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Zara Alexandrovna DOLUKHANOVA (mezzo) - born 1918
Lieder, Songs, Arias and Duets

Sung in Russian, French, German, English, Latin, Spanish and Aramaic
Recorded 1948-1954. No recording venues given but mainly derived from radio broadcasts. Various orchestral and piano accompanists.
GUILD HISTORICAL THE RUSSIAN LEGACY SERIES GHCD 2281-84 [4CDs: 73.22 + 76.14 + 77.10 + 73.34]

1. Giacomo CARISSIMI (1605-1674): Vittoria mio core! (Domenico Benigni) [3:36]
2. Antonio CALDARA (1670-1736): Come raggio del sol (anonymous) [3:16]
3. Francesco Bartolomeo CONTI (1681-1732): Quella fiamma che m’accende (anonymous) [previously attributed to Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739)] [4:01]
4. Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736): Se tu m’ami (Paolo Antonio Rolli) [2:34]
5. Giuseppe GIORDANI (1733-1806): Caro mio ben (anonymous) [3:49]
6. Louis NIEDERMEYER (1802-1861): Pietà, Signore (anonymous) [previously attributed to Alessandro Stradella (1639-1682) and to Rossini] [7:24]
All above sung in Italian  - Moscow Chamber Orchestra; Rudolf Borisovich Barshai (conductor)
7. Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901): Ave Maria (1880) (liturgical, sung in Latin) Moscow Chamber Orchestra; Rudolf Borisovich Barshai (conductor) [5:45]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

8. Exsultate, Jubilate, K. 165 (liturgical, sung in Latin) Moscow Chamber Orchestra; Rudolf Borisovich Barshai (conductor) [13:46]
The following are sung in Russian (Tracks 9-18)
9. Ridente la calma, K. 210a (152) (anonymous) (also attributed to Josef Myslivecek, 1737- 1781) - Berta Markovna Kozel (piano) rec. 1950 [3:50]
10. Komm, liebe Zither, K. 351 (anonymous) N. Rozov (mandolin) Berta Markovna Kozel (piano) [1:55]
11. Als Luise die Briefe ihres ungetreuen Liebhabers verbrannte, K. 520 (Gabriele von Baumberg), Berta Markovna Kozel (piano) [1:51]
12. An Chloë, K. 524 (Johann Georg Jacobi) Berta Markovna Kozel (piano) rec. 1950 [2:01]
13. COSÌ FAN TUTTE, K. 588: Act I, No. 4—Oh, guarda sorella (Lorenzo da Ponte) Galina Petrovna Sakharova (soprano), Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, Alexei Matveievich Kovalyov (conductor) rec. 1953 [4:19]
Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868)

14. SOIRÉES MUSICALES: No. 9–La Regata veneziana (Conte Carlo Pepoli) [3:15]
15. SOIRÉES MUSICALES: No. 10–La Pesca (Nocturne) (Conte Carlo Pepoli) - Nadezhda Appollinarievna Kazantseva (soprano), Anton Ossipovich Bernard (piano) [4:04]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)

16. 17. SONGS OF VARIOUS NATIONALITIES (23), WoO 158A ("NEUES VOLKSLIEDERHEFT"): 2 Russian songs No. 13–In the little woods; No. 14–Oh, rivers, rivers (traditional) Alexander Yerokhin (piano), Rostislav Dubinsky (violin), Valentin Berlinsky (cello) [1:37] [2:18]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)

18. Vor der Tür, Op. 28, No. 2 (traditional) Andrei Alexeievich Ivanov (baritone), Georgi Borisovich Orentlikher (piano) rec. 1953 [2:14]
CD 2 [75:14]
(All piano accompaniments by Berta Markova Kozel, and sung in Russian, unless otherwise stated)
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)

FRAUENLIEBE UND -LEBEN, OP. 42 (Adalbert von Chamisso) Recorded 1953
1. 1. Seit ich ihn gesehen [2:42]
2. 2. Er, der Herrlischte [2:20]
3. 3. Ich kann’s nicht fassen [1:42]
4. 4. Du Ring an meinem Finger [2:08]
5. 5. Helft mir, ihr Schwestern [1:37]
6. 6. Süßer Freund, du blickest [4:28]
7. 7. An meinem Herzen [0:57]
8. 8. Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz getan [3:51]
Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828)

