Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0002655, Sat, 20 Dec 1997 10:23:31 -0800

Christopher Berg's musicial setting for VN poems & Query
EDITOR's NOTE. In his posting of Dec. 19th, composer & accompanist
Christopher Berg, told of his 1982 musicial settings for VN poems.
Information on obtaining a tape and the printed score is available in the
earlier posting. Here Mr. Berg provides some further background details
and asks for information about other VN-related musical activities.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

I set the four poems ("Restoration," Rain," "A Discovery," and "A Literary
Dinner") as a kind of small homage to VN -- having been interested
then (1982) in his work, though unacquainted with most of it at the time
(since remedied!). (I had read only the late American novels and stories and
the few poems in CONGERIES at the time.) There is a more detailed discussion
of the genesis of the songs and what the poems "mean to me" in a foreword to
the printed edition.

I am curious to know about other settings -- I sense there are not many, but
there is reference (without much information -- not even the composer's name)
in one of the VN interviews about a Danish television production of an opera
based on "Invitation to a Beheading." Has anyone seen it? Is there are
published score? Was it sung in Danish -- that most terrible of all languages
for singing? (And if proof is needed, I refer you and other subscribers to a
Thomas Beecham recording of Delius's ARABESK in Danish -- Beecham, whose
singers are usually exemplary, here employs a Danish singer who is almost
unlistenable -- apparently simply because he is singing in Danish!)

Also interested to know if anyone has seen productions of any of the plays.
The reading of MAN FROM THE USSR and THE POLE at the Mercantile Library last
spring was quite wonderful. But have their been "fully staged" productions?