A setting of Insomnia 8, by Marina Tsvetayeva.
Marina Tsvetayeva’s Insomnia 8 is a “hymn” to the Night, that home of contradictory associations, ranging from fear, skittish paranoia and tired hallucination, to stillness, peace and rest. Elaine Feinstein’s translation is used here with the kind permission of Carcanet Press. It is not a faithful translation in a traditional sense. Feinstein has translated many of Tsvetayeva’s poems, and these translations include a huge amount of her own character as a poet, often leaning towards prose whereas the Russian originals use more lyrical rhyming structures. My setting explores the wonderful sounds and phrasing of these words while playing with the quasi-religious nature of the poem.
Black as — the centre of an eye, the centre, a blackness that sucks at light. I love your vigilance
The first two lines of Insomnia 8 are reproduced with the kind permission of Carcanet Press, from the collection Bride of Ice: New Selected Poems . Translation © Elaine Feinstein 2009.
This work was premiered by EXAUDI on Monday 16th May 2022 in Milton Court Concert Hall.