9. Wiegenlied, Op. 98, No. 2, D. 498 ("Schlafe, schlafe, holder, süßer Knabe") (anonymous) rec. 1953 [2:19]
10. Die Forelle, Op. 32, D. 550 (Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart) rec. 1950 [1:36]
11. Du bist die Ruh’, Op. 59, No. 3, D. 776 (Friedrich Rückert) [5:17]
12. DIE SCHÖNE MÜLLERIN, OP. 25, D. 795: No. 2—Wohin? (Wilhelm Müller) rec. 1952 [1:51]
13. Ellens Gesang III, Op. 52, No. 6, D. 839 ("Ave Maria") (Adam Storck, after Sir Walter Scott) (6.18) Sung in German, rec. 1953 [6:11]
14. SCHWANENGESANG, D. 957: No. 9—Ihr Bild (Heinrich Heine) rec. 1948 [2:58]
Ferenc LISZT (1811-1886)

15. Gebet, G. 331 (Friedrich Martin Bodenstedt, after Mikhail Y. Lermontov) rec. 1952 [3:23]
16. Oh, quand je dors, G. 282 (Victor Hugo) rec. 1952 [6:04]
17. Der Gluckliche, G. 334 (Adolf von Wilbrandt) rec. 1952 [1:54]
18. Loreley, G. 273 (Heinrich Heine) rec. 1951 [6:56]
19. Vous me quittez?…Malheureux! Tu ne comprends donc pas…Ô dieu, de quelle ivresse
(Jules Barbier) Ivan Semyonovich Kozlovsky (tenor), Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra Samuel Abramovich Samosud (conductor) rec. 1952 [6:08]
20. Léo DELIBES (1836-1891): Bonjour, Suzon (Alfred de Musset) rec. 1950 [2:25]
21. Georges BIZET (1838-1875): Douce mer (Alphonse de Lamartine) rec. 1950 [2:51]
22. Salvatore CARDILLO (1874-1947): Core ‘ngato (Catarì) (Riccardo Cordiferro) (with Orchestra) [4:44]
CD 3 [77:10]
1. Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937): DEUX MÉLODIES HÉBRAÏQUES: No. 1—Kaddish (liturgical) Sung in Aramaic, Nina Svetlanova (piano) [5:02]
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946): SIETE CANCIONES POPULARES ESPAÑOLAS (traditional)
Sung in Spanish, Nina Svetlanova (piano)
2. I El Paño moruno [1:14]
3. II  Seguidilla murciana [1:29]
4. III  Asturiana [2:38]
5. IV  Jota [3:22]
6. V  Nana [1:39]
7. VI  Canción [1:21]
8. VII  Polo [1:42]
Hugo WOLF (1860-1903) - Berta Markovna Kozel (piano) rec. 1950s (Sung in Russian)
9. Gedichte (51) von Goethe: No. 9—Mignon IV ("Kennst du das Land?") [5:42]
10. Gedichte (52) von Goethe: No. 11—Der Rattenfänger [2:37]
11. Gedichte (53) von Eduard Mörike: No. 12—Verborgenheit [2:50]
12. Spanisches Liederbuch: No. 13—Seltsam ist Juanas Weise (Emanuel von Geibel) [2:18]
13. Spanisches Liederbuch: No. 16—Wenn du zu den Blumen gehst (Paul Heyse) [1:25]
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) - Berta Markovna Kozel (piano) rec. 1950s (Sung in Russian)
14. Allerseelen, Op. 10, No. 8 (Hermann von Gilm zu Rosenegg) rec. 1950s [2:51]
15. Cäcilie, Op. 27, No. 2 (Heinrich Hart) rec. 1950s [2:17]
16. Heimliche Aufforderung, Op. 27, No. 3 (John Henry Mackay) rec. 1950s [2:41]
17. Morgen!, Op. 27, No. 4 (John Henry Mackay) rec. 1953 [3:11]
18. Traum durch die Dämmerung, Op. 29, No. 1 (Otto Julius Bierbaum) rec. 1950s [2:45]
19. Hat gesagt - bleibt’s nicht dabei, Op. 36, No. 3 (des Knaben Wunderhorn) [1:52]
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)

