TWO CENTURIES OF RUSSIAN ROMANCE - Only Masterpieces
22 Russian Songs
GURILIOV A small bell *
VARLAMOV White lonely sail
GLINKA The doubt; The fires of
DARGOMIZHKY I feel sad*; The night's
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV The prophet*
TCHAIKOVSKY Would like in one word; Weak
Candle's light*; When the day;
RACHMANINOV The destiny; The dream;
Not sing; As to me.
MEDTNER Winter's evening
MUSSORGSKY Trepak*; The song about
the flea*; Where are you little star
SHOSTAKOVICH Good-bye Grenada*
SVIRIDOV The forest sheds its red
GAVRILIN To your snow white bosom*
TCHEREPNIN The heavenly
Sergei Ljadov (ten) Igor Gavrilov
(bass) * Irina Sharapova (piano)
RUVO CLASSIC RVC 101
While German Lieder and, up to a point, French mélodies have flourished,
Russian songs have been comparatively neglected, at least until now. Schubert's
songs have been the subject of the definitive survey by Hyperion while
Mélodies have been decently exposed by various labels - including
the always adventurous Timpani taking in the songs of Roussel, Emmanuel,
Cras and others.
The series, of which there are fuller details on their website, promises
to cover songs by 50 Russians extending to Rachmaninov (superbly recorded
by Decca with Ashkenazy and Söderström), Medtner (greatly in need
of a complete series to parallel the two cycles of his piano music) and
Mussorgsky plus many other, less fêted, names.
If this CD is representative of a school of singing then the qualities of
artistocracy and passion inherent in Russian singing are vibrantly alive.
Blessedly the voices are free from vibrato although they are male and vibrato
was always less of an issue with men than with Slavonic sopranos.
The songs cover a considerable span of territory. Good to find Guriliov and
Varlamov, Sviridov, Gavrilin and Tcherepnin (presumably Alexander?) in company
with Rachmaninov, Medtner, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky and Dargomizhky.
There is not a single 'clinker' in the collection. Highlights are plentiful
from which to choose. The Song of the Flea famously hammed up by Chaliapin
is done with gusto and taste by Gavrilov. The dream is given with
the Puccinian Italianate passion we know from Rachmaninov's opera Francesca
da Rimini. Tchaikovsky's When the day reigns contains plenteous
reminders of the composer's famous first piano concerto. The disc has the
audacity to end with the contemplative The heavenly wanderer by
Tcherepnin; itself preceded by another low-toned song, Gavrilin's To your
snow-white bosom. Rachmaninov makes serious sport of Beethoven's fifth
symphony's fate motif in The Destiny.
As the series unrolls there will be collections of songs by Yuri Shaporin
and Shebalin alongside other better known composers. Is it too much to hope
that this series will have major choral spin-offs? I hope not and that, for
example, Shaporin's On the Field of Kulikovo (a setting of Alexander
Blok) and The Story of the Fight for the Russian Earth (once available
on EMI-Melodiya 2LP boxed set in the 1960s) will be tackled and as well sung
as these songs.
All the songs are in Russian. Regrettably there are no notes and the single
width leaflet does not reproduce the texts and translations of the songs.
Perhaps this serves more as an appetiser for the main series and we should
not expect full documentation in the circumstances?
The always sensitive pianist, Irina Sharapova, is also the Artistic Director
of the series.
With the exception of the lack of notes and texts this issue bodes very well
for the rest of what promises to be a long series. I wish it well. It seems
to be in safe and inspired hands. All they need is to get the notes and texts
Can anyone help me with tapes of Yuri Shaporin's Symphony; opera The
Decembrists; On the Field of Kulikovo; The Story of the Fight
for the Russian Earth