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Yelena Frolova
Singer, poet and composer

If only you could listen to these songs the way I have listened to them… Listen with your eyes shut and no hurry, no dividing yourself between various chores for the familiar reason of lack of time – time that we deem “necessary for some important matters.”  But aren’t you really living precisely when some intangible thread is linking you with the world of these songs, with Yelena Frolova’s voice, in which you are able to hear the tinkling of a tiny bell...
Yelena Kamburova, People’s Actress of Russia, State Prize Winner (Moscow)

The voice of Yelena Frolova belongs to the Russian and world song culture.
The miracle of her voice consists in the amazing variety, subtlety and virtuosity the singer makes use of in the dramatic transformations her voice undergoes virtually every second.
Yelena Frolova’s work, which is hard to fit in any traditional system of genres, combines in itself several key lines, including classical and modern poetry, innovating music, folklore traditions and Russian spiritual poetry. At the same time it is open to other nations’ melodies and rhythms.
The most significant sector of Yelena Frolova’s oeuvre is the setting to music and singing of the Russian Silver Age poetry, i.e. poems by Marina Tsvetayeva, Alexander Blok, Anna Akhmatova, Andrey Bely, Osip Mandelstam, Sofia Parnok, Sergey Yesenin, Mikhail Kuzmin and Arseny Tarkovsky, as well as works by poets who continued that glorious tradition: Joseph Brodsky and Leonid Gubanov.
Poems of such a high hallmark very rarely lend themselves to adequate translation into the language of the song. Yelena Frolova’s work exemplifies success precisely in this exceptionally difficult sphere.
Her musical interpretations of complicated, multisense texts are striking for their boldness, strength and precision. What they display is not an attention merely to the word, but to something that is behind the word. Another most important  facet of Frolova’s work is the ritual song and the Russian spiritual poem, which carry the listener away into the realm of Russian folk music – not in its popular lubok-type version, but in its heathen root form of antiquity.
A virtuoso mastery of the guitar, a skill with the gusli psaltery and the Scythian harp, a unique voice, a wonderful melodiousness and a perfect taste are the features the sum of which is responsible for the phenomenon of Yelena Frolova.

 

Brief Biography Profile

Born in Riga (Latvia)
1981 Begins to compose songs (at the age of 12)
1984 Begins singing on the stage (at the age of 15)
1988 Wins prizes in the categories of Best Performer and Best Composer in the Second All-Union Festival of the Bard Song in Tallinn and afterwards in numerous other festivals of this kind
1988 Forms the VerLen duo and begins singing with Vera Yevushkina
1989 Becomes an actress of the Moscow Theatre of Music and Poetry headed by Yelena Kamburova
1993 Wins the Vera Matveyeva Prize instituted by the Russian Humanitarian Foundation for Culture
1993 Becomes a founder of and an active participant in the AZiYA artistic alliance
Member of the Literary Union of Russia
Permanent member of juries at various festivals of Russian bard songs, including the V. Grushin International Festival and the Petersburg Chord International Festival
1991 Begins her concert tours singing poems by 20th-century poets and visiting many Russian cities, as well as Belarus, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Germany, Italy, France and Israel
1996 Masters the gusli psaltery and includes Russian spiritual poems and folk songs in her concerts
2002 Participates for the first time in the World Music festivals in France and Belgium
December 2003 Presents  in the Youth Cultural Centre in Berne (Switzerland) and in the Maison des Cultures du Monde in Paris her solo album, Zerkalo, recorded by the L’empreinte digitale French studio (Marseilles)
9-11 December 2003 Takes part in the congress On the Historical Experience of the Soviet Communist Totalitarianism: Confrontation with the GULAG, in Milan, with her programme based on poems by V. Shalamov and A. Barkova
2004 Participates with her programme based on V. Shalamov’s poems in the Live History seminar in the Shalamov Museum within the framework of Switzerland’s Days in Vologda event
March 2004 Represents Russia in the Divas of Eurasia First International Festival in Moscow with a concert programme of Russian folk songs and spiritual poems.

 

Chronology of Yelena Frolova’s Work

Yelena Frolova’s revelations depend on her listeners’ trust and require an earnest intimate dialogue between the artist and her audience, for which reason it is easy to understand her attachment to auditoriums invested with “souls” and to listeners whose eyes are “alive”. In her case the listener may not belong to the Russian cultural community, for the magic and fascination of her songs freely cross any language barriers.  They are like Esperanto, in the best sense of the word, in the sphere of genuine human expressiveness.
Dr. Hannelore Umbreit (Germany)

