10 Russian Folksongs by Dmitriy Shostakovich


In choosing a repertoire I look, at big plans, to its right technical difficulty, its auditive proximity both for the singers and the audience, that poses a clear difference because of the unfamiliarity as well as the cultural distance from them, that suits the sound characteristics of the choir and that the conductor also likes it, to convey to the singers the full complexity of the piece.

Technical difficulty

In this case I've wanted to start another journey to s. XX, in foreign languages as in previous experiences, but this time with the Russian "Десять русских народных песен" ("10 traditional Russian songs") by Dmitriy Shostakovich. This involves a lexical difficulty for which I think it’s interesting for the coral the collaboration of some people familiar with the original foreign language of the composition to work, to correct diction and be faithful to a more purist performance. It’s already known in the history of the choir since I undertook the conducting, the respect to the interpretation of the works in their original language, as the language gives a genuine tone to the work, just as the composer had created it, while being more faithful to their expressivity and conducting of the phrasing. On the other hand we have the choir singers, that despite his extensive choral experience are not professionals. That's why it’s important that the candidate works don’t exceed them in technical difficulty, but also pose a challenge to avoid becoming overly simple, as I think I have accomplished with the work chosen.

Auditive Proximity

Its auditive proximity is a clamor to the known listener. Temperate harmonization works are better welcomed than that of daring sonority, and to delve into their learning pose a significant challenge for me personally, no less attractive on the contrary. However, the desire to explore more experimental works, in my opinion, should be undertaken with caution and small steps, to avoid our work being undervalued by the public listening.

Cultural difference

Keep in mind that people at the choir are native-speaking and influenced, saving some exceptions, by Catalan and Spanish folklore as is the majority of our audience. That is why I stress the cultural difference in the new selected works, very useful to enrich the choir as a group and their vocal diction to sing in languages other than their own, while exploring the expressive and phonetic resources hidden in each word, without becoming an idiomatic barrier since the music supplies, as abstract language, the complexity of understanding. Following this line, I approach a spirit of growth to know about other unknown composers. These musical influences give resources to the singers for understanding and performing other works.

Sound characteristics

In my choral experience, to know the quality that gives each voice to the whole mass is crucial to choose a suitable repertoire, in order their learning becomes both comfortable and challenging.
Each choir has its own vocal limitations and possesses essentially a whole timbre, which isthe reason why there’s not, in my opinion, a universal choir that can sing all kinds of repertoire. As I know the voices that integrate the Orfeó, is not appropriate for us to perform compositions of Händel, Mozart, Gounod and others. But I do hear in the whole timber dramatism, a vocal maturity more appropriate for styles as late Romanticism, Neoclassicism and music of XXth century.
As a director I just hope to enjoy the work of this new repertoire along with the rest of my fellow singers, and to be successful in another new goal to reach and satisfy the public with a denouement of meritorious success. Not anymore as a director but as a colleague, I’ve understood the philosophy of the Orfeó of overcoming both professionally and humanly, and that's why the work done and undertook is always seeking a demanding need of improvement.