Wonderful assortment of songs set on Western texts.
David A. Hollingsworth | Washington, DC USA | 07/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful assortment of songs set on Western poetic texts by a whole variety of Russian composers (13 in all), most of whom are familiar (or famous) while others are rather little known (like Alexandrov & Bortnyansky). Much of the songs on this CD, namely of Rubinstein, Taneyev, Glazunov, Grechaninov, & Medtner are set to Germanic poetry (naturally for Rubinstein & Medtner, since they had German ancestry). The song "Gefunden", after Goethe's "Ich ging im Walde" was set to music by Medtner & Taneyev & it's interesting to see their different treatment to it: Taneyev's with the delicacy & innocence, Medtner's the more serious & piquant yet dignified. Glazunov's Romance, after Goethe's "Dichterliebe" is beautiful & ultimately sentamental while Grechaninov's "Widmung" is sincere & somewhat mournful & agitated, especially in the latter part of the text "Oh, may all you sighs & tears, Fly away to her as songs." The selections of Rubinstein's ten songs to German, French, and Italian texts op. 83 (1868) as well as Waldeinsamkeit (from Six German Songs op. 76) are memorable although Glinka was more at home with Italian texts than Rubinstein. The other songs are set to French text (though Borodin's "Fleurs d' amour" is a french translation to Heine's "Buch der Lieder") while Glinka's "Pur nel sonno" & "Piangendo ancora rinascer suole" are set to Italian. Glinka's songs are especially fresh & lively while Dargomyzhsky's songs are serene, especially "Dieu, qui sourit" & Romance du beau Tirsis (among my particular favorites). The songs of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Bortnyansky, Borodin, & Alexandrov are especially lighthearted & warm. Rachmaninov's "C'etait en avril" has the beauty & the nobleness to be found in his later scores while Tchaikovsky's Rondel has that Mozartian innocence & charm that's immediately compelling. His Deception is more serious & saddened, however, as one looks for his beloved (does this remind you of his Manfred Symphony?). This is an excellent recital, sang by Sergei Larin (tenor) accompanied by pianist Eleonora Bekova. The warmth & joy of Larin's singing immediately captured by mind, and ultimately my heart as I continue to listen to this CD. Bekova's piano accompliment is wholly euphonious & humane throughout. I eagerly await Volume II."