Yelena Frolova’s debut as composer and songstress took place at the Tallinn All-Union Bard Song Festival in 1988. Her talent with its strength and originality was immediately given credit to by such remarkable performers of the poetic Russian song as Sergey Nikitin, Yelena Kamburova, Veronica Dolina and Dmitry Sukharev. The poet and bard Andrey Anpilov wrote, “From the very first line she displayed a rare and powerful gift, both vocal and most importantly, spiritual, which could be sensed almost physically. At the same time, one could not feel its limits or boundaries. I will never forget her stepping up the emotional energy in one of her songs and “literally “revving up”. And then, when she seemed to have reached the limit, she suddenly and effortlessly soared, as it were, into what was to us a kind of space absolutely beyond our reach. It was sheer magic.”
An important direction in Yelena Frolova’s work became the setting to music and performing of the Russian Silver Age poetry written by Marina Tsvetayeva, Alexander Blok, Anna Akhmatova, Andrey Bely, Osip Mandelstam, Sofia Parnok, Arseny Barkovsky and by poets that continued that great tradition: Joseph Brodsky and Leonid Gubanov. Her series of songs and poems, especially her Tsvetayeva cycle, which stands out for its importance, have made her widely known in the circles of those who love poetry and poetic songs created by bard singers.
“Her series of songs with Marina Tsvetayeva’s poems as lyrics suggests something like reincarnation. Marina’s image is as tangible as your own capacity for the perception of reality permits it to be. A live person comes out through the music: through Yelena’s voice, Tsvetayeva rebels, loves, prophesies, resorts to irony and works… It is possible to rescue your truly loved one from death by praying. Yelena Frolova does so by means of her songs. (‘I think that forgiveness for “my ticket returned to Creator” has already been granted by Heaven, for Yelena has sent there so much love and understanding by means of her voice and music to each word written by Marina Ivanovna Tsvetayeva)’, thus wrote the poetess Marina Gershenovich.
On the invitation of Yelena Kamburova, Frolova arrived in Moscow and began working in the Theatre of Music and Poetry. Here she made the acquaintance of another remarkable songstress – Vera Yevushkina. They formed a duo: VerLen, which became an important factor in Frolova’s artistic and spiritual development. Their repertoire consisted of songs based on poems by Tsvetayeva, Blok, Brodsky and other classical and contemporary poets. In the early ‘nineties Vera and Lena toured all over Russia, performing in Siberia, in the Urals, in the Russian Far East, on the Volga, in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
In 1992 Yelena Frolova was awarded the Vera Matveyeva Prize. Her first audio albums, recorded by Valery Mustafyev in the Siberian Highway Studio (Kazan), date from the same time. It was also then that Yelena began writing lyrics for her songs.
In 1993 the AZiYa artistic alliance emerged. It included four artistes: Tatyana Alioshina, Alexander Dereviagin, Yelena Frolova and Nikolai Yakimov. Breaking away from the standards of the bard song, the AsiYa team aimed at fusing in its quests fine poetry and music with elements of the theatre. What resulted was a new extempore type of concert based on spontaneous song dialogue reminiscent of a jam session in jazz – where each participant preserves independence. Their union is based on shared principles and platforms, plus friendship. Many like-minded songsmiths, poets, musicians and their sympathizers from the general public have formed what can in effect be regarded as a new interesting phenomenon in Russian culture: they actively oppose pop music and the commercialization of art in general. Frolova’s friendship and interactive relations with the AziYa team is a very important part of her artistic evolution. She is undoubtedly one of the leaders of this cultural movement.
In 1995 Yelena Frolova moved from Riga, her birthplace, into the ancient Russian city of Suzdal, which was a kind of “emigration the other way round”. Interestingly, this relocation became not only a fact of her biography, but also the beginning of a new stage of her work. It was in Suzdal that Yelena Frolova discovered Russian folk songs, spiritual poetry and learned to play the gusli ancient instrument, a variety of psaltery. She also produced her own songs in that tradition. She calls them “her Russian folk songs”.
As a matter of fact, her addressing the old tradition and her own song writing, as well as her series on poems by contemporary and “newly discovered” poets, like Veniamin Blazhenny, Anna Barkova and Dmitry Strotsev, have one common denominator: a desire to talk to her contemporaries only about things that are truly significant and lofty, namely, of their souls, alive, suffering, searching and loving. What Yelena Frolova writes in this vein can be justly referred to as “today’s spiritual poetry.”
Thus there springs up a link between the nearly lost age-long tradition and the spiritual quests of contemporary human beings. Yelena Frolova never tires of repeating that the fertile soil that had existed in Russia and fed its culture, was burnt and destroyed by the cataclysms of the last century. Consequently, she views it as a most important objective for her art and the work of those whose aspirations are close to hers that they should regenerate the soil and revive those roots and traditions.
The mid- and late ‘90s mark the beginning of her extensive concert tours in Erope, notably in Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland. Her audiences grew as her concerts became popular not only with those who speak Russian, but also with those who do not, yet take great interest in her songs. The European listener discovered in Yelena Frolova one of the most noteworthy manifestations of contemporary Russian singing, which require no translation owing to her voice, talent for music, expressiveness, absolute sincerity and openness.
CDs with Yelena Frolova’s solo recordings have been released in France and Germany. Attention to her work is directly connected with the general trend in the world towards serious music and the current wish to escape the commercial stage stereotypes through hearing the genuine voices of different song traditions and cultures. In this extremely important and interesting process the voice of the singer and composer Yelena Frolova sounds as an equal among equals.

