Alexander Feht     
Composer, Poet, Translator

Demon

Demon
Composer: Alexander Feht
Performers: Nikolay Dorozhkin, Sergey Chechyotko;
Rufina James, Tyler Lincoln; Alexander Feht
Alexander Feht © 2001

1. Demon
(in Russian) Words by Alexander Pushkin

In those past days when all impressions
Of the existence were still new to me -
The women's side-glances, the rustle of a grove,
And late at night the song of a nightingale -
When those sublime passions
Of freedom, glory, and love,
Together with the inspired arts,
Excited forcefully my blood,
Like a sudden shadow of angst
Amidst the hours of hopes and pleasures,
Some evil genius began
To visit me in secret.

Our meetings were quite joyless:
His smile, his weird gaze,
His stinging talk infused
Cold venom into my soul.
He tempted the providence
With an inexhaustible malediction,
He called the beauty just a dream,
He disdained the inspiration,
He won't believe in love or freedom,
Looked mockingly at life itself,
And won't bless a single thing
In the whole universe.


2. I come out alone on the road
(in Russian) Words by Mikhail Lermontov

I come out alone on the road;
A flinty path is sparkling through the mist;
The night is calm. The desert harks to God,
And star is talking to another star.

There's majesty and wonder in the heaven,
The earth dreams in its sapphire radiance...
Why then do I feel such pain, why do I struggle?
Am I waiting for something? do I regret?

No, I don't wait for anything in life,
I don't regret my past, not in the least;
I long for freedom and for restful peace,
I wish to lose myself in the oblivious sleep:

But not in that grave's cold repose --
I want to sleep eternally alive,
With forces of my youth still slumbering
Within my calmly breathing bosom,

While all the time, day after night,
Sweet voice would sing to me of love,
While shadowy and evergreen oak
Would sway and rustle above - forever.


3. Kazbek Monastery
(in Russian) Words by Alexander Pushkin

High above the family of peaks,
Kazbek, your royal tent shines with eternal rays -
And your monastery floats beyond the clouds
Like an ark hovering in the sky, glimpsed above the crests.

Oh distant, long-desired haven! There, saying farewell to the gorge,
I would raise myself to free heights!
There, in a celestial cell,
I would hide myself near God.


4. The Day-Star is Gone
(in Russian) Words by Alexander Pushkin

The day-star is gone.
Evening mist covers the dark blue ocean...
Roar, roar you obedient sails,
Make waves beneath me, you hostile sea!

...I see the shore afar,
The enchanted land of noon,
I aspire to it with thrill and pain,
Soaked with memories.

And I feel tears born again in my eyes,
My soul boils then faints -
A familiar dream flies around me -
I remember now the wild love of my past
And all that hurt me, and all that consoled...
All the contradictory deceit of desires and hopes.

Roar, roar you obedient sails,
Make waves beneath me, you hostile sea!
Fly forward ship! Bear me to the farthest rim:
Ruled by caprices of the treacherous seas

Bear me anywhere -

- Not to the dolorous shores
Of my misty fatherland only.


5. A Dream
(in Russian) Words by Mikhail Lermontov

In the heat of the noon, in the valley of Daghestan
With lead in my breast I lay without move.
The deep wound still smoked,
Drop by drop my blood leaked.

I lay alone on the valley sand,
The ragged cliffs crowded above me,
The sun burned their yellow tops
And burned me too - but I was asleep with a dream of death.

And I saw with shining lights
A night banquet in my homeland.
From young ladies crowned with flowers
I heard a happy talk about me.

Not entering this happy talk
She sat alone in thought,
Her young soul lost in sad dream -
God knows why 'twas so.

And in her dream she saw the valley of Daghestan,
In it the familiar body -
The wound in his breast still smoked,
Blood leaked as a cooling stream.


6. The Faded Joy of my Wild Years
(in Russian) Words by Alexander Pushkin

The faded joy of my wild years
Oppresses me as a blurry hangover
And, like wine, the sorrow of past days
Grows stronger as it ages.

My way now is dull,
It promises labor and woe
Amidst the waving future sea -

But I don't want, my friends, to die -
I want to live, for I can think and suffer,
And I feel sure there will be joys for me
Among the sorrows, vanities and cares.

Again some time I will be drunk with harmony
And spill my tears over a fiction,
And probably the smile of farewell love
Will spark my final somber days.


7. The Grumble
(in Russian) Words by Baratynsky

It's near, the day of our tryst,
My friend, I'll see you again!
Why, then, my heart won't quiver
With the rapture of anticipation?

I mustn't grumble -- though it may be
That days of sorrow have passed too late:
The joy itself is a longing pain to me!
It's radiance is not for me,
And I am trying in vain to wake
Any hopes within my sick soul.

