Natalia Kouznetsova


The Prince of the Rocks

the world of J.M.W.Turner

symphonic songs inspired by

the paintings of J.M.W.Turner

The first performances (including world première) of The Prince of the Rocks: the world of J.M.W.Turner, symphonic songs inspired by the paintings of J.M.W.Turner, took place at Pushkin House, London, on 29 and 30 September 2011.

HSH Princess Natalya Grigorievna Eromina Youssoupoff has kindly agreed to act as patron and gave an introductory talk on Turner and poetry.  Her Highness was also the narrator during the performance as well as script and literary editor, a role in which she has much expertise.

The music has been composed by Natalia Kouznetsova, a British composer of Russian origin, who also conceived the work. Originally composed for orchestra, choir and soloists, the score has been arranged for piano, tenor and soprano for the two performances at Pushkin House.

The piano was played at both performances by the international award-winning pianist Alexander Karpeyev, who has made his own piano arrangement.  The vocals were performed by two highly regarded singers: soprano Ksenia Jones and tenor Igor Outkine.

There was an introduction by the chairman of the Turner Society, Andrew Wilton, the widely-published and authoritative Turner specialist and former Keeper of the Turner Collection at the Tate Gallery.

The performance was accompanied by a projection of Turner paintings chosen by the composer in consultation with Andrew Wilton specially for this music.

The Prince of the Rocks embodies one of the most significant and attractive ideas from recent cultural history: the notion of the interaction between different types of art. This interaction was composer Natalia Kouznetsova’s research subject at the Astrakhan Conservatoire and later extended during her fellowship at the post-graduate Gnesin Russian Academy of Music in Moscow.

The Prince of the Rocks unites Turner’s art with Natalia’s symphonic music and English poetry through the imagination of the composer.

The lyrics for the eight symphonic songs have been drawn from classical English verse.  Natalia has chosen poetry in which she finds links with Turner’s life, character, personality or philosophy.

A further world première took place during the performance by using poetry written by J.M.W.Turner himself.  The verses have been taken from one of J.M.W.Turner’s sketchbooks which also contain his hand-written poetry, kept at the Tate Gallery.

The verses have been transcribed by Rosalind Turner and edited by Andrew Wilton.  J.M.W.Turner wrote the poetry about Corfe Castle and Studland Bay in Dorset: they have been used by the composer as lyrics for a song which will be accompanied by J.M.W.Turner’s paintings of the same area.

The composer is pleased to acknowledge and thank the Turner Society for the many lectures which have contributed to her understanding of the work of J.M.W Turner.

The help, advice and expertise of Andrew Wilton with all matters to do with J.M.W.Turner is also very gratefully acknowledged.

1.In These Boots (tenor and piano)

words by Hilaire Belloc from The Path to Rome

2.The Bay of Baiae (soprano and piano)

words by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ode to the West Wind, verse 3

3.Above Me Are The Alps (tenor and piano)

words by Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, canto III, verses 62 & 72

4.The Woods Decay (soprano and piano)

words by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Tithonus, verses 1, 2 & 3

5.Richmond Hill (tenor and piano)

words by Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, canto I, verses 69 & 70

6.Sea Fever (tenor and piano)

words by John Masefield

7.Corfe Castle and Studland Bay (tenor and piano)

words by J.M.W.Turner, from J.M.W.Turner’s Devonshire Coast Number 1 sketchbook, 1811 (manuscript), transcribed by Rosalind Turner, edited by Andrew Wilton

8.This England (tenor and piano)

words by William Shakespeare, Richard II, act II, scene I