 

 

The Folk Song and Russian Spiritual Poetry

Ethnography and folklore are probably the main sources of the genre of contemporary chamber songs, in which Yelena Frolova works.
The gusli psaltery is one of the most ancient musical instruments. According to one theory, its name derives from the old Russian word gusla (which means a string or a bow-string). It was known under different names to different peoples: psalterion, citara, psaltery, kokle, etc. The instruments also had differing appearances although they were of the same origin.
It is not known when the first gusli appeared in Russia, but the people of Rus were already making use of them in the tenth century. The singer would make the instrument himself, adjusting it to his voice and hand, and the shapes of the gusli varied a great deal, eventually evolving three or four major types: those resembling helmets or wings and later on the gusli in the form of tables and keyboards.
At present there is a revived interest in this unique instrument, as a result of which gusli courses are offered by music schools, colleges and even conservatoires, for the instrument has been given the status of an academic instrument played to render any pieces, from simple folk tunes to Vivaldi and most complicated compositions of today. The folk traditions of play are being continued and developed.
On this CD, apart from Frolova’s own compositions and ritual folk songs, the gusli accompaniment is used for Russian spiritual poems, which constitute a distinct and original type of folk music and poetry. The subjects of the spiritual songs were the Old and New Testament episodes and characters, as well as stories of the first Christian martyrs, Russian saints, sinners and holy men. The most compelling of them were those about Doomsday and death (the moment when the soul parts from the body). They were generally sung by paupers or pilgrims, who wandered in search of shelter from house to house, village to village, monastery to monastery.  There were always a great many pilgrims in Russia: some of them performed vows, like those given before an icon at a moment of danger or grave disease, while others were ordinary tramps begging for food. A rare minority of them were “professional” strolling singers known as lyrniks. There existed whole schools of them to hand down the traditional skill from generation to generation. The tradition was cut short quite recently: in the 1950s – to reappear in a different form, sung not by strolling lyrniks, but by those who call themselves performers of folk songs.
Yelena Frolova became one of them. Her singing is not a traditional recital of folk songs, but rather a reinterpretation of the old tradition by a person born and bred in a modern city, blessed with appropriate education and upbringing. It is an attempt to partake of an ancient source with her voice and soul, to feel the lost taste of words and sounds that our remote ancestors who had produced those songs and poems, must have had.

 

 

RUSSIAN SILVER AGE POETRY

Yelena Frolova has created a rich collection of songs based on Russian Silver Age Poetry by Marina Tsvetayeva, Alexander Blok, Anna Akhmatova, Andrey Bely, Osip Mandelstam, Sofia Parnok, Sergey Yesenin, Mikhail Kuzmin, Arseny Tarkovsky.
 
Now I hear familiar stanza by Tsvetayeva, Mandelstam, Brodsky and many other favorite poets through Yelena Frolova’s world.
Svetlana Aleksievich, a writer (Spain-Belorussia)

While listening to these songs, one starts understanding a very strange phenomenon:  the Russian Silver Age didn’t come to its natural end. It was violently broken by awful social cataclysms of the 19th century, and for the next nearly one hundred years in defiance of practical wisdom and everyday logic has been struggling to go on by means of an outburst of fate, or by a dialogue of intimate souls speaking to each other through time barriers.
Songs by Yelena Frolova is one of the most penetrating attempts of the Russian Silver Age to start a conversation with us, to distract us from bustle and fuss, to make us recall the very idea that even now, in contemporary world in spite of everything, there are such things as music, poetry, and soul…
Roman Kabakov, a linguist (Berlin)

 She creates a certain unity of three original elements, those of voice, melody, and poetry. In addition to voice and talent Yelena possesses a rare gift to feel the inner energy of the voice. More than that, she seems capable of recognizing the impulse which initially brought the poet to write this or that poem.
Yelena Kamburova, People’s Actress of Russia, State Prize Winner (Moscow)

 

 

AUTHORSHIP

Oh, bareheaded soul,
In which century did you come to?
What holiday were you hurrying for
When you ignored the call of heavens?
                                                        Yelena Frolova

