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  • Writer's pictureMusic for Christ

Zdes’ Khorosho - Rachmaninoff

Zdes’ Khorsho translates to something along the lines of “how fair this place.” It is originally a lyrical piece, though I prefer to listen to it on a cello. The lyrics are mostly reverential and meditative, with the last line implying a cherished companion to the singer. Here is one translation, though there are varying versions.

How fair this place.

Look, in the distance

The river glows like a fire;

The meadows are like a colorful carpet,

And there is the whiteness of clouds.

There is nobody here.

All is quiet.

Here I am alone with God.

And the flowers, and the old pine,

And you, my dream…

As a fan of nature, the picture painted by the lyrics is heavenly. There is an ethereal beauty to a place untouched by man, where nature heads its course. In these havens, it feels as though a gate is opened to heaven. Here is what the earth looked like after the formless and void. G-d’s original design for meadows and valleys.

In beauty it is easy to find G-d. As creator of all, He places His innate mark on all things. How beautiful G-d himself must be to create such abounding artistry across this earth. He is truly masterful. This piece encompasses this feeling not only in the lyrics, but in the brilliantly emotional music. I feel that the cello works well to bring out the contentment of the piece. It’s full of plaintive but enthusiastic emotion. You can certainly see the enthusiasm in the expressions of the musicians in this particular performance. At 1:20, Yo-Yo Ma has an infectious smile after finishing his portion of the piece.

We do not need to be in the idyll in order to be with G-d. He is our ever-present help; wherever we are, He is with us (Psalm 46:2).

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