Prominent in the work of Dargomyzhsky romances and songs. They are written by a composer over a hundred. The content of vocal music of Dargomyzhsky is exceptionally rich. Here, sincere lyrics, playful craftiness and drama, calm landscapes and characteristic household sketches, and at times a caustic social satire, in which Dargomyzhsky was an innovator. Especially deeply and psychologically truthfully revealed in the romances is the inner world of a man with his thoughts and feelings.
“I was sixteen years old” (the words of A. Delvig) – a successful example of the embodiment of character. From the first bars of music before the listener there is the image of a young girl, slightly sly, affectionate, gay and graceful. The creation of such an impression is facilitated by a major harmony and a relaxed waltz rhythm. The melody with its unexpected whimsical bends is expressive. Romance “I’m sad” Lermontov’s poems are imbued with profound lyricism.
Pushkin and Lermontov were the favorite poets of Dargomyzhsky. Their genius served as a source of inspiration for many Russian composers. The music of this romance subtly conveys the content of the poem, further strengthening its sad mood. Expressive means here are completely different.
The piano part resembles a guitar accompaniment in everyday romances. Against the backdrop of this pensive, gentle and quiet search of the guitar strings sounds a sincere confession – a vocal melody with features of recitation. It’s like living human speech, interrupted by pauses, like sighs, melody smooth, full of meditation and sadness. Deeply impresses with its intonational expressiveness the first phrase for the words “I’m sad” with a bright move to the descending diminished fifth (triton). In its development, the melody follows the text, its final culmination emphasizes the main idea of the poem – a thought that means that happiness can not be ruled out of a hypocritical society, among people that are treacherous and spiteful. Lermontov’s poem is imbued with alarm for the
fate of an expensive man, and this mood is subtly embodied in Dargomyzhsky’s romance.
“Old Corporal” is a dramatic ballad-type song written in the words of Pierre Beranger – the poet of the French Revolution (translated by V. Kurochkin). It refers to those songs in which Dargomyzhsky reflected the ideas of social injustice.
The song tells about the fate of the old soldier, who could not bear the insult received from the young officer, and for that he was sentenced to be shot. Stepping towards the place of execution, he tries to cheer up his comrades: “In the foot, guys, once!” Two! Give yourself a breast, do not whine, equalize! Once! Two! One! Two! “
In music, Dargomyzhsky truthfully and with real artistic power drew the courageous face of an old soldier, reflected the depth of his experiences. In various verses with a melodic depiction of verses with a refrain, the composer recreated the speech of the old soldier addressed to his comrades, his reflections on life’s vicissitudes, the bitter resentment and memories of the past. In the middle part – singing and slower – he remembers his native village, her freedom, and the old woman.
The repeated refrain in the rhythm of a clear march – his appeal to his comrades – sounds like a drill command given by a corporal. The music of the song follows the text flexibly, developing naturally and freely.
The importance of Dargomyzhsky in the history of Russian music is great. The continuer of the game Glinka, he at the same time was the first Russian composer, who in his work raised the subject of social denunciation, created comic and satirical songs, was able to broaden the circle of images of the chamber-lyric poetry in many ways.