What distinguishes the songs composed by Yelena Frolova?
The first and rather specific impression is the feeling that they are written in primary words. Primary - meaning in most important, apart from those of modern poetic standard. Primary - meaning in words which were the first to come in the process of the song creation, once and for all. Words, melody, and intonation are being created simultaneously, and the song is born as a unity. This seems to be the main characteristic feature that distinguishes the songs composed by Yelena Frolova from those that are based on poems by other authors. It is much of a risk.
It also makes them really difficult to edit. The word is inseparably connected with the melody, being its innate part. Any other words which appear better from the point of view of artistic standard, poetic skill and technology, substitution or insertion more often than not are inappropriate. Any such process destroys the invisible substance where lives the word born in music.  ‘The spirit of music gives birth to poetry ’, - that’s what it is all about. Quite unexpectedly this ancient thesis acquires most contemporary sounding.
Worth mentioning is the striking integral wholeness of these songs; they are a complete amalgamation of voice, words and music, with power and freedom of their own. Being born as one and indivisible, they acquire the nature of breathing when performed. (What else can be demanded of an artist?) More often than not they affect the audience none the less than songs based on poems by great poets. What matters here is not the question if poems are comparable, but the fact that the source from which true poets, musicians and artists draw their inspiration, is the same. The light and purity of this source leave no doubt, and all the rest refer to literature, that is, important particulars. The sounding of these songs is true and pure; the merging of words with the melody is primordial and veritable. It is impossible to correct anything in them not because there is no better way to word them, but because there is no better way to sing them. So,  these are true songs, and to classify them as anything else means to miss the point.
Really fascinating is the level of inner freedom, power and independence of the artist’s  voice. It is also possible to say that the freedom of voice and breath is one of the most important peculiarities of Yelena Frolova’s songs.
Yet of greater importance is the immense breadth of the artist’s soul. Yelena possesses a great heart full of love for the world. The blessed fullness of heart enables her to make miracles in this simple yet so difficult genre of performing one’s own songs. These songs are created by her spiritual effort as well as by her never-ending desire to restore spiritual balance in the world.

 

 

Discography

1. HEAVEN LOVES YOU (p) 1997 The Siberian Highway Studio, Kazan’
Her own poems set to music by Ye. Frolova

2. CLOUDS FLOATING BY (p) 1997 The Custodians Studio, Moscow
Poems by J. Brodsky, О. Мandelstam, L. Gubanov, А. Тarkovsky and others set to music by Ye. Frolova

3. PALM SUNDAY BIRD (p) 2000 The Siberian Highway Studio, Kazan’
Poems by М. Tsvetayeva, V. Blazhenny, С. Parnok, М. Kuzmin, V. Nabokov and others set to music by Ye. Frolova

4. THE SUNNY THREAD (p) 2002 AZiYA-plus Studio, Saint-Petersburg
Her own poems set to music by Ye. Frolova

5. GOD’S FOOL SONGS (p) 2002 AZiYA-plus Studio, Saint-Petersburg
CD 1: D. Strotsev’s poems set to music by Ye. Frolova and D. Strotsev
CD 2: D. Strotsev’s poems recited by the poet

6. MY TSVETAYEVA 2CD (p) 2002 AZiYA-plus Studio, Saint-Petersburg
Marina Tsvetayeva’s poems set to music by Yelena Frolova

7. WIND FROM VIOGOLOSA (p) 2002 AZiYA-plus Studio, Saint-Petersburg
Yelena Frolova rendering Sofia Parnok

8. AZiYA – SECONDA PARTE (p) 2002 AZiYA-plus Studio, Saint-Petersburg
Songs by the AZiYA Alliance (А. Dereviagin, Т. Alioshina, N. Yakimov and Ye. Frolova)

9. ZERKALO (mirror) (p) 2002 L’empreinte digitale Studio, Marseilles
Poes М. Tsvetayeva, J. Brodsky, C. Yesenin, А. Тarkovsky and others set to music by Yelena Frolova

10. OH, LISTEN WITH EAGER EAR… (p) 2003 AZiYA-plus Studio, Saint-Petersburg
Songs by the VerLen Duo (V. Yevushkina, Ye. Frolova)

11. DOROZHEN’KA (My Path) gusli album (p) 2003 AZiYA-plus Studio, Saint-Petersburg
Russian spiritual poems, folk and bard songs rendered a capella or to the accompaniment of the gusli psaltery

12. LETTER (p) 2003 AZiYA-plus Studio, Saint-Petersburg
Varlam Shalamov’s verses set to music by Yelena Frolova; Shalamov reading his stories

13. DEAR ENEMY (p) 2004 AZiYA-plus Studio, Saint-Petersburg
Anna Barkova’s poems set to music by Yelena Frolova

14. RUSSIAN SPRITUAL POEMS (p) 2004 Denkmalscmiede Studio Studio, Grimma
Songs to the accompaniment on the gusli psaltery

 

 

HEAVEN LOVES YOU
Poems by Yelena Frolova

1. “It’s going to rain today…”
2. “You know, I had a dream…”
3. “Let life drag along past me…”
4. The rock
5. “The crazy wind…”
6. “A smile will melt away the day…”
7. “ You see them flying in the sky… “
8. “I’m giddy...”
9. “The siskin bird…” (dedicated to V. Yevushkina) 
10. “You’ll tell nobody…”
11. “The golden flames of day are burning…”
12. The tramp
13. Victoria
14. A white sparrow
15. Blues (dedicated to Janis Joplin) 
16. The prince
17. “Hallo, my pain…”
18. “Ah, my birdie…”
19. “I love you so…”
20. “Don’t leave me so soon…”
21. “I’ll give you a song as a present…”
22. A small boat
23. “Like a tit bird…” (dedicated to Mother)
24. “Lived as best I could…” (dedicated to E. Smolyaninova)

