Six of Ahmatova's poems, set to music (for soprano and cello) by John Tavener.
In these settings Tavener has tried to reflect the deceptive simplicity of the verse, which stems from classical tradition. In the final song 'Death' the musical material of the earlier songs is gathered together. Then the poet bids a painful farewell to her beloved homeland, and steps into the 'cabin' that has been particularly prepared for her.
The Akhmatova Songs were commissioned by the Cricklade Music Festival and first performed on 28 September 1993 by Patricia Rozario and Steven Isserlis at St Sampsons Church, Cricklade.
Russian text, with an English translation