Nina C. Young

Composer and Sound Artist

Title: Kashchei (2010)
Performer: Expanded Musica Practice Group, Live@CIRMMT
Instrumentation: nine instruments and electronics
Duration: 19:38

Program Note:

Kashchei is a character from Russian folklore - a dark, evil person who menaces young women. Kashchei cannot be killed by conventional means, rather, the essence of his life is hidden outside of his flesh in a needle within an egg. Only by finding this egg and breaking the needle can one overcome Kashchei's powers. The needle is hidden within an egg, within a duck, inside a hare, in a small basket, locked in an iron chest, buried under a great oak tree on the island of Buyan. My piece explores these layers that encapsulate Kashchei's soul and finally lead to his death. The piece is presented in seven continuous movements, each which represents a layer of Kashchei's soul. The main theme, a quotation from the Rimsky-Korsakov opera Kashchei the Deathless, is gradually revealed in its simplest form through a process of simplification and reverse variations. This process can be related to the wood Russian doll, the matryoshka, where a simple, small doll, is concealed within the shells of many larger, more elaborate ones. Similarly, one must unfold many layers to reach the essence of Kashchei's life.
Nina C. Young - composer