Poems, music, singing and the guitar by Yelena Frolova
Recorded in the Siberian Highway Studio, Kazan, 1997. Recording Director: Valery Mustafin
Design: Yelena Riabinskaya

 

 

CLOUDS FLOATING BY

1. Clouds floating by (J. Brodsky)
2. Butterfly (J. Brodsky)
3. Mascot song (Ye. Frolova)
4. “Tendermost…” (О. Mandelstam)
5. The fife of the steppes (А. Тarkovsky)
6. “The day has opened wide… (Ye. Frolova)
7. “This is no business of mine…”  (V. Blazhenny)
8. Your dislike (Т. Аlioshina)
9. A fiddler’s romance song (J. Brodsky)
10. August (D. Samoilov)
11. A song about nothing (Ye. Frolova)
12. A bandy-legged summer  (L. Gubanov)
13. Mukhambazi (G. Orbeliani)
14. “You said that Saadi…” (S. Yesenin)
15. “The sky will sway a little way…” (Ye. Frolova)
16. “Where is the sadness flying…” (Ye. Frolova)
17. Janis (Ye. Frolova)

Music, singing and the guitar by Ye. Frolova
Arrangements (1—5, 7—9, 11—14,16,17), guitar (2, 8, 9, 14, 17), piano (7, 16, 17), sitar (50), kettledrums (5) and ocarina (5) by Тatyana Alioshina
Violin (3, 4, 9, 11, 14, 16) by Marina Yakovleva; cello (4, 13, 14) by Valery Svobodov
Recorded in the GUARDIANS Studio in November 1997. Recording directors K. Putiakov and M. Poliakovsky
Mastering by Yu. Shcherbakov, CALYPSO Studio

 

PALM SUNDAY BIRD

1. “Between Sunday and Saturday…”  (М. Tsvetayevа)
2. Winter nupitals (J. Brodsky)
3. Swallows (V. Nabokov)
4. “Oh, dear friend…” (D. Strotsev)
5. The train (М. Gershenovich)
6. Useless lullaby (М. Gershenovich)
7. Love (М. Gershenovich)
8. Ghazal couplets (S. Parnok)
9. “You’re stepping down from the tram…” (S. Parnok)
10. A fashionable woman (V. Shalamov)
11. “On the right shoulder of mine…” (М. Tsvetayevа)
12. “I’m longing for warm weather…”(V. Shalamov)
13. Pigeons soaring (М. Tsvetayevа)
14. The pupil (М. Tsvetayevа)
15. “Memory of you…” (М. Tsvetayevа)
16. “Fly away, my white one…” (I. Ratushinskaya)
17. “Whether it’s the careful wind…” (М. Gershenovich)
18. “This is soul again…” (V. Blazhenny)
19. “Bury me next to…” (V. Blazhenny)
20. Basilid (М. Kuzmin)
21. Palm Sunday (A. Blok)

Music, singing and the guitar by Yelena Frolova
Recorded in the Siberian Highway Studio, Kazan, 2000. Recording Director: Valery Mustafin
Design: Yelena Riabinskaya

 

THE SUNNY THREAD
Lyrics by Yelena Frolova

1.  The Day Is Flaming Gold…
2.  The Burning Sky…
3.  Oh, My Distant Star…
4.  My Saturday…
5.  The Sunny Thread…
6.  Incantation
7.  Rolling Head Over Heels…
8.  Nobody to Confide in…
9.  Glow Away, Little Cinder…
10. The Chirping One
11. The Dear Little Heart
12.  The Way I Lived…

Total playing time 35:07

Lyrics, music, vocals and guitar by Yelena Frolova
Recording, mixing & mastering by Valeri Mustafin (The Siberian Highway Studio, Kazan’, 1997-2001)
Remastering by Alexander Starykh (AZiYA plus Studio, М., 2002)
Design by Irina Deshalyt

 

GOD’S FOOL SONGS
Dmitry Strotsev’s poems Set to Music by Yelena Frolova
Volume 1
1. It’s great to stand along the sky
2. What’s the bush saying-burning to me
3. In Georgia we’re in a black bowl like
4. What I bore in my bosom
5. I must warm up these stones
6. This blessed blindness
7. Why do these folks live a strange life
8. Ascending into heaven, I saw a garden there
9. After kidding I did fly
10. The story of a chestnut
11. Muliki-manuliki
12. Love is no corner
13. Conquer me, wean from others away
14. What can I awaken you with?
15. You aren’t mine
16. Like a little, little fish
17. That boat-cum-daughter
18. I’ll feed you with some peaceful clay
19. On the black floor underground

Total running time 47:26

Volume 2
Dmitry Strotsev reading his poems

Vocals and guitar by Yelena Frolova7, 16, 19 - music by Dmitry Strotsev
1 – 6, 8 – 15, 17, 18 –music by Yelena Frolova; 7, 16, 19 - music by Dmitry Strotsev
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Alexander Starykh at AZiYA-plus Studio, 2002, Moscow

 

