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Korobushka arranged by Apollo Chamber Players. For String Quartet. Classical Period, Folk Music, World. Advanced Intermediate. Set of Parts, Score. Apollo CP #005. Published by Apollo CP (S0.12702).
Firmly planted in the pantheon of popular Russian folk dances, Korobushka's origins are modest. The song arose from a romantic 19th century poem by Nikolay Nekrasov, and the title loosely translates as a 'peddler's pack'. Nekrasov was a passionate lover of peasant Russia, and his poem tells a sorrowful story about the love between a peasant girl, Katya, and a young peddler boy: The two meet in a rye field at night where the boy promises Katya an opportune deal on his goods, before official sale at market. They fall in love, and the boy promises to marry Katya upon his return from a forthcoming commerce trip. Tragically, on his journey he is murdered by a band of thieves, and a heartbroken Katya mourns the loss of her true love. It is believed the melody to Korobushka may have been composed, although like much folk/peasant music, true authorship is unknown. The song became quite popular in late 19th century Russian cities and countryside, and a dance to the music soon developed; the early 20th century saw Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine importing Korobushka to the USA, and its evolution continued through a quickened tempo and the addition of Hungarian-esque closing steps. Apollo's arrangement mimics the pulsating energy of the original dance, by varying the tempi and slightly compressing the 16th-note melodic groupings (a performance practice akin to the tacit contraction of Strauss waltz rhythms). Indeed, this spritely, somber tune was 'born ready' for string quartet arrangement: its melodies exude feelings of affectionate longing and heartbreak, emotions perfectly expressed by the colors, virtuosity and interplay of a string quartet. Featured in Apollo's album, 'EUROPEAN FOLKSCAPES,' available on Navona Records.www.navonarecords.comwww.apollochamberplayers.org.
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