20. A CHARM OF LULLABIES, OP. 41: No. 5— The Nurse’s Song  (John Phillip) [2:29]
21. No. 4— A Charm (Thomas Randolph)  Sung in English, Nina Svetlanova (piano) [1:33]
22. Alexander Sergeievich Dargomyzhsky (1813-1869): Fair maidens (Alexander Sergeievich Pushkin), Galina Petrovna Sakharova (soprano), Berta Markovna Kozel (piano) rec. 1950 [1:46]
César Antonovich CUI (1835-1918) - Berta Markovna Kozel (piano) rec. 1950s
23. Confidant, Op. 57, No. 8 (Alexander Sergeievich Pushkin) rec. 1951 [0:54]
24. Evening glow (anonymous) rec. 1951 [1:54]
25. Lilacs quickly fading here, Op. 54, No. 5 (René-François Sully-Prudhomme) [2:37]
26. Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): In the garden near the ford, Op. 46, No. 4 (Ivan Zakharovich Surikov, after Taras Shevchenko) Galina Petrovna Sakharova (soprano), Berta Markovna Kozel (piano) rec. 1950 [1:50]
27. Sergei Ivanovich TANEIEV (1856-1915): Let it sound no more, Op. 17, No. 3 (Konstantin Dmitrievich Balmont, after Percy Bysshe Shelley) Alexander Pavlovich Dolukhanian (piano) rec. 1947 [2:28]
28. Anton Stepanovich ARENSKY (1861-1906): SIX CHILDREN’S SONGS, OP. 59: No. 2 Mutual guarantee (Apollon Nikoaievich Maikov) Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leonid Pavlovich Piatigorsky (conductor) [1:14]
29. Alexander Nikolaievich SCRIABIN (1872-1915): Romance (c. 1894) (composer) Berta Markovna Kozel (piano) rec. 1952 [1:27]
Nikolai Karlovich MEDTNER (1880-1951) - Berta Markovna Kozel (piano) rec. 1950s
30. Winterabend, Op. 13, No. 1 (Alexander Sergeievich Pushkin) [3:11]
31. When roses fade, Op. 36, No. 3 (Alexander Sergeievich Pushkin) [1:54]
32. Spanish Romance, Op. 36, No. 4 (Alexander Sergeievich Pushkin) [1:54]
CD 4 [70:34]
(All piano accompaniments by Berta Markova Kozel unless otherwise stated.) rec. 1950s
Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)  - Alexander Pavlovich Dolukhanian (piano) rec. 1948
1. Take my heart away (1873) [1:53]
2. Not a word, o my friend, Op. 6, No. 0 [2 3:1]
3. Both painfully and sweetly, Op. 6, No. 3 ("Bitter sweet", "Love’s beginning") [2:15]
4. The Cloud, Op. 27, No. 2 [3:23]
5. Do not leave me, Op. 27, No. 3 [2:29]
6. It was in early spring, Op. 38, No. 2 [2:43]
7. Darkness fell on the earth, Op. 47, No. 3 [4:42]
8. Sleep, unhappy friend, Op. 47, No. 4 [4:00]
9. Does the day reign?, Op. 47, No. 6 [3:13]
10. Tell me what you are thinking, Op. 57, No. 1 [3:51]
11. Do not ask, Op. 57, No.3 [3:09]
12. The first meeting, Op. 63, No. 4 [1:29]
13. The fires in the room were already extinguished, Op. 63, No. 5 [2:33]
14. Serenade, Op. 63, No. 6 ("O Child, beneath thy window") [2:57]
15. Song of Zemfira (1866) ("Dreadful old Husband") [1:34]
16. Mezza notte (c.1860)  Alexander Pavlovich Dolukhanian (piano) rec. in Italian, 1948 [1:52]
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)

17. Morning, Op. 4, No. 2 ("I love you so") rec. 1949 [2:26]
18. The Water-lily, Op. 8, No. 1 (rec. 1951) [1:40]
19. Prayer, Op. 8, No. 6 ("O my God") Alexander P. Dolukhanian (piano) rec. 1948 [3:30]
20. Midsummer nights, Op. 14, No. 5 (rec. 1951) [1:40]
21. Do not regret me, Op. 14, No. 8 (rec. 1949) [3:27]
22. The Answer, Op. 21, No. 4 (rec. 1949) [1:41]
23. Lilacs, Op. 21, No. 5 (rec. 1948-53) [1:48]
24. The Muse, Op. 34, No. 1 (rec. 1952) [3:41]
25. A Dream, Op. 38, No. 5 ("There is nothing in the world") rec. 1953 [3:20]

Zarah Dolukhanova was born in Moscow in 1918. Her parents, both musical, were Armenian and named her Zaruhi and encouraged her in her studies. These began first as a pianist and then at the age of twelve as a violinist before she found her true vocation as a singer. Her debut came in 1939 and she learned her craft slowly in a provincial opera house, though she was never to become reconciled to the operatic world and after 1944 she never sang on stage (though she made a number of discs of operatic arias and indeed some complete operas in the years following the end of WW2 when she was a soloist with the All-Union Radio). She performed much of the contemporary Soviet literature – Miaskovsky, Shostakovich, and Prokofiev, certainly, but also Gavrilin, Taliverdiev and Sviridov and the music of many Armenian composers. She toured widely, recorded, received awards and honours and then late in her forties emerged as a soprano.

