay in the upper octave and could become shrill.

    The meaning of "The Little Bell" is also critical for interpretation. Another online search found a mournful text: "A little bell rings monotonously along the dusty road, and over the expanse of fields resounds the doleful song of the coachman," and "So much sadness in that song bleak." While individual parts are not difficult, the challenge of this arrangement is maintaining the mood, while the soprano goes up to high B, and the alto to high E.

    The final song, "Do Not Reproach Me," starts in the key of C with the soprano playing the melody over a walking eighth-note bass line that continues throughout the piece. On the third repeat, the soprano and tenor play the tune an octave apart; on the fourth, the alto takes over the melody, going up for more high E. Then there is a dramatic modulation into Eb for the final repetition, ending with a twomeasure chromatic slide on the alto.

    This song arrangement is the best of the group, with a beautiful melody, the most varied texture, and the most challenge for higher-level players.

    Bruce Calvin, American Recorder, Summer 2013

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