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Georgi VINOGRADOV (tenor) sings Arias, Duets and Songs
GUILD - THE RUSSIAN LEGACY SERIES - GMCD 2250-53 [4CDs:77.08+74.11+64.18+73.33]


CD 1
Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)

Eugene Onegin, ‘Faint echo of my youth’; ‘Net, tol’ka tot’ (‘None but the lonely heart’ arr. Riley)
Romeo and Juliet, ‘duet’, (Valeria Vladimirovna Barsova, soprano) ‘The mild stars shone for us’. (Op. 60, No.12)
Songs (16) For Children, Op. 54: No. 3: ‘The grass grows green’; No. 4: ‘My little garden Orentlikher’; No. 9: ‘Spring’ (the snow is already melting); No. 10: ‘Lullaby in a storm’; No. 13: ‘Spring song’
Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)

Sorochintsy Fair, ‘Why, my sad heart?’
Anton RUBINSTEIN (1830-1894)

The Demon, ‘On desire's soft, fleeting wing’.
The Azra, ‘Op. 32, No. 6’
Volkslied, (Op. 48, No. 12), 'The Sun is shining`, (Andrei Alexeievich Ivanov, baritone)
Mikhail IPPOLITOV-IVANOV (1859-1935) Ole The Norseman, ‘In the Wonderful Night’
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) ‘The night is sad’. ‘Beloved, let us fly’
Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) ‘Beauty’
Mikhail Ivanovich GLINKA (1804-1857)‘O say, why did you come? ‘Tell me why’. ‘How sweet to be with you Alexander’. ‘I am here, Inezilla’ (Spanish Serenade).‘Do not say your heart aches’. ‘Poor singer’; ‘You will never come again’
Alexander DARGOMYZHSKY (1813-1869)‘Vanka-tanka’, (Andrei Alexcievich Ivanov, baritone)
CD 2

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il barbiere di Siviglia, ‘Ecco ridente il cielo’. ‘Se il mio nome’
Carl MILLÖCKER (1842-1889) Der Bettelstudent, ‘Ich knüpfte manche zarte Bande’ (Simon's couplets)
Georges Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Romeo et Juliette, ‘Ange adorable’, (Valeria Vladimirovna Barsova, soprano)
Ambroise THOMAS (1811-1896) Mignon excerpts: Act I ‘Eh quoi! Mon cher Laërte, en vidant votre verre’; Act II, ‘Wilhelm: ‘Adieu, Mignon! Courage!’. ‘Ah! Vous voilà! Déjà vous vous faites attendre!’ Act III ‘Cette chambre est fermée depuis quinze ans’. ‘Elle ne croyait pas dans sa candeur naïve’. ‘Où suis-je?; ‘Mignon! Wilhelm! Salut à vous!’ (Nadezhda Kazantseva, soprano; N. Alexandriskaya, mezzo-soprano; G. Titz, baritone; Georgi Andreievich Abramov, bass; Vsevolod Tyutyunnik, bass)
Russian Traditional - Folk

Matvey BLANTER (1903-90): ‘In the Forest by the Front Line’ (Red Army Chorus and Ensemble)
Vasily SOLOVYEV-SEDOY (1907-79): ‘Golden lights’
TRADITIONAL (Russian): ‘The grass in the meadow’. (Red Army Chorus and Ensemble)
‘By the river, in the meadow’. (Red Army Chorus and Ensemble)
‘The steppe all around’. (Red Army Chorus and Ensemble)
‘The grass withers on the steppe’ (M. D. Mikhailov, bass)
Anatoly NOVIKOV (born 1896). ‘Roads’. (Red Army Chorus and Ensemble)
The Earliest Vinogradov Recordings

Sergey VASSILENKO (1872-1956). Armenian Serenade’, ‘Malayan Serenade’ (1938)
Nikita BOGOSLOVSKY (born 1913). ‘Dark night’, (Red Army Chorus and Ensemble. 1944)
CD 3

