Following this salute to the Moscow Seven, a poem by one of the seven, Vadim Delone (1947-1983, pictured in Paris in 1982), written in 1965, presumably following a performance of Mendelssohn’s E minor violin concerto (translation my own, with help from a Russian-English dictionary, a strong coffee, and Google Translate):
Outside indefinite and sleepy
Autumn rain rustled monotone.
The wind howled and rushed in with a groan
At the sound of a violin, a concerto of Mendelssohn.
I have long been used so painfully,
How long I have not sat sleepless,
So tired and so passive,
Since escaping to a concerto of Mendelssohn.
Running a telephone wire,
Voice of my pain betrayed involuntarily,
You asked me nervously –
What happened to you, what is it?
I could not have answered in monosyllables,
If you even thus groan,
What sounded in the night anxiously
The tempestuous strings of Mendelssohn.
Notes and References (Updated 2010-08-08):
All poetry loses in translation. Working on this poem, I learn that the Russian word for violin, skripka, is close to the word for creak or squeak or rasp, skrip. In an earlier version, I translated the last line of the poem as “Fiddling passionate Mendelssohn”, but this does not capture the original’s double meaning of violin-playing and rasping. I am very grateful to violist Lev Zhurbin for suggesting what is now the last line. With no folk violin tradition in Russia (unlike in Moldova or the Ukraine), there is no equivalent Russian word to the English word “fiddle”.
Websites (in Russian) devoted to Delone are here and here.
Another poem about a violin, Joe Stickney’s This is the Violin, is here. Other posts in this series are here.
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