Guild’s excellent four CD set reflects this career choice faithfully. We do get some opera but very little. The bulk of the set is devoted to her song recordings – and they prove to be rather more eclectic than most people had imagined. Alongside her Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky (of course) we have Schubert and Schumann and also her Aria Antiche, powerfully and expressively sung. But there is also her Britten, de Falla and Ravel to balance the well known with the discographically more obscure.

The whole set of four discs is in fact something of a voyage of discovery into the art of this superb mezzo. Though she is indeed full of expression in the Aria Antiche there is no over emoting and as was the case of her famous recordings of Bach and Handel (none presented here) she is technically and tonally at an exceptional level. True the orchestra is recorded muddily but the voice itself is forward and strong, lightening magically in the Pergolesi and raptly soft in the famous Giordani. The first disc is shared with her Mozart – sterling runs in Exsultate Jubilate, again with Barshai’s orchestral support. The coloratura is impelled with striking accuracy here, the voice itself taken on an appositely darker shade when required. It’s a shame one of her regular accompanists, Berta Kozel, was saddled with such a ropey piano in Ridente la calma but her Mozart is very persuasive, even if her soprano partner Galina Sakharova is inclined to be a bit shrill in their duet from Così fan Tutte. She was a famous Rossinian and the two examples here from Soirées Musicales are apt reminders of her eminence in the repertoire, splendidly partnered by a much better soprano, Nadezhda Kazantseva. In the Beethoven she has luxury casting; two members of the Borodin Quartet, Dubinsky and Berlinsky, who joined pianist Alexander Yerokhin.

Disc Two is Schumann, Schubert, Liszt and a few others. Frauenliebe und –leben is sung, as almost everything else, in Russian. One can hear something Ferrier-like in the middle and lower registers of her voice, strikingly so in Seit ich ihn gesehen, but the colour and eagerness of expression she imparts to Ich kann’s nicht fassen are admirable as is her quickening vibrato in Helft mir, ihr Schwestern and the richly coloured lower voice in the last song, Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz getan. This was recorded c.1953 and like all the items in the set derives from tape copies made many years ago. I can only assume it’s the old tape that accounts for the pitch distortion in the postlude of this, of all, songs – it’s an unhappy moment and something should have been done to mitigate it. Her Schubert is enlivened by subtle rubati (Die Forelle) and though her Ave Maria is awfully slow we can still appreciate the voice production even if the recording imparts an unwonted hardness to it. The remainder of this side is given over to lesser, though ever entertaining repertoire- she could lighten delightfully in Delibes and Bizet.

Her Ravel has the requisite histrionic projection and the notes, comprehensive and very informative ones by Larry Friedman, are honest about one of her less successful discs, the de Falla which is rather heavy and certainly can’t bear much comparison with the almost contemporaneous de los Angeles recording (though I must say I liked the way she floated the line in Nana). Wolf’s Der Rattenfänger has suffered a bit of a glitch – a repeated piano introduction – but what conversational wit she espouses in Seltsam ist Juanas Weise and when we reach her Richard Strauss we find similar virtues; rapture in Cäcilie, for example, which is superbly voiced. Her Britten, as promised, is from A Charm of Lullabies, which shows that Russian mezzos and sopranos were singing him before Vishnevskaya but it’s on her home soil that she is at her most notable. Most Russian singers have some Dargomyzhsky in their repertoire and Dolukhanova must have had her share because it was one of her tenets never to sing the same song twice in a city – even if she’d last sung it twenty years before. The one example of this composer’s work is quite delightful. Her Taneyev is equally impressive and though the recording is a bit distant, there’s a sense of curve and sweep to her Medtner (three little songs lasting in total seven minutes) that is both powerful and authentic (the composer was a famously driving and galvanizing pianist).

Appropriately Guild’s survey ends with Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, twin pillars of her song repertoire. There’s overwhelming gravity and depth to her singing of Not a word, o my friend and The Cloud and an eager tension thrills through the rolled piano chords of Does the day reign? The concentrated and controlled power and grief that is her recording of Do not ask are as impressive as anything in this last disc. And yet Rachmaninov’s Morning brings forth true simplicity and there’s some tiny, wistful vocalise in A Dream. These should certainly be in the collection of Russophile song collectors, without question.

At the time of writing Zara Dolukhanova is eighty-six. She teaches at her alma mater, the Gnessin Institute, and still lives in Moscow where she paints assiduously. I understand that this Guild set is offered at a reduced price; in which case there is no excuse to avoid the manifold pleasures of nearly five hours in her captivating, versatile company.

Jonathan Woolf

see also review by Robert Farr


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