Here is a sample of our programme.

  • Nishto v Pol’ushke – Ничто в полюшке – Nothing is moving in the field, Russian folksong

Nothing is moving in the fields, only a sad melody is heard somewhere. The shepherd is singing a wondrous song recalling his beloved: “How cruelly pain befell me. She betrayed me, truly, my dark-eyed one”.

  • Reve ta stonit Dn’epr Shirokiy – Pеве та стогне Днiпр Широкий – The wide Dnieper roars and moans, Ukrainian, music D Krizhanovsky, lyrics T Shevchenko (1837)

The wide Dnieper roars and moans. An angry wind howls aloft, bending the tall willows down, lifting waves as high as mountains. A pale moon peeks out from behind a cloud now and then. Like a tiny boat in a deep blue sea it jumps up and dives down. The cocks haven’t yet crowed three times, no-one anywhere makes a sound. The owls in the grove call to each other and the ash tree creaks now and then.

  • Sv’etit M’esats – Светит Месяц – The Bright Crescent Moon is Shining, Russian folk song, arr. P Shepherd

The crescent moon shines brightly, the white moon is shining all the way to Masha’s window. I’d go to Masha but I don’t know where she lives. I’d ask a friend Pyotr but I’m worried he’d get her attention first. I come to Masha’s house but no lights are on. Shame on you Masha for being asleep so early! And you my dear are even worse, wandering about at midnight. Isn’t it time to marry, to take Masha for a lawful wife?

  • S’emiro Zyat’yov – Семеро Зятьёв – Seven Sons-in-Law, Russian folksong, arr. A Aleksandrov

A mother-in-law had seven sons-in-law: Grishka, Mikishka, Zaharka, Makarka, Dementii, Clementii and darling little Vanya whom she loved best of all. She served them all a shot-glass but darling little Vanya a whole tumbler. She offered them a tartlet but Vanya a whole stuffed pie. She gave them a pair of felt slippers but darling little Vanya a pair of goatskin boots…

  • Ya Vas L’ubil – Я Вас любил – I loved you, music B Sherymetyv; arr. P Shepherd, poem by A Pushkin 1829

I loved you. Even now I confess some embers of my love retain their fire but don’t let it cause you more distress. I don’t want to sadden you again. Hopeless and tongue-tied, yet I loved you dearly, with pangs the jealous and the timid know. So tenderly I loved you, so sincerely. I pray God grant another love you so.

  • Bogoroditse D’evo – Богородице Дево – Rejoice o Virgin (Ave Maria), S Rachmaninoff

Rejoice, o virgin mother of God, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of they womb for thou hast borne the saviour of our souls.

  • Nad Pal’ami Zor’ka Sv’etlaya – Над Полями Зорька Светлая – Above the Fields the Dawn is Bright, music V Levashov, lyrics V Pukhnachev, choir adaptation P Shepherd

Above the fields the dawn is bright and you beloved birch tree with scarlet light on your leaves, why is my darling still not here? Perhaps he will part from me and a minute will become a year. Without him I will have no rest. O beautiful birch tree listen. I will open my love for him for ever. With pure faith and without jealousy, wherever he may be I am with him everywhere and he is everywhere with me.

  • Bud’te Zdarovy – Будьте здоровы – Live long and prosper, lyrics A Rusak (Belorussian), translation M Isakovsky, music I Luban, arr. P Shepherd

Long live and prosper. May good things keep flowing. For now we must part and go to bed. We’re thrilled that you joined us for our celebration. We’re sure there’s none better across the whole nation….

  • A Lullaby for Sv’etlana – Колыбельная Светлане / A Viglid fun Svetlane, music T Khrennikov, lyrics A Gladkov, Yiddish translation A Vergelis, arr. L Sklamberg

The moon fades, the valley is dark, bright Svetlana, sleep as I used to do. No-one will cry now. Your pillow is soft. Stars like freckles are dots in the sky. The free moon plays in the orchard. A new day is coming and will bring you something nice. The candle already flickers and your little eyes close. Sleep, my dear angel, the valley is dark.

  • If my voice were louder – (in 2 languages Yiddish/Russian, joined by the London Yiddish Choir) – Volt ikh gehat Koyekh / Yesli by byli Sily, chassidic, Yiddish adapted by A Cooper

If my voice were louder, if my body stronger, I would tear through the streets shouting peace, peace!