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2021-07-25: Babin: songs


Victor Babin

Victor Babin was born on 13 December 1908 in Moscow (Russia). He first studied music in Riga and graduated in 1928, and then continued his studies in Berlin under Franz Schrecker (composition) and Artur Schnabel (piano) until 1931.


In the piano class of Artur Schnabel he met the fellow student Vitya Vronsky, which became his wife in 1933. The couple formed the duo "Vronsky & Babin" which became one of the most brilliant piano duos of their time. In 1937 the couple emigrated to the US.


Beside his career as a pianist Victor Babin also taught at the Aspen School of Music (and was the director from 1951 to 1955), at the Berkshire Music Festival in Tanglewood and at the Cleveland Institute of Music (again in the position of the director from 1961 until his death).


Victor Babin also composed a few works, among them a concerto for 2 pianos and orchestra, a Concert piece for violin and orchestra, a Capriccio for orchestra, a string quartet, a Sonata-Fantasia for cello and piano, and other chamber music and songs.

Victor Babin died on 1 March 1972 in Cleveland (USA).

Zwei Gedichte von Hölderlin


In my possession is the autograph manuscript of "Zwei Gedichte von Hölderlin für Stimme und Klavier" (Two Hölderlin songs for voice and piano). The manuscript seems to come from the archive of the publishing house Augener who printed the composition with additional English text in 1934. The manuscript contains the German version of the two songs in the hand by Victor Babin and also the English text by another hand (most likely by Vladimir Babin who did the original translation) and some printing remarks. The two poems set to music are 1. Hälfte des Lebens (Life's Mid-way) and 2. Der nächtliche Wanderer (The Night Wanderer).

Due to the fact that the printed score is now impossible to find I present here my typesetting of the autograph for information purposes:

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© Tobias Broeker