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The Complete Recordings of Salomea
Krushelnytska & Elena Ruszkowska (Selected Recordings)

see below for track listings
Piano and orchestral accompaniments, folk ensemble; Ruszkowska accompanied by an orchestra conducted by Carlos Sabajno except the Moniuszko and Chopin; the Ruszkowska Moniuszko song accompanied by an orchestra conducted by Artur Rodzinski
rec. Krushelnytska 1902-12 and 1928 (folk songs); Ruszkowska 1909 and c.1921
MARSTON 52052-2 [79:05 + 79:50]



Salomea Krushelnytska
Arrigo BOITO (1842-1918)
Mefistofele - L’altra notte [3:10]
Jan Ignacy PADEREWSKI (1860-1941)
Piosnka dudarza, Op. 18, No. 2 (The Piper’s song) [3:26]
Paolo TOSTI (1846–1916)
Ti rivedrò! [3:14]
Stanislaw MONIUSZKO (1819-1872)
Hrabina: Zbuczic sie zludnych snów (Wake up from bad dreams) [2:33]
Emil MLYNARSKI (1870-1935)
Kolysanka: Na ramie mie rzucila (Lullaby: In my arms he rested) [2:29]
Paolo TOSTI (1846–1916)
Amore [2:56]
Stanislaw MONIUSZKO (1819-1872)
Halka: Gdyby rannem slonkiem (I wish I were a lark) [3:05]
QUARANTA

Lasciali dir tu m’ami [2:58]
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Peer Gynt - Solveig’s Song [2:38]
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
Tosca: Vissi d’arte [2:33]
Arrigo BOITO (1842-1918)
Mefistofele - L’altra notte [3:58]
Francesco CILEA (1866-1950)
Adriana Lecouvreur: Ecco, respiro appena …Io sono l’umile ancella [2:52] QUARANTA
Lasciali dir tu m’ami [3:13]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
La Forza del Destino: Pace, pace mio Dio [4:42]
Alfredo CATALANI (1854-1893)
La Wally: Ebben? Ne andrò lontana [3:21]
Paolo TOSTI (1846–1916)
Ti rivedrò! [2:21]
ODDONE

Capelli d’oro [2:21]
QUARANTA

Si dice [3:58]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
Aida: Ritorna vincitor …I sacri nomi di padre [6:14]
Francesco CILEA (1866-1950)
Adriana Lecouvreur: Ecco, respiro appena…Io sono l’umile ancella [2:51]
Adriana Lecouvreur: Poveri fiori [3:15]
Reynaldo HAHN (1875-1947)
Si mes vers avaient des ailes [2:09]
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Peer Gynt: Solveig’s Song [2:44]
Alfredo CATALANI (1854-1893)
Loreley: Da che tutta [2:35]
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
Madama Butterfly: Un bel di vedremo [3:17]
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
Die Walküre: Ho jo to ho! [2:05]
Die Walküre: War es so schmählich, was ich verbrach? [3:17]
Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864)
L’Africaine: Di qui si vede il mare [3:16]
L’Africaine: Quai soavi concenti [2:59]
TRADITIONAL

Wiwcy moi wiwcy [Pastusza pisnia] (Shepherd’s song) [3:20]
Zcerez sad wynohrad [Diwocza pisnia] (Beyond the orchard, the vineyard) [Girls’ song] [3:01]
Oi, de ty idesz, de ty poidesz [Prykoliskowa pisnia] (Oh, you go, you leave) [Prikolisko song] [3:18]
Oi, letily bili husi [Rozpletyny] (Oh, white geese were flying) [Rospletini] [3:22]
Elena Ruszkowska

Gioachino ROSSINI
(1792-1868)
Stabat Mater: Inflammatus [3:27]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
La Forza del destino [3:28]
Ernani: Ernani involami [2:43]
Aida: Dessa, ei si turba ... Ohimè di guerra [3:21]
Aida: Fu la sorte dell’armee ... Ebben, qual nuovo fremito ... Ah! Pietà ti prenda (with Bianca Lavin de Casas (mezzo)) [10:19]
Aida: Fuggiam gli ardori inospiti (with Carlo Barrera (tenor)) [4:21]
Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834-1886)
La Gioconda: Là attesi e il tempo colsiL’amo come il fulgor del creato (with Bianca Lavin de Casas (mezzo)) [3:23]
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
Tosca: Ora stammi a sentir … Non la sospiri (with Egidio Cunego (tenor)) [3:17]
Tosca: Qual occhio al mondo (with Egidio Cunego (tenor)) [3:34]
Tosca: Vissi d’arte [3:09]
Tosca: Senti, l’ora è vicina …E non giungono (with Egidio Cunego (tenor)) [5:33]
Stanislaw MONIUSZKO (1819-1872)
Halka: Gdyby rannem slonkiem (I wish I were a lark) [4:06]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2 (arranged by Theresa Tosti) [4:19]

