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Kremlin by Night, Sergei Vasiliev’s Poem

17 February 2021
17 February, 2021

Nikolai Myaskovsky's Kremlin by Night Cantata-Nocturne (1947) will be performed for the first time in Yekaterinburg on March 9, 2021. The cantata was written to the poem by symbolist Sergei Vasiliev and published in the Literaturnaya Gazeta No. 19 (2334) (May 9, 1947). For the curious, we present it in full.

Sergei Vasiliev, Kremlin by Night

The rumble of the day is gone. The stone of the slabs is cooling.

Silence.

Moscow fell asleep.

Only the Kremlin is awake.

All adorned with lights

Arrow-shaped fortress.

Nineteen formidable towers

are guarding the time.

Along the stone crenellation

As a light draft

runs without looking back

the barefoot wind.

That on the top of the tower

the weather vane moves,

it will go down to the Tsar Cannon,

count the kernels.

Then it’d start a dashing motive

Tuning to new songs,

then it’d stand on tiptoe

and accidentally peek

into the depths of the chambers.

And the Kremlin chambers

are concealing miracles.

Wizard Apparatuses

stand on the tables.

Through amazing wiring

along the straight paths

Chukotka is talking to the Kremlin 

The Crimea answers.

For the vigorous polemics

at night to the palace

the old academician is summoned,

a marshal and a blacksmith.

People of plan and dexterity

came to the report.

Connoisseurs of casting and forging,

masters of the earth.

They brought the details with them

pictures, drawings,

black ingots of steel,

ripe rye grains.

Decrees are approved,

figures for urgent estimates.

To the two great powers at once

the answer is written.

The urgent work

drives the slumber away.

And all the time await for someone

the Borovitsky gate,

pushing the night apart.

The heat of the night work is long ...

Finally, dozing

the milky canopy of the stellar Kremlin 

is fading away.

They go out quietly one after another

The chandeliers of all chambers.

And the cars fly in a tandem

up the hill, to the Arbat!

... The eye of the entry sign fades.

The Kremlin fell silent again.

But, having listened, however,

one can hear:

someone, somewhere very sullen

rang out in the night.

That’s the history-old woman 

Is taking out the keys.

She immediately takes out the bundle

Of the big forged keys

and walks with a bundle of those

past the sentries.

Opens quietly the doors 

with a secret lock.

For her every exit here,

And every entrance is familiar.

Past the colorful patterns

under a faceted vault,

straight to Stalin’s office

she is coming.

She appears at the doorstep

And pronounces aloud:

- Why don’t you have a little rest,

Get out from the desk.

How much can this go on, really,

People have been sleeping for a long time! ..

And the dawn is just barely

whitewashed the window.

The night millet of the late stars

the wind blew from the sky.

The first swift swept obliquely

Cutting sharp the dreams.

Over the Moskva River 

everything has become already visible,

and the fog unsaddled 

its weary horses.


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