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-56). ‘Meine Rose’. ‘Myrthen’. ‘Der Nussbaum’. ‘Mit Myrthen und Rosen’
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828). Die Schöne Müllerin, Op. 25, D. 795
CD 4
B. BARON, ‘The weeping willows slumber’
Piotr BULAKHOV (1822-85). ‘Glitter, my star’. ‘Little lips that pout’. ‘On parting she spoke’. ‘Do not awaken memories’
Grigori DEMIDOV (1838-1871). ‘It was only a dream’
Alexander DUBUQUE (1812-98). ‘Do kiss me, my darling’. ‘Do not repeat those words’
M. CUBKIN. ‘When you look at him’
Alexander GURILYOV (1803-59). ‘The little bird flew away’
M. NISNEVICH. ‘My guitar’
Yakov PRIGOZHI (1840-1920). ‘Darling’
N. SHIRYAIEV. ‘Moonlit night’
M. SHISHKIN. ‘Always and everywhere I follow you’
Vladimir SOKOLOV (1830-1890). ‘The sea and my heart’,
Alexander TITOV. ‘I knew her as a child’
TRADITIONAL (Rom). ‘Black eyes’
TRADITIONAL (Russia). ‘You never loved me’
M. VOLOSHIN. ‘A twig of lilac’
V.V. ABAZA (1861-1918). ‘Hazy morning’
Mikhail YAKOVIEV. (1798-1868). ‘Elegy’. (Andrei Alexievich Ivanov, baritone)
TRADITIONAL (Rom): ‘Look at me’ (I Medvedev, bass-baritone)
TRADITIONAL (Albania): ‘The Black-eyed girl’
Sergey TANEYEV (1865-1915). ‘How you caress, silvery night’, (Zara Alexandrovna Dolukhanova, m.soprano)
Alexander VARLAMOV (1801- 1848). ‘Oh, do not kiss me’. ‘Grass’
Note. All contents sung in Russian
Recorded 1938-1954. No recording venues given but all derived from radio broadcasts or issued on 78s and LPs. Various orchestral, piano and guitar accompaniments.

 

The name of Georgi Vinogradov (1908-1964) is not one that will ‘grab’ the passing browser, or even the opera buff. Nonetheless, his recordings on 78s and LPs command a hefty price in the market place and vocal cognoscenti eagerly seek copies in good condition. But, is the scarcity of recorded material of this singer, at least outside Russia, allied to his vocal qualities, enough to justify a 4CD set? Certainly Richard Caniell, guiding light of Guild’s ‘Historical Series’ thinks so, and in the usual detailed booklet makes a convincing argument, including an account of his own introduction to the singer’s art.

Vinogradov’s singing is an art in the best sense. His voice is that of a very light lyric tenor which might be better described as ‘tenore di grazia’, but with a touch, a very slight touch, of metal softened with honey. Heft doesn’t come into it, as the singer never sang on the operatic stage so his voice never needed to fill a theatre. All his recordings derive from radio broadcasts often with piano or guitar accompaniment. These recording conditions make it impossible to make comments about the size of Vinogradov’s voice. The lighter accompaniments do allow the singer to exhibit the full range of his soft singing from a honeyed chest register, evenly through the passaggio into an ethereal head tone. This is often supported, on the breath, by a thread of tone. These qualities are heard throughout but particularly in the Russian songs on CD 4, albeit that many are not particularly demanding or of great musical interest. However, in the greater vocal and interpretive demands of Glinka and Tchaikovsky on CD1 the listener can really begin to hear what the enthusiasts rave about. In the poetic expressive imperatives of Die Schöne Müllerin, (CD 2. trs. 4-23) the use of Russian inhibited my enjoyment of his interpretation, although I was able to sense, through the quality of the vocal nuance and variation of inflection and tone, something of what the singer was striving to convey.

The extracts from ‘Mignon’ (CD 2. trs.5-11, recorded for a radio broadcast in 1947) allow the best opportunity for analysis of the singer although his ‘Elle ne croyant’ (tr.9) is in a different acoustic, a point explained by Caniell on p.32 of the booklet. In these extracts, even more than in the songs, I can hear why enthusiasts breathe Vinogradov’s name alongside the likes of Schipa, Gigli, Thill and the young Björling. Even in Russian Vinogradov is able to express the sense of the aria and the character.

The sound on these discs is generally good. Whilst there are some admittedly noisy surfaces particularly on some of the songs on CD 1 this limitation didn’t inhibit my own voyage of discovery or enjoyment. It is that last word that it is important to stress, for this singing is highly enjoyable. The voice has those qualities exhibited by the greatest of singers: individuality and character. Has it enough to hold the listener through 4 CDs? The buyer must decide. For me I would have preferred a 2 CD introduction to the considerable vocal qualities of a singer known to far too few people. However, given the modest cost, vocal enthusiasts in particular will welcome the availability, for the first time on CD, of so much of Vinogradov’s recorded legacy.

Robert J Farr

 



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