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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


 

I met you, my love: Old Russian Romances
sung by Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Arr. Evgeny Stetsyuk)
I Met You, My Love (Ya fstretil vas)
No, It's Not You I Love So Fervently (Net, ne tebia tak pïlko ya liubliu)
Only Once (Tol'ko raz)
Bright Is the Night (Noch svetla)
I Remember the Charming Sound of the Waltz (Ya pomniu val'sa zvuk prelestnïy)
O, If Only I Could Express in Sounds (O, yesli b mog vïrazit' v zvuke)
Do Not Awaken Memories (Ne probuzhday vospominaniy)
The Coachman's Song (Pesn' yamshchika)
In the Wide Open Field (V pole shirokom)
The Lonely Coach Bell Rings (Odnozvuchno gremit kolokol'chik)
Misty Morning (Utro tumannoye)
But I Love You, Nevertheless (No ya Vas fsio-taki liubliu)
The Troika Speeds, the Troika Gallops (Troyka mchitsa, troyka skachet)
The Autumn Wind Moans Mournfully (Zhalobno stonet veter osenniy)
At That Fateful Hour (V chas rokovoy)
I Loved You (Ya Vas liubil)
The Weeping Willows Slumber (Dremliut plakuchiye ivï)
You Cannot Understand (Vam ne poniat')
Shine, Shine, My Star (Gori, gori, moya zvezda).
Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone)
Style of Five
Moscow Chamber Orchestra/Constantine Orbelian
Rec. 22, 23, 25 Aug 2001, Great Hall, Tchaikovsky Conservatoire, Moscow, DDD
DELOS DE 3293[61:23]
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Those with an aversion to sentimentality would perhaps do well to pass pharisaically by on the other side of the street. Hvorostovsky gathers and performs with sincerity, utter aplomb and warm-mocca fluency nineteen songs from a tradition distantly related to Neapolitan song. Anthologies of Italian bon-bons of this type can be heard from the likes of Caruso, Gobbi, Carreras and Hvorostovsky himself (Delos DE 3290). There are also obvious similarities with the world of the Viennese operetta inhabited by Waechter and Wunderlich.

The arrangements are skilled, warm, caressing and humming strings peppered with the silverpoints of balalaika, accordion, gusli and domra. Style of Five contribute the folk instrument embellishments. The arrangements are full blown orchestral articles. No attempt is made to adopt folk textures. An excellent example is to be found in The Lonely Coach Bell Rings (tr.10) which is of the warm dancing serenade character of episodes in Tchaikovskyís Onegin and Prokofievís Kotko and Story of a Real Man. This is the music that lightens the operetta-musical heritage of the Soviet Union. One of these days these light musical works will be revived. The Soviets were no less productive than the Germans in the field of easy-on-the-ear entertainment.

In the notes Hvorostovsky declares his sympathy for the genre from which these songs are plucked: "My father has been the strongest influence in my musical life. As far back as I remember, I loved to listen to him sing and play the piano, especially his favourites, the old Russian Romances. Recording this program is my tribute to his love and devotion - to music and to me. I dedicate this album to my father." Hvorostovsky's father is a life-long fan of the Romances and the son was raised in a household where these works were sung or heard on radio or gramophone. Alexander Hvorostovsky was at the recording sessions.

The words are printed in the booklet both in transliteration and in English translation side by side. The poets include Tyutchev, Lermontov, Tolstoy, Pushkin and Turgenev on this recording) these Romances offer a unique opportunity for the listener to experience the intense emotional beauty of these works. The songs are well recorded without undue highlighting but with the prominently placed - no room for fastidious balances here. Itís just not that sort of collection.

If there is a weakness it is in the iterative effect of the collection. The expression of unremitting heroism, immersed nobility or tear-stained reflection can be too much of a good thing. Affecting in small salvoes of three or four at a time.

Rob Barnett

 


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I met you, my love

No, it's not you I love so fervently

Only once

Bright is the Night

I remember the charming sound of the waltz

O, if only I could express in sounds

Do not awaken memories

The coachman's song

In the wide open field

The lonely coach bell rings

Misty morning

But I love you, nevertheless

The troika speeds, the troika gallops

The autumn wind moans mournfully

At that fateful hour

I loved you

The weeping willows slumber

You cannot understand

Shine, shine, my star




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