N Shpiller, S Krassovsky,
Choir and Great SO of All-Union Radio/Nikolai Golovanov
mono rec 1951 restored 2000
BOHEME CLASSICAL CDBMR
This is Mozart totally unreconstructed and performed with glowering Beethovenian
force. The performance is unshakeably convincing. Disconcertingly however
the Dies Irae sounds ambiently different (reduced impact and mass) from the
soundworld of the irresistible Kyrie. This, thankfully, is a blip.
Shpiller is rollingly secure of bass voice in the Tuba Mirum (partnered by
a warbling trombone) by contrast with his colleagues - only two of whom are
named - why? In Rex Tremendae one comes to realise how much Berlioz owed
to Mozart in his Symphonie Fantastique or is it just Golovanov's way? Typically
Golovanov also calls for whisper-quiet singing as at 1.58 of track 4 and
for the most refined gradations of volume. Contrast this in the Hostias and
Agnus Dei with the Jupiter-like massed joy of the choir. One misjudgement
was the engineer's (or producer's?) insistence on cutting off ambient noise
between tracks. These steep cliff walls of silence do not help. Far better
to contrive a muted background hiss than these unnatural vacuums.
The design is uniform with rest of Boheme's Golovanov series. The designer
for this series should take a bow.
This will not rank as anyone's first choice with its astringently inclined
historical mono sound. That said, it has character and a sense of capacious
scale that may yet surprise those who will want to keep life 'safe' and write
off a Soviet performance from this era. In that sense this is a dissidently