Chorny Voran (Black Raven)

Arr. by Dale Jergenson

SATB, TB soli, keyboard

Laurendale Associates


Review from The Choral Journal, February, 1996

Chorny voran is a Russian folk song about a dying soldier who asks a raven circling overhead to deliver a message to his loved one as he dies for his homeland. The music and its arrangement reflect the seriousness of the subject. The piece opens with a duet between the tenor and bass soloists while the sopranos and altos hum underneath. All four parts are singing together by the third page. The second duet verse has all parts humming underneath before they join in on the text. This pattern of soloists with vocal accompaniment preceding an explosion of sound is repeated effectively in several different ways throughout the work.

The arrangement captures the Russian choral style; a successful performance of the work would require strong male soloists and good low basses in the chorus. Although the C written for the basses is indicated as optional, the piece would be less effective without it. All parts lie somewhat low in their ranges and are divided often. The score suggests that the accompaniment be played on piano or on a synthesizer using a string stop. A translation and pronunciation guide are provided on the inside cover. Careful attention to the excellent dynamic markings would prevent this four-and-a-half-minute work from becoming too plodding and sullen.

Review by Sharon Davis Gratto