Thus, I cannot fully enjoy
The caressing smile of fate,
For all the time it seems to me that my joy is by mistake,
And that happiness doesn't become me.


8. Anticipation
(in Russian) Words by Baratynsky

Yes, she will come! At last
Our lips shall come together!
We'll find our hidden shelter
Under these leafy elms...

I suffer with passionate longing!
Still, being close to our beloved, we should tame
The impatience of ardent desires:
It could blunt the delight,
And shorten our pleasure.
Russian

9. O night, o tender time (Sonnet XLIV)

(in Italian) Words by Michelangelo

O night, o tender time though dark,
That calms our infinite vanity,
You bring us better sight and higher hopes.
Honoring you gives inner vision

Our cluttered thoughts are made sharp and clear
When your moist shade quietly embraces all.
Warm hope reaches out from our tearful heart,
Raising our miserable state to the sublime.

Oh night, oh shadow of death, you end our misery
And with quiet heart we face the ultimate,
Cured. You heal our weak nature,
Dispelling our Illusions and petty desires,
And terrifying those who lead
Lives of emptiness and envy.


10. To Vittoria Colonna (Sonnet XII)

(in Italian) Words by Michelangelo

A happy image of yours, zealous and ardent,
Is retained in my heart for life!
Though thousands of others are beautiful,
You alone are praised by noble ones.

Your image - mental as well as visual one -
Comes and consoles me always.
It is best subject for my mind to think about,
A best thing for my soul to feel.

When you speak to me,
I sense your grace,
The grace that can not be described.

What a shameful crime is
To give you my disgusting paintings,
When I can enjoy your beauty alive.


11. They were three hundred
(in Italian) Words by L. Mercantini

They landed arms in hand but did not fight us,
They threw themselves to the ground and kissed it.
I looked at everyone - everyone -
Each had tears in his eye, each smiled.
They were bandits from their lair, we were told.
But from us they took not a loaf of bread,
And their only words were,
"We came to die for our land!"

They were three hundred, young and strong -
And all are dead.

With blue eyes, with curls of gold
Their young leader came nigh.
Gathering my courage I took his hand and asked:
"Where leadest thou, fair Captain?"
He looked at me and answered: "Oh my sister,
I go to die for my beautiful fatherland!"
My heart trembled so I could not even wish him,
"God bless you".

They were three hundred, young and strong -
And all are dead.


12. Love's philosophy

Words by P.B.Shelley

The Fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law devine
In one another's being mingle -
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain'd its brother:
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea -
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?


13. To Science
Words by E.A.Poe

Science! True daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart,
Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
How should he love thee? Or how deem thee wise,
Who wouldst not leave him on his wandering
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car,
And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
To seek a shelter in some happier star?
Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?


14. I heed not

Words by E.A.Poe

I heed not that my earthly lot
Hath - little of Earth in it -
That years of love have been forgot
In the hatred of a minute: -
I mourn not that the desolate
Are happier, sweet, than I,
But that you sorrow for my fate
Who am a passer by.


15. Romance
Words by E.A.Poe

Romance, who loves to nod and sing,
With drowsy head and folded wing,
Among the green leaves as they shake
Far down within some shadowy lake,
To me a painted paroquet
Hath been - a most familiar bird -
Taught me my alphabet to say -
To lisp my very earliest word
While in the wild wood I did lie,
A child - with a most knowing eye.

Of late, eternal Condor years
So shake the very Heaven on high
With tumult as they thunder by,
I have no time for idle cares
Through gazing on the unquiet sky.
And when an hour with calmer wings
Its down upon my spirit flings -
That little time with lyre and rhyme
To while away - forbidden things!
My heart would feel to be a crime
Unless it trembled with the strings.


16. Bridal Ballad
Words by E.A.Poe

The ring is on my hand
And the wreath is on my brow;
Satins and jewels grand
Are all at my command
And I am happy now.

And my lord he loves me well;
But, when first he breathed his vow,
I felt my bosom swell -
For the words rang as a knell,
And the voice seemed his who fell
In the battle down the dell,
And who is happy now.

But he spoke to re-assure me,
And he kissed my pallid brow,
While a reverie came o'er me,
And to the churchyard bore me,
And I signed to him before me,
(Thinking him dead D'Elornie),
"Oh, I am happy now!"

And thus the words were spoken;
And this the plighted vow;
And, though my faith be broken,
And, though my heart be broken,
Here is a ring as token
That I am happy now!
Behold the golden token
That proves me happy now!

Would God I could awaken!
For I dream I know not how,
And my soul is sorely shaken
Lest an evil step be taken, -
Lest the dead who is forsaken
May not be happy now.


17. Ozymandias
Words by P.B.Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stampt on these lifeless things,
The hand that mockt them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:

"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings!
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remain. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away ...