Dramatic Vocalise Database

Alfred Schnittke (1934–98)

Voices of Nature [Golosa prirodi] (1972)

“Voices of Nature (Golosa prirody, 1972) is a vocalise for ten female voices (five sopranos and five altos) and vibraphone, without text. Its first public performance took place in spring 1975 at the Bolshoi Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with the Students’ Choir of the Moscow Conservatory conducted by Boris Tevlin.

“Originally this was an episode from the music for the documentary by Mikhail Romm ‘And Yet I Believe’. After the terrible pictures of war and catastrophe, drug addiction and the revival of Nazism, suddenly a dreamlike episode follows showing the mountains and forests, deer, and the Earth from space, accompanied by music of light and beauty.

“Schnittke found that the piece is quite suitable for concert performance, in spite of the fact that its structure is so simple: just two phrases, thirty melodic sounds and about five minutes in duration. The music begins with a very quiet middle D and gradually finds its path by groping, forming on its way some diatonic clusters or tonal chords (of B flat major and C minor) and quietly disappearing at the upper D. The sound of the tremolo vibraphone is perfectly merged together with female voice, generating a magically glimmering musical timbre.” 1



Golosa prirodi (Voices of Nature) (1972)


1 Dmitri Smirnov, liner notes to Concerto for Mixed Chorus; Voices of Nature; Minnesang, by Alfred Schnittke, Hyperion CDA 67297, 4–5.