…in my perception 🙂
Seriously, when I listen to Mozart, I get the same state and same type of vibrations like when I read or recite Pushkin. Absolutely the same!
You surely know Mozart, that most popular musician ever. But who is Pushkin and why can I feel it this way?
Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin was Russian 19th century country’s greatest poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. Pushkin (1799-1837) blended Old Slavonic with vernacular Russian into a rich, melodic language. In fact, he created the language Russians speak today and defined the literary baseline for all great Russian writers, among them Turgenev, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Pushkin wrote some 800 lyrics with a dozen narrative poems. His personal life was made difficult by his conflicts with the authorities who disapproved of his liberal views. Twice-banished by the Czar, Pushkin’s great historical work Boris Godunov emphasizes “the judgement of the people” as the powerful antidote to the excesses of autocratic rule. In it he avowed that the poet-as-prophet should “fire the hearts of men with his words.”
Pushkin`s poetry is a must and the love of every Russian: everyone can recite at least one poem of Puskin by heart. Truly, Alexander Pushkin was a poet of genius. His ability to express general truths in short, clever sentences has no parallel. Many of his expressions have become part of the speech even of people who may not have read his poetry carefully. They have become part of everyday language, absorbed by every generation almost in the cradle. Pushkin wrote for all ages – fairy tales for children, love poems for teenagers, philosophical dramas for adults. And in all he wrote he had something significant to say.
The music of Mozart is full of sunshine and pure joy, not emotional and not thoughtful, just in the middle, very balanced and blissful. And exactly the same impact on me has the Pushkin’s poetry – amazingly, just the very same! Was it one and the same creative spirit? How not to believe in reincarnation in that case? -Pushkin was born 8 years after Mozart died… Who knows?
Some Russian famous person said “Pushkin is our everything”. When you visit Austria, you understand same about Mozart, because he is literary onmipresent…I am not aware of two other people of art that are so much adored and known by their peoples.
Now let me give you the taste of their genius creations.
My absolute favourite of all Pushkin is Winter Morning that describes the true beauty of winter, so dear to every Russian heart…(plese note that any translation in case of Pushkin is almost hopeless)
Cold frost and sunshine: day of wonder!
But you, my friend, are still in slumber –
Wake up, my beauty, time belies:
You dormant eyes, I beg you, broaden
Toward the northerly Aurora,
As though a northern star arise!
Recall last night, the snow was whirling,
Across the sky, the haze was twirling,
The moon, as though a pale dye,
Emerged with yellow through faint clouds.
And there you sat, immersed in doubts,
And now, – just take a look outside:
The snow below the bluish skies,
Like a majestic carpet lies,
And in the light of day it shimmers.
The woods are dusky. Through the frost
The greenish fir-trees are exposed;
And under ice, a river glitters.
The room is lit with amber light.
And bursting, popping in delight
Hot stove still rattles in a fray.
While it is nice to hear its clatter,
Perhaps, we should command to saddle
A fervent mare into the sleight?
And sliding on the morning snow
Dear friend, we’ll let our worries go,
And with the zealous mare we’ll flee.
We’ll visit empty ranges, thence,
The woods, which used to be so dense
And then the shore, so dear to me.
For you to compare: Mozart, the 41th Symphony
You know what Axinia….I knew about Pushkin and read few poems of his but never listened to Mozart (though I read about him)….
Its a beautiful poem indeed ….. first thing that came to my mind reading this poem is “beauty lies in eyes of its beholder”
winter is termed as gloomy, and depressive by most people here and its indeed a totally bright view of the same….I am definitely going to enjoy my winter now !!!
Winter is indeed very very enjoyble, especially if you are lucky to get some snow…
And please listen to Mozart, he is great. I listen to his music almost every day 🙂
it is said translation kills a poem.
But music doesn’t need translation.
So music is more refined than poem?
How would a musician and a poet compare?
Be as it may, someday, I want to read Pushkin in Russian.
(I love poets more than musicians.
Oh! Also, I know two sisters – one goes with music and the other with words 🙂
Swaps, I wish you could read Pushkin in Russian, it is like a music!…
Poems I believe work more on the brain, music more on the emotions.