MY TSVETAYEVA
Marina Tsvetaeva’s Poems Set to Music by Yelena Frolova
Volume 1

1.  “Between Saturday and Sunday…”  2.24
2.  “Smashed to silver smithereens…”  1:47
3.  “Pigeons hover…”  1:32
4.  “The transitory nature of…”  1:37
5.  “Spring makes you sleepy…”  2:03
6.  “My bearing is simple…”  2:24
7.  Insomnia (“Very tenderly, very subtly…”)  2:45
8.  A Shell (“From the leprosarium of lies and evil…”)  2:12
9.  “Here I stand, head cupped in my hands…”  1:07
10. “My light footstep…”  1:08
11. “Lord is bent with care…”  1:47
12. Pupil (“I’ve come to get some bread from you…”)  2:22
13. “On my shoulder…”  0:57
14. A Scythian Lullaby (“Over the blue, blue steppe…”)  3:20
15. “Following the common peoploe’s pat…”  3:06
16.  God (“A faceless face…”)  0:59
17.  Granny (“And how can the granny die…”)  3:30
18. Pupil (“The evening sun…”)  2:16
19.  “They were axing the rowen-tree…”  1:41
20. The Elder  4:18
21. “Of the deceased…”  2:41

Total time 45:52

Volume 1I
1.  Roanne (“I entered and I said: “Hallo!”…”)  2:42
2.  Magdalene (“Of your ways…”)  2:36
3.  Magdalene (“The Ten Commandments separate us…”)  2:09
4.  “Don’t give my name to anybody…”  3:10
5.  “You’re throwing back your head…”  2:35
6.  “I’m not trying to embarrass you or sing…”  2:06
7.  Earthly Omens (“Thus in the frugal convulsiveness of days…”)  2:56
8.  “Your infant tears…”  2:33
9.  George (“And no maiden…)  2:13
10. “Forgive love…”  1:11
11. Pupil (“In time of the tide…”)  1:55
12. “To reach your lips…” 
     “I’ve come to you at blackest midnight…”  2:53
13. “As a boy who ran fast…”  2:07
14. “I wrote on a slate…”  2:46
15. “On roads resonant with frost…”  1:38
16. “One day a charming creature…”  1:47
17.  Separation (“Hush: with a cautious hand…”)  2:14
18. “Neither love, nor respect do I want…”  0:37
19. Garden (“For this inferno…”)  3:40
20. “This is no grief, no concern of mine…”  1:58
21. “On this Annunciation Day…”  3:10

Total time 49:08

 

Yelena Frolova performs her songs, accompanying herself on a guitar
Recorded 2002 at White Hall Studio, St. Petersburg
Soundengineer: Evguenii Nikulskii; Cover Design: Irina Bolotina, Moscow
AZiYA plus Studio of Contemporary Arts, St. Petersburg, 2002

 

 

WIND FROM VIOGOLOSA
Yelena Frolova Rendering Sofia Parnok

1.  Prologue (“A giant city. Windy. Evening...”)
2.  In the Crowd (“You entered, as thousands of others did...”)
3.  Gazelle Couplets (“Your hand can soothe my pain...”)
4.  “It seems to me that you and I could...”
5.  Rondel “She’s singing, ‘Hail to You!’ - Lord help you!..”)
6.  Gypsy Song (“I know whom you fancy, darling...”)
7.  “My house in a shroud of snow...”
8.  “You’re stepping off a tram — all clad in love...”
9.  “For you’re neither kind nor vicious...”
10. Wind from Viogolosa!
11. “Night. And snow is falling...”
12. Gazelle Couplets (Right into your lips I’m whispering my couplets...”)
13. “You’re dozing, darling friend...”
14. Triolets (“How much does a clear voice, or a bird’s response...”)
15. “More faraway and ever softer...”
16. “Through everything I do, think or remember...”
17. Song (“With great distress my soul shivers...”)
18. To the Memory of A.K. Gertsyk (“And a voice once hailed you in the middle of the night...”)
19. “A cloud gave a glitter from within...”

Total playing time 50.21

Yelena Frolova performs her songs, accompanying herself on a guitar
Recorded & mixed by Sergei Pedchenko, Moscow (except №6); Mastered by Danila Karataev, Moscow (except №6)
Recorded, mixed & mastered (№6) by Valerii Kocheguro, St. Petersburg
Cover Design by Irina Bolotina, Moscow
AZiYA plus Studio of Contemporary Arts, Saint-Petersburg, 2002

 

 

AZiYA - SECONDA PARTE
AZiYA Creative Union:
T. Alioshina, A. Derevyaghin, Ye. Frolova, N. Yakimov

1.  I’ll Be Singing (S. Yesenin – T. Alioshina)
2.  To Alya (M. Tsvetaeva – N. Yakimov)
3.  August (J. Brodsky – A. Derevyaghin)
4.  The Greek Song
    (Ye. Frolova on the music by M. Theodorakis)
5.  Ballade №3 or Akhvellou (N. Yakiov and G. Sapgir – N. Yakimov)
6.  Weel (V. Blazhennyi – Ye. Frolova)
7.  Spiritual (T. Alioshina – T. Alioshina)
8.  Poets (V. Nabokov – N. Yakimov)
9.  In Georgia We’re in a Black Bowl Like (D. Strotsev – Ye. Frolova)
10. Another Vinnie Pooh. When All Is Left Behind (A. Surov – N. Yakimov)
11. The Story about Fate (T. Alioshina – T. Alioshina)
12. Little Sonnet (J. Brodsky – Ye. Frolova)
13. The Days Are Fly by (D. Kharms – T. Alioshina)

