(5 out of 5 stars)
"Any Russians out there? If not, that's ok too: the beauty of Russian romances presented here can be understood through your heart. While the first CD consists of piano-accompanied songs written by great Russian composers (Tchaikovsky, Borodin, et al), the second CD is rather a cross-over album of Russian (and one Ukrainian) folk songs, including, of course, the famous "Dark Eyes". Both albums are true jewels. With perfect clarity and diction, Ghiaurov's splendid bass glows over exquisite melodies; his passion for them is real and heartfelt. From tragic "For the shores of your far-off native land" to satiric "The worm" Ghiaurov's interpretations are just as gripping as Chaliapin's. The vocal skills are amazing: listen how he tenderly softens his voice on "Amidst the noisy stir of the ball" and expand it thunderously on "Sten'ka Razin"! It is undoubtedly one of the best song collections coming from the best Boris Godunov of our time. Don't miss it."
Ghiaurov rules....! And he deserves more than 5 stars!
Rachel Howard | ocklawaha, Florida United States | 04/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I used to have a great deal of this material on vinyl LP, so I'm grabbing this up as soon as possible. London's transfers are usually impeccable, so I expect no problems with the sounds- and the sound on the originals was spectacular. Ghiaurov seemed to me to have a fine feel for this music and the voice is something to die for- huge, robust, soaring... yet capable of subtle beauties many other basses ignore. Frankly, Ghiaurov is the standard by which I judge other basses in this genre. Maxim Mikhailov and Mark Reizen come to mind as incredible voices and interpreters, as well as Boris Gmyria. Reizen especially had the quintessential basso cantante voice, with a beauty and range of dynamics that is hard to resist. Nicolai Ghiaurov was a fine successor to these lofty singers and I doubt anyone who loves this music will be disappointed. The Song of the Volga Boatmen is superbly done, with beauty, compassion, and a soaring vocal line that really has to be heard to be believed. Stenka Razin also is highly recommended. I remember listening to these songs over and over; not knowing what most of them were about, but getting lost in the emotions and majesty of this music. In other words... you like this genre? And bass voices? Buy this!"