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SERGEI RACHMANINOV - Anthology of romance

Complete anthology of Sergei Rachmaninov's romances.
All 83 romances sung by Natalia Suchkova (soprano)
Natalia Suchkova (soprano)
CD I: 65:55
1. Daisies op.38,no.3 lgor Severyanin
2. At the gates of the holy abode Mikhail Lermontov
3. I will tell you nothing Afanasy Fet
4. My heart began to beat faster again Nikolay Grekov
5. April! A festive day in spring Edward Payeron, translated by V.Tushnova
6. It was getting dark Alexy K.Tolstoy
7. A song of the disillusioned... Daniil Ratgauz
8. A flower has faded Daniil Ratgauz
9. Do you remember that night? Alexey K.Tolstoy
10. Were you remembering me? Peter Vyazemsky
11. Oh no, I pray that you will stay op.41, no.1 Dmitry Merezhkovsky
12. Morning op.4, no.2 Mikhail Yanov
13. In the silence of a secret night op.4, no.3
14. Oh, never sing to me again, my beauty op.4, no. 5 Alexander Pushkin
15. The harvest of sorrow op.4, no. 5 Alexy K.Tolstoy
16. How long ago, my friend op.4, no.6 Arseny Golenischev-Kutuzov
17. A water lily op.8,no.l Alexy Plescheev, from Heinrich Heine
18. Oh child! You are beautiful as a flower op.8, no.2 Alexy Plescheev, from Heinrich Heine
19. Reflection op.8, no.3 Alexy Plescheev, from Heinrich Heine
20. For a life of pain I have given my love op.8 no.4 Alexy Plescheev, from Taras Shevchenko
21. A Dream op.8, no. 5 Alexy Plescheev, from Heinrich Heine
22. A Prayer op.l4, no.1 Alexy Plescheev, fromJohann Wolfgang Goethe
23. I am waiting for you op.l4, no.1 Maria Davydova
24. The Little Island op.l4, no.2 Konstantin Balmont, from Percy Bysshe Shelley
25. Few are the joys of love op.l4, no.3 Afanasy Fet
26. I came to her op.l4, no.4
27. Those summer nights op.l4, no. 5 Daniil Ratgauz
28. They all love you op.l4, no.6 Alexy K.Tolstoy
29. Do not believe me, my friend op.l4, no.7
30. Oh, do not be sad op.l4, no.8 Alexy Apukhtin
31. As fair as the noon day op.l4, no.9 Nikolay Minsky
32. In my soul op.l4, no.10 Nikolay Minsky
CD II: 62:16
1. Spring Waters op.l4, no.11 Feodor Tyutchev
2. It is time op.l4, no.l2 Semyon Nadson
3. Destiny op.21, no.l Alexy Apukhtin
4. Over a fresh grave op.21, no.2 Semyon Nadson
5. Twilight op.21, no.3 Jean Marie Guyau, translated by M.Tkhorzhevsky
6. They answered op.21, no.4 Victor Hugo, translated by L.Mey/.Lilac Op.21,no.II
Yekaterina Beketova
8. An excerpt from Alfred de Musset op.21, no.6 Translated by A.Apukhtin
9. It's so wonderful here op.21, no. 5 G.Galina
10. For the death of a siskin op.21, no.8 Vassily Zhukovsky
11. A Melody op.21 no.9 Semyon Nadson
12. Before the Icon op.21 no.10 Arseny Golenischev-Kutuzov
13. I am not a prophet op.21, no.10 Alexander Kruglov
14. I am hurt deeply op.21 no.12 G.Galina
15. Night Daniil Ratgauz
16. There are many sounds op.26 no.l Alexy K.Tolstoy
17. Everything has been taken from me op.26, no.2
18. We shall have a rest op.26, no.3 From 'Uncle Vanya' by Anton Chekhov
19. Two farewells op.26, no.4 Alexy Koltsov
20. Let us leave, my beauty op.26, no.5 Arseny Golenischev-Kutuzov
21. Christ is Risen! op.26, no.6
22. To the children op.26, no.7 Alexy Khomyakov
23. I beg for mercy! op.26, no.8 Dmitry Merezhkovsky
24. I am alone again op.26, no.9 Ivan Bunin, from Taras Shevchenko
25. By my window op.26, no.10 G.Galina
26. The Fountain op.26, no.10 Feodor Tyutchev
27. Sad is the night op.26, no.12 Ivan Bunin
28. We met yesterday op.26, no. 13 Yakov Polonsky
29. The Ring op.26, no.l4 Alexy Koltsov
CD III 60:38
1. All things come to pass op.26, no.15 Daniil Ratgauz
2. A letter from S.V.Rachmaninov to K.S.Stanislavsky
3. The Muse op.34, no.l Alexander Pushkin
4. In the soul of each of us op.34, n.2 Apollon Korinfsky
5. The Storm op.34, no.3 Alexander Pushkin
6. The wind of passage op.34, no.5 Konstantin Balmont
7. Arion op.34, no.5 Alexander Pushkin
8. The Raising of Lazarus op.34, no.6 Alexy Khomyakov
9. It cannot be! op.34, no.7 Apollon Maikov
10. The Music op.34, no.8 Yakov Polonsky
11. You have known him op.34, no.9 Feodor Tyutchev
12. I remember that day op.34 no.9 Feodor Tyutchev
13. Paying his dues op.34, no.II Afanasy Fet
14. What joy op.34, no.l2 Afanasy Fet
15. Dissonance op.34, no.13 Yakov Polonsky
16. Vocalise op.34, no.l4
17. From the Gospel according to St.John Chapter 15, verse 13
18. In my garden at night op.38, no.l Alexander Blok, from Saakian
19. To her op.38, no.2 Andrey Bely
20. Daisies op.38, no.3 lgor Severyanin
21. Rat catcher op.38, no.4 Valery Bryusov
22. A Dream op.38, no.5 Feodor Sologub
23. Your gentle laughter op.38, no.6 Konstantin Balmont
24. Lilac op.21, no.5 Yekaterina Beketova