Total playing time 59:17

Music & lyrics: see the list of authors
Аrrangement, voice, guitar — Tatyana Alioshina, Alexander Derevyaghin, Yelena Frolova, Nickolai Yakimov
Recorded, mixed & mastered by Leonid Rybkin at “Mouse Records” Studio, St. Petersburg, 2002
Cover Design — Vladimir Bystrov, St. Petersburg
“AZiYA-plus” Studio of Contemporary Arts,St. Petersburg, 2002 

 

 

ZERKALO

1.  Winter Wedding (J. Brodsky)
2.  Swallows  (V. Nabokov)
3.  Between Sunday and Suturday (M. Tsvetaeva)
4.  Little sonnet (J. Brodsky)
5.  Where does the sadness? (Ye. Frolova)
6.  A Little Song About Nothing (Ye. Frolova)
7.  «Разлетелось в серебряные…» (M. Tsvetaeva)
8.  Janis (Ye. Frolova)
9.  The fife of the steppes (А. Тarkovsky)
10. Bazilid (М. Kuzmin)
11. Little girl sunning (М. Kuzmin)
12. The drowsy bell (S. Yesenin)
13. The sun has has gon down (S. Yesenin)
14. Dove book (a Russian spiritual song)
15. “Here I stand, head cupped in my hands…”  (M. Tsvetaeva)
16. My sinful, sinful soul (a Russian spiritual song)
17. Clouds floating by (J. Brodsky)
18. “Ah, my birdie…” (Ye. Frolova)
19. The tramp (Ye. Frolova)

 Total playing time 62:00

Music, singing, the guitar and Gusli psaltery (12,14)  by Ye. Frolova
Arrangements (3, 11, 13 17, 19), guitar (3, 7,11,13, 17, 19), piano (4, 6, 8, 18) by Тatyana Alioshina,
Arrangements (9,10,13), flute (3, 8, 10, 11, 13, 17, 18), bayram (9), ocarina (10) by Ye. Belkina;
Recorded at «L’empreinte digitale» Studio, Marseilles,November 1997.
Cover design — Jules G

 

Oh, Listen With Eager Ear…
VERLEN Duo
Vera Yevushkina, Yelena Frolova

1.  Oh, Listen With Eager Ear… (P. Verlain; tr. by O. Chukhontsev )
2.  From a Cloud and a Sigh (V. Khlebnikov)
3.  Birds (R. Ipatova )
4.  A Letter (A. Kushner)
5.  Christmas Romance Song (J. Brodsky)
6.  I Don’t Know Why (J. Brel, tr. by M. Wachsmacher )
7.  Colombina’s Romance Song (J. Brodsky)
8.  A Lullaby for an Hangman (I. Lisnianskaya )
9.  Sic Vitа (H. King; tr. by V. Lunin )
10. One Fine Day (M. Tsvetayeva )
11. A Grasshopper (N. Zabolotsky)
12. A Garden (M. Tsvetayeva)
13. A Tiny Sail Ship (J. Tauler; tr. by L. Ginsburg )
14. A Candle (B. Akhmadulina)
15. Elder Bush (M. Tsvetayeva )
16. Chopin’s Mazurka (B. Akhmadulina)
17. Sleep Gone Forever (F. G. Lorca, tr. by M. Samayev)
18. Verlaine (I. Annensky)

Total playing time: 59:56

Vera Yevushkina — music (2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 14, 16, 18), vocals, guitar           
Yelena Frolova — music (1, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13,15, 17, 18), vocals, guitar
Arrangement & violin by Natalia Sytikova; Arrangement & cello by Julia Ziganshina
Guitar improvisation by Vitaly Kharisov
The album was recorded in the Siberian Tract Studio in Kazan’, 1990; Sound Engineer: Valery Mustafin
Cover design by Alexandra Smotrova; AZiYA plus Studio of Contemporary Arts, St. Petersburg, 2002

 

 

MY PATH
gusli album

1.  My God-charted path (Ye. Frolova) 
2.  Dove book (a Russian spiritual song) 
3.  End of the century (a Russian spiritual song) 
4.  Tartars were advancing (a Russian folk song) 
5.  Geese and swans (Ye. Frolova) 
6.  As we sailed across the blue sea (a Russian spiritual song) 
7.  Easter bells (S. Yesenin) 
8.  A sinful man (a Russian spiritual song) 
9.  Oh, you winds and breezes
10. Gossips (a Russian folk song)
11. Cuckoo (a Russian folk song)
12. The sun has set (S. Yesenin) 
13. Man, yes, he lives (a Russian spiritual song) 
14. Oh, my holy path… (a Russian spiritual song) 
15. Peacocks (V. Nabokov) 
16. I sat with my friend yesterday (a Russian spiritual song) 
17. What did we see? (a Russian spiritual song) 
18. You, my path (a Russian spiritual song) 
19. My sinful, sinful soul (a Russian spiritual song) 
20. Oh, luminously light one (a Russian folk song)
21. Strike up and sing, Christians (a Christmas carol)

