Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 


 
REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline


Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Aleko (1892-1893)
Sergey Murzaev (baritone) - Aleko; Svetla Vassileva (soprano) - Zemfira; Evgeny Akhimov (tenor) - Young Gypsy; Gennady Bezzubenkov (bass) - Old Gypsy; Nadezhda Vasilieva (mezzo) - Old Gypsy Woman; Coro del Teatro Regio del Torino; BBC Philharmonic/Gianandrea Noseda.
rec. RAI Auditorium, Piazza Rossaro, Turin, 8-9 September 2009. DDD
CHANDOS CHAN10583 [50:55]

Experience Classicsonline

 

 
Note that this is not part of the Chandos ‘Opera in English” series. This Aleko is sung in Russian. Rachmaninov’s early opera is remarkable, especially given its early date. The inspiration is free-flowing from the composer’s pen; the integrity of the Pushkin original is maintained.
 
The BBC Philharmonic sounds simply superb in the opening Prelude, delivering the themes of fate and jealousy with equal amounts of foreboding and lyricism. The recording helps – superbly focused, believably balanced and with just the right amount of space. The orchestra is superbly captured throughout, a vital facet of any recording of this piece given the dances that permeate the score. The Women’s Dance is superbly characterful - the BBC Philharmonic’s wind section excels. The Men’s Dance contains more contrasts, all relished by the forces here.
 
The opening chorus of gypsies makes plain reference to Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances. The chorus throughout - and it plays an integral part in the work’s unfolding - is magnificent. The Teatro Regio, Turin chorus makes a lovely, rounded sound and still sounds believably Russian.
 
The Russian text is given in Cyrillic only in the booklet, which might pose problems for some. At least there are translations in English, French and German and track points are frequent.
 
Luxury casting comes in the form of the experienced Gennadi Bezzubenkov as the Old Gypsy, full of Russian melancholy as he reminisces (track 3). The oboe’s supporting comments seem echt-Russian rather than Mancunian. The Old Gypsy Woman, who appears towards the end of the opera, is similarly convincing (Nadezhda Vasilieva).
 
The title role is taken by baritone Sergey Murzaev, strong and virile of voice. Aleko’s Cavatina (track 10) is powerfully delivered, a clear arioso narration until Aleko utters the magic name of “Zemfira”. The aftermath of his Cavatina (after the lines “Zemfira is unfaithful! Zemfira has grown cold!”) is a magical Intermezzo, during which the moon disappears and daybreak begins onstage. His vocal acting in the finale, when he awakes to find Zemfira and the Young Gypsy together, is excellent, right up to the moment he stabs the Young Gypsy.
 
As Zemfira, Svetla Vassileva is pure and yet passionate. Her big number is the Lullaby (track 9), preceded by the tender duet with the Young Gypsy - the ardent tenor Evgeny Akimov. Only his later off-stage aria, “Look how beneath the distant vault of Heaven …” disappoints, lacking the last iota of conviction. Again, the BBC Philharmonic performs a sterling service in setting up the atmosphere, here in the pointed phrasing. Vassileva sings beautifully, moulding her responses to the text perfectly.
 
Noseda conducts intelligently, sensitively, with full structural awareness of the dramatic trajectory. We clearly hear the Tchaikovskian influences in the orchestral writing, particularly in the yearning string phrases.
 
Rob Barnett rightly praised the Järvi DG recording on this site some eight years ago. I would love to hear the Svetlanov (only part of a six-disc set, alas). I remember a Proms performance of Aleko some years ago now which featured the magnificent Elena Prokina – perhaps it is too much to wish that she were part of the Chandos cast. Whatever, there is no doubt that this performance stands firmly on its own two feet.
 
My Recording of the Month, by a long way.
 

Colin Clarke
 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.