P.S: as soon a video of my sister singing in ready, I will post it here 🙂
“Pushkin in Russian, it is like a music!…”
No doubt, for instance, ‘life’ in Russian (Zhizn, right?) sounds musical. Reminds me of a Urdu word ‘Jism’ meaning body.
(Looking forward to your sister’s singing 🙂
You’ve picked up such pics of both of them where they really look alike… I have never thought to compare these two great souls but the idea to do it is really interesting.
thanks, Anastasia, it came to me several times and I thought of posting on it.
Have you heard “Carnatic music” which is popular in South India? I suggest you hear a couple of songs and an instrumental like ‘Veena’….. You would fall in love with the music. It is very deep and soulful. Try listening to some of them…
you mean an Indian Classical music? I am fond of that too!
I wrote already two posts on it, and will write more.
There is some similarity of its impact with the music of Mozart, but the Western Classical and Indian Classical Music differ at one crucial point…which I will tell you later 🙂
Listen to the song in the link…. an excellent example of West meeting the east , Of classical music meeting western…. One of the rarest of such examples I have heard recently.
I have not had oppurtunities to listen to western classical songs like Mozart, but wish I could soon…..
thanks, that is intresting!
However I still prefer the pure Indian ragas (actually listen to them morning and evening every day 🙂
You know, at some point I found out for myself that only truly classical music (Western or Indian) is really nourishing for me.
All the rest (jazz, rock, pop, etc.) I can listen to only for a short time – otherwise it becomes boring.
Both are great artists in their own right but I don’t see any similarity in their works 😦
one can not see it, only FEEL :))
Pushkin was very famous in China, and as I believe, still is quite famous.
Regarding Mozart, to be honest, I don’t like his music at all. They sound too proper, too polite, and his innocence seems a little anoying or sometimes even affected to me, like that of a cat rubbing my pants with its tail. Pleasing to some, but anoying to me. Still there are exceptions with his piano concertos, mostly the middle movements, felt like songs raining down from the starry night sky… …
I do like Tchaikovsky and the artists Levitan and Shishkin, all quite famous or once famous in China.
Thanks for your article.
Your Chinese friend, arrived here through Nita’s site.
that is great to get your comment here, my Chinese friend! Your observations are very interesting, in fact I heard that there are quite a few Russian cultural things that are popular with Chinese.
BTW, I once asked in a comment by Nita about the collective heroism – whether it was same in China as in Russia.
I hope you can remember this Nita`s post: http://nitawriter.wordpress.com/2008/10/13/hero-worshipping-non-heroes/
and my comment is crying for some Chinese answer 🙂
I believe a mature person has no “heroes” as it is, but just some people whom she/he admires or appeciates very much.
Let me give another take from my country of origin. In Soviet Union, the vast part of ideology was built upon heroes – of Revolution, of the Second World War…
Sure, that was very manipulative but also very elevating! AND – this is the gist – often the Hero was.. the nation itself. The Soviet ideology strongly supported the heroic image of Soviet people, the COLLECTIVE HEROISM. That made people cultivate the best human qualities in themselves, and one can still see that ordinary people who grew up and lived in the Soviet times, their value system is very stable and very “human”.
And that I find really great. I don’t know if there is any other country where it was practiced that way – may be China?(you may know better).
Hi Axinia, I try my best.
Speaking of the traditional China, there were hero worshippings. The heros were mostly Confucians who sacrified themselves for the country. For example, Wen Tian Xiang became one of the many when he resisted the Mongol invaders. However, their roles in the value system were dwarfed by the Confucian sages who defended the culture but the country. Overall, I think it is fair to say that heroism was not essential in traditional China.
In Communist China, in Mao’s time, many heros were made for ideological purposes. But when looked deeper, what made them heros was still very consistent with Confucian values (virtues, serving people, ect.). And since the Communists denied traditional Chinese culture, the role of Confucian sages was not effective anymore at that time. However, I don’t think China eventually came to collective heroism.
As for today, 30 years after Mao, since the practice of Capitalism, China has been a hero-less vulgar society for quite a while (Or money became the new hero?). But reccently, there are many signs of the return of Confucian values, such as the good deeds of the commital, sacrifying youngsters in helping the earthquake victims earlier this year. Still, it doesn’t seem like a form of heroism. After all, Confucius is the true King of China, not Mao.