 

Salomea Krushelnytska was born in what was then Lemberg – now L’viv - in the western Ukraine in 1872. She studied singing and piano and made her debut at twenty originally singing mezzo parts, but soon moving to soprano roles. She became principal soprano at the Warsaw Imperial Theatre by the age of twenty-six and sang as far afield as the Mariinsky (with the young Caruso) and South America. She excelled in Italian repertoire and was widely admired in Italian houses – in Aida in particular – but she also sang Wagner, Charpentier and Tchaikovsky. At Puccini’s personal invitation she sang Madama Butterfly after its initial Milan failure and she was also not averse to Strauss – taking on Salome with a mild scandal ensuing - and Elektra. Political questions had dogged her in her homeland – Ukrainian independence, Polish dominance and the like - and she became less admired there possibly as a direct result. Her career was thereafter based in Italy, where she married, until a return visit home during the Second World War ensured that she was unable to return to the West. She taught until her death in 1952.
 
Here we have her complete recordings, superbly presented and documented as ever from this source. There are c.1902 Warsaw G&Ts, a series of 1906-07 and 1912 Milan Fonotipias and finally a small series of her only electrics, 1928 American Columbias, of Ukrainian folksongs.
 
The singing supports her reputation. She is warmly communicative and nuanced. In some of the early Warsaw sides - Zbuczic sie zludnych snów especially – we can hear how there remained something of a mezzo extension. She is youthfully vibrant, sounding much like one of Moniuszko’s larks in Gdyby rannem slonkiem and elsewhere evincing a bright, forward sound. Things naturally are not always this good; her Vissi d’arte belies her reputation as a Puccinian of the first rank – it’s very choppily phrased and the rubati are far too capricious for comfort. Pleasure can be taken however from the attractively straightforward way she deals with Un bel di in 1912 it doesn’t quite sound as if she’s got under the skin of the role but it’s a beautiful piece of vocalism nonetheless. Her Mefistofele L’altra notte exists in two recordings; though the 1906 Fonotipia gives us an extra verse musically it’s inferior to the 1902 Warsaw disc, her first ever issued side, and shows some cracks in the voice. In contrast the November 1906 sessions produced one of her very best sides, Ebben? Ne andrò lontana from Catalani’s La Wally which, even if the climax is slightly smudged, still demonstrates unequivocally just how powerful a stage performer she must have been and how excellently presented the voice. The Wagner selections show a probing Italianate approach – expressive and convincing.
 
She evinces real charm in lighter material, of which there is quite a lot – I’m thinking of Quaranta whom she sings idiomatically – and the remakes of earlier material offer plenty of opportunities for fruitful comparison. The late 1928 sides are movingly done, though by now the voice has deepened appreciably. From the matrix numbers it looks as if a number of sides were unpublished – it would be good if they ever turned up.
 
Coupled with the complete recordings of Krushelnytska is a selection by Elena Ruszkowska, in many ways an even more impressive soprano. She was born in 1877 or 1888 and like her compatriot she studied in Lemberg/L’viv before travelling to Italy for further studies. She made her début in 1897 and sang frequently at home, in Vienna and then in 1908 at La Scala. The trajectory of her singing career, and that of Krushelnytska, was not in fact entirely dissimilar, concentrating as they both did on Italian houses, though Ruszkowska’s career there whilst intense was telescoped. By the end of the First World War she was back in Poland where she was Warsaw’s leading prima donna until 1928. She died in 1948.
 
The selection here consists of her famous 1909 Milan Gramophone Company sides and two sides from Parlophone-Odeon by which time she had returned to Warsaw; one is the same well-known Lark song by Moniuszko sung by Krushelnytska in the same city twenty-years before.
 
The Rossini Inflammatus must be one of her best-known sides – magnificently sung with superb trills, furious top notes and not at all inconvenienced by the very rough chorus behind her. It’s true that the registral breaks in the voice in the Ernani are less than ideal but she proves a more adept and natural Puccinian than her compatriot in Vissi d’arte. Her Chopin arrangement may be written off as a salon sweetmeat by some but it actually shows one her beautifully gauged legato and portamento-rich style – though in many ways hers is a very modern sounding voice, as the earlier sides amply demonstrate. Her male colleagues tend to be second rankers – Cunego and Barrera are strictly serviceable only – but she still shines brightly. In every respect there are important documents of a most important singer.
 
This is a connoisseur’s release. The transfers have been effected with considerable care; surface noise has been reduced without compromising frequency range; and the voice, as ever with Marston, emerges with great presence. Documentary notes by Michael Aspinall and by Mark Bailey are enhanced by the evocative photographs.

Jonathan Woolf

 

 

 

 


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