Boris Pasternak (1890-1960)

  1. Night

Poem, 2'10".
Voice – Boris Pasternak
Recording – 1958

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (b. Moscow 1890 - d. Peredelkino 1960), was a writer and musician. Between 1903 -1909 he studied with Scriabin, composing several pieces for piano. With poets Bobrov and Aseyev he was part of the futurist group Centrifuge [Tsentri fuga] founded in 1913, influenced by Russian symbolism. He entered this circle as a musician but soon started to write poetry, though maintaining a musica l influence in some of his patterns, such as the "juxtaposition of contrasting images or things that grow and develop" (Vladimir Markov). This use of transitions typical of music is also found in this poem recited by the author, where he destroys the hierarchy of objects and ideas, and puts on the same plane the Milky Way, the airplane, stars, coal men, infinite spaces... in order to give a view of the Universe. His poetry is formed following a contrapuntal method (taking the same subject from different points of view, or different subjects treated as one). Concepts are approached through family phonetic relationships. He makes associations of sounds and analogies of words in unexpected ways, like the futurists and surrealists, mixing logic and fantasy in the same expression.This poem, written in 1956, is the first recording of Pasternak and was made in 1958 by two Swedes who visited him, but there were a lot of faults in the recording, and it was only later, in 1965, that the first Soviet record, "The writers speak", appeared, with the recording of Pasternak's voice included here. Pasternak won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1958 but was obliged by the Soviet authorities not to accept it. His novel Dr. Zhivago (1955) became very popular outside the Soviet Union, but ran into serious difficulties from the Soviet censors. Pasternak decided then to maintain an internal exile.

Russian Futurists from the GLM Collection (1920-1959)
Sound Experiments in The Russian Avant-Garde (1908-1942)