Hope the above answers a little of your question.
thank you very much, guqin – that is extremely interesting!! China, as well as Russia is still a mystery for the outside world and any piece of information from a native is so valuable.
I am a bit surprised that there was no collective heroism as such, for Chinese seem to be very collective by their nature.
But what I actually the values that inspired Chinese to Communism?
In the case of Russia, the appemt to Communism and the October Revolution were only possible, because such a form is very close to the Russian nature ( it is a Long talk though, will not go into details here)…
So what do you think made Chinese go this way? Confucian values?
Communism in China is only an accident when China was in a very bad position when western civilization had started conquering the world. Different Chinese people had different ideas about how to save China. A series of events had helped those young Chinese communists trumph over the others (Mao’s unusual talent was among them) and became China’s official goverment. Chinese China is 5000 years old, Communist China is 59.
Regarding Confucianism, it is a specific form of Daoism practiced in the secular society (but many scholars would disagree with me here), but it had an earlier form in West Zhou dynasty by Zhou Gong (Confucius’ personal hero) who lived before confucius. His idea was to apply the earlier phylosophy of I-Ching (Yi Jing) to society, state, ethnics, politics etc. So all these are not much more than the descendants and specific realizations of I-Jing. One of the core ideas of its is the harmony between men and the cosmo which particularly impressed Confucius, and we can see this in Confucian values. Chinese people are not collective in nature like you said, harmony isn’t the same as collectiveness. However, the fact that China has been a unified nation (in the modern sense!) since 221BC, and the “collective” communist movement are probably the source of impression that Chinese people are collective.
thanks a lot, your insight is very helpful!
But I am a bit surprised that you mean Chinese are not collective. All over the world, especially in respect of Intrecultural Studies, Chinese are considered to be the pattern of a collectivistic culture!! Please explain why it is not so – I am so curious to fing it out.
1000thanks in advance!!
Only if I understand the word “collective” correctly as acting in group as a whole:
On the surface, this observation isn’t entirely wrong with such as the emphasis of famlies and local ethnicities, but secular culture doesn’t define the whole culture alone. The collective layor of Chinese culture is a consequence of the dominance of Confucianism which didn’t take place until very late (Han dynasty, 2nd century BC). It gave the society a structure. The elite culture has always been more Daoist than Confucian (and later Buddhist too since Tang Dynasty much later), none of these two cultures are collective. Especially Daoism, it is very individualistic, even egoist sometimes. Also, even Confucianism was interupted several times to give way to more liberal and individualistic cultures to develope, most noticibly the Jin dynasty (晋), which was one of the most important dynasties for China’s artistic developement. Saying that China is collective is like saying that the ocean is still by looking at its surface from afar.
You may be surprised if I tell you that I think western culture is collective in essence though with a liberal surface. Just look at the sports and arts, they all seem rather community-oriented, impersonal and public (like the Olympic game or symphonies). Then look at China’s arts and sports, like music or Tai Chi, everybody does his own thing.
Japan may be the collective one since it picked up mostly Confucianism from China and less Daoism.
wow, what an exellent infromation, guqin! – I am very impressed by your analisys and the depth of knowledge.
Your supposition that Western culture is colelctive is also amazing – and yes, it makes sense 🙂
keep vising and please leave your brilliant comments, I am sure many would appreciate that.
Very good comperesing!
Are you Russian?
spasibo, Tantjana, I am indeed Russian 🙂
[…] posts on unknown genius people and the Russian inellctual and spiritula heritage. After my post on Pushkin and Lomonosov, the next one who came to my mind was the man of a very unusual destiny and […]
“Cold frost and sunshine: day of wonder!
But you, my friend, are still in slumber -”
Keeps getting in my head for the last couple of days.
A funny thing is, that the first thing I thought when I read this poem was: “Beauty lies in the eyes of its beholder”
Exactly the same thing as the first reply said on this page.
I love the poem and like the music, it goes well with it indeed.
Pushkin wrote a book on Mozart, ‘Little Tragedies’.
Oh, indeed, I forgot completely!! thanks a lot for this input.
To feel Pushkin poem in your body you have to read it out loud, in Russian. Running in the snow while reading it helps.
Yes, some of Mozart’s music seems too simple and innocent. Need to pick some of the more ferocious pieces, like Requiem.