Natalia Suchkova (soprano) Andrey Pisarev (piano) Sergei Glavatskikh (piano)
rec 1997-98
Sergei Rachmaninov (piano) CD1 track 1 and CD3 track 2
BOHEME CDBMR 903048ABC CD1 65.55 CD2 62.26 CD3 60.38 [188:59]

Rachmaninov's songs trace their bloodline direct from the romances of Tchaikovsky. These, in turn, have Gallic forbears. Rachmaninov could not help but add to this rich lyric tradition his own brand of brilliant pianism; brilliant in display; brilliant in expressive eloquence.

The vocal musical honours are carried by Natalia Suchkova. Her voice has a steady burnished intensity familiar from a long tradition of Russian female singers. Fortunately she does not fall into the line of operatic divas with Slavonic wobble which used to disfigure many of the Melodiya opera recordings of the 1950s and 1960s. Suchkova's voice is steady with the vaguest shading of tight emotive vibrato when under the greatest pressure. Her voice is, at such moments, firm to the point of hardness. Her voice is exciting and does not wear one down even over an extended listening bout across all three discs. Suchkova acts the words without being arch and her emotionally combustible approach pays dividends both in moments of restraint and in flaring histrionics where there is the hint of a squall in her tone.

Söderström and Ashkenazy first recorded the songs as a complete project in the 1970s across five Decca LPs (SXL6718, SXL6772, SXL6832, SXL6869, SXL6940) released between 1975 and 1980. Since then they have been reissued on CD in a boxed set (London 436 920-2LM3) which I suspect is no longer available [it is still in the 1999 catalogue. LM]. That set was accompanied by full transliterated texts and translations.

More recently (mid 1990s) Chandos have produced a 3 CD (CHAN9405; CHAN9451; CHAN9477 respectively) complete cycle using four singers, Joan Rodgers (sop), Alexandre Naoumenko (ten), Maria Popescu (mezzo) and Sergei Leiferkus (bar) with Howard Shelley (piano). They have supplemented this cycle with individual discs by: Sergei Larin (ten); Eleonora Bekova (pf). (Chandos CHAN9562) and Sergei Leiferkus CHAN9374. Tracks from the latter disc feature on the three volume set. I have not heard these discs but I recall that they were well received when first issued. In line with Chandos's usual standards all these discs include full notes, texts and translations. They also have the advantage of variety of voice and character across the four singers.

Suchkova has a Vishnevskaya-like voice which by its timbre and abrasive panache brings out the operatic torment in many of the songs. Once you are attuned to the Slavonic temperament of this no-hold-barred singing (there is an occasional roughness as in I am hurt deeply on disc 2) the only real demerit, for Anglophones, is the documentation. The texts are supplied but in Russian Cyrillic only - no transliteration; no translations. There is a one page summary note introducing the songs and the artists. We also get a full list of titles and poets.

Glavatskikh and Pisarev share honours as accompanists scattered across the tracks. Both serve Boheme and Suchkova very well. Her voice might well be an acquired taste however in my case I had no difficulty in acquiring it. Best to sample first. The extremes of approach can be experienced over tracks 3 and 4 of Disc 2: from the drama of Destiny (with its Beethoven 5 fate motif) to the pensive poesy of Over a fresh grave. Time after time though the operatic Rachmaninov is what comes through. The music and Suchkova's lightning storm vocal qualities break the fragile furniture of the salon and the intimate 'at home'. This is singing for the grand hall! We should bear in mind Rachmaninov's operatic achievements and if he never finished his Mona Vanna, his Miserly Knight and, above all, his Francesca da Rimini would convince if only they were given a chance.

Rachmaninov's own recordings of the piano parts of Daisies (Op. 38 No. 3) and Lilacs (Op. 21 No. 5) provide Suchkova's accompaniment in the first track on disc 1 and the final valedictory track on Disc 3. This experiment (the first time it has been accomplished?) is successfully managed.

This is intended to be the complete Rachmaninov songs. If so whatever happened to Powder and Paint once memorably recorded by Plevitskaya?

A commendable and idiomatic set let down somewhat by the documentation. Well worth seeking out. Now, Boheme: is there any chance that you might record the complete Medtner songs - a project screaming out for the commitment of a company of Boheme's calibre?


Rob Barnett


Rob Barnett

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