Total playing
time 63:35

Music by Yelena Frolova (1, 5, 7, 12), Music by Sv. Pervakova (15); Singing and Gusli psaltery: Yelena Frolova
Recorded, mixed & mastered at AZiYA-plus Studio, М., 2002-2003, Engineer: Alexander Starykh
The Gusli psaltery made by master Dimitry Belolipetsky from the city of Suzdal; Cover design by Al.Smotrova

 

 

LETTER
Varlam Shalamov’s verses set to music by Yelena Frolova;
Shalamov reading his stories

1.  “Like Noah, do I throw, over…”
2.  Pigeons (“Pigeons walking by the building…”
3.  “Waiting keenly for warm weather…”
     “All these are her signs…”
4.  Fashion minded woman (“Girl of style and fashion…”)
5.  Squirrel  a story*
6.  Nighttime song (“Like a pack of wolves at night…”)
7.  Letter (“This is how I walk...”)
8.  Doctor Kuzmenko’s Chess  a story*
9.  “Like a fish I swim at night…”
10. “White is the sky. White is the snow...”
11. “My palaces in crystal…”
12. The Revival of a Larch Tree  a story*
13. Ice floe (“With a swan feather, not a goose one…”)

Total running time  54:10

Music, vocals and guitar: Yelena Frolova; Arrangements and guitar (2, 4, 13): Sergey Bagin, Moskow
Recorded at CTM-rec Studio, Moskow, in July 2003 Engineer: Alexander Starykh
Mixed (1-4, 6, 7, 9-11, 13), restored (5, 8, 12) & mastered by Alexander Starykh, AZiYA plus, St. Petersburg, 2003
Reading (5, 8, 12): Varlam Shalamov; Recorded by N. N. Kind (Rozhanskaya) in her home, in 1965
The recording kindly made available by I. P. Sirotinskaya
Cover design by Irina Bolotina, Moskow

 

DEAR ENEMY
Anna Barkova’s Poems Set to Music by Yelena Frolova

1.  Dear Enemy (“The enemies on the other side…”)
2.  My Tartar Anguish (“My Volga Tartar anguish…”)
3.  Precursor (“I’m a sad-looking precursor…”)
4.  “At the devil’s mass…”
5.  Leper Woman (“I’m a lonely leper…”)
6.  “I was looking for you in my dream…”
7.  “Don’t turn me out, don’t…”
8.  Stupid Girl (“I’m sitting all alone on the porch...”)
9.  The Old One (“My heart is filled with some confusion…”)
10. “I’m walking, to myself a stranger…”
11. Russian Asian Woman (“Unfurl your fiery shawl…”)
12. “Forgive me my nocturnal soul…”
13. “Our life is very brief…”
14. “Thank you, my last sunset…”

Total running time  42:47

Yelena Frolova: music, voice and guitar
Serghey Baghin: arrangements, performing and recording (1, 6, 7, 12, 13)
Recorded at CTM-rec Studio, Moskow in July & December 2003 by Alexander Starykh (1-3, 5-8, 10-14)
& ANNASTASIA Studio, St. Petersburg in September, 2003 by Andrey Filimonov (4-9)
Mixed & mastered by Alexander Starykh, AZiYA plus, St. Petersburg in October-November 2003
Cover design by Irina Bolotina, Moskow

 

 

Russian Spiritual Poetry
Songs to the accompaniment on the gusli psaltery
1.  My God-charted Path (Ye. Frolova)
2.  Dove Book (a Russian spiritual song)
3.  The See of Life (a Russian spiritual song)
4. A Sinful Man (a Russian spiritual song)
5.  Early morning on sunday (a Russian spiritual song)
6.  The Morning of Whit Sunday (S. Yesenin)
7. Gossips (a Russian folk song)
8.  Oh, you winds and breezes (a Russian folk song)
9. Cuckoo (a Russian folk song)
10. Peacocks (V. Nabokov)
11. Fire Beards (J. Simon)
12. My sinful, sinful soul (a Russian spiritual song)
13. The drowsy bell (S. Yesenin)
14. The sun has set (S. Yesenin)
15. In the sky (Т. Аlioshina)

Total playing time 48:25

Music (1-14), Singing and Gusli psaltery: Yelena Frolovaby, Music by T. Alioshina (15);
The Gusli psaltery made by master D. Belolipetsky (2, 8-11, 13, 14), Т. Кupreyanova (3, 5, 6, 15)
Recorded at Denkmalscmiede Studio, Grimma, april 2004
Engineer: Thomas Wieber, Germany



 

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