"I discovered Vyatcheslav Kagan-Paley by accident. And what a wonderful accident that was. Here is a handsome, young Russian soprano singer who has a voice of pure beauty. No words can explain or describe how beautiful his voice is, and what a gift he has given us by releasing this recording. This recording consists of 12 different versions of Ave Maria, from all the different composers, such as: Mozart, Verdi, Bruckner, Stravinsky, Schubert, and Liszt. Each version is different and unique in its own way. If you love the "Ave Maria" hymn, you will truly enjoy this recording. My favorite version was number 7 by Stravinsky. A one-time protégé of Leonard Bernstein, he studied violin and piano at first. I am grateful that he decided to share his "voice" with the world also. I highly recommended this recording by Vyatcheslav. I would suggest you find your favorite chair, dim the lights, sit back and get ready to truly enjoy a wonderful experience by listening to his wonderful and beautiful voice singing these "Ave Marias.""
Great Concept-Excellent Synths -Needs more flavor
Stephen Jackson | Texas, USA | 09/08/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As a countertenor, I am always searching for recordings from new and up and coming singers. I had heard some wonderful things about this album, and decided to buy it. It was very interesting to hear 11 differnet versions of the famous Ave Maria Text, and I believe that the contrast and pacing of the album is excellent. My sole fault lies in the vocal production of this young singer. MOST of his range is sheer and glittering. He has a lovely tone and clean projection and resonance. Like many countertenors, the sound at the bottom of the range takes on a rather covered sound at times, but this is characteristic of the voice and is not terribly distracting most of the time. In matters of vibrato, everyones taste varies, but there are moments when the vibrato is a bit wider and unstylistic than might be generally appropriate. Unfortunately, like many singers with rare voice types who feel the need to 'prove' themselves to an often difficult public, he decided on several occasions to pass the tessitura at which his voice sounds natural and unforced. I can sing to a soprano Db, but I would never do so in public performance or on a recording because I can acknowledge that there are parts of my voice that are better left in the rehearsal studio and left OUT of the recording studio. All in all, this is NOT a BAD album. The material is rich and interestingly arranged by the production team, and nearly of the vocals are clean and pleasant. Just beware of the top notes when the range is more suited to Dramatic Soprano than for Lyric Countertenor."
Beautiful & magistral interpretation
Bruno Langevin | 10/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My favorite is the first song from Giulio Caccini; absolutely perfect combination of music and human voice! Do yourself a favor, crank up the volume way up, put the subwoofer in overload (just kidding), and be prepared to shiver! It's that good."
Disappointment from great artists
John Grabowski | USA | 02/24/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I love Sviatoslav Richter and I love the Borodin Quartet. Their performance on Philips of the Brahms Piano Quartet No. 2 is a tour-de-force, all the more remarkable because it was recorded live, probably with no splices because it hadn't originally been meant for commercial release; if you love chamber Brahms and you haven't heard this CD, order it now.
I'd hoped the present recording, also live, would be as good. At the same time, I noted that the Brahms performance is very hard-driving and Apollonian--hardly promising for a Franck piece of chamber music--Germans are not French, after all. (Just ask them.) Still, I'd hoped they could accommodate the change of style.
Unfortunately, my reservations proved accurate. This is a very hard-driven, even cold performance of this puffy drawing room classic, a work that raised eyebrows over paper fans in its day for being very emotional and direct, at a time when chamber music was not supposed to cause listeners to become so excited they perspired their talcum powder. I don't want an excess of heaving and hair-tossing, but the forces here steamroller me. It's impressive technically but not appropriate to my ears. The delicate phrasing, the elegant, graceful turns, the soft blending of textures are rather lost in the full-speed ahead approach. I've always been particularly fond of the beautiful longing expressed in the second movement, and here that longing is non-existent.
I can't comment on the Liszt because I haven't heard comparative versions and know little about the pieces themselves, but those who do tell me these are great readings of them, so if you are primarily interested in these works you might want to consider this disc after all. But for the Franck, a work I almost consider to be a guilty pleasure (the first movement is a little hokey in spots--the big buildup to the tutti statement in the first movement and the statement itself feel a little "manufactured" to me), a far finer (and cheaper) recording is the Ludwig Quartet with pianist Michael Levinas on Naxos, which is also available on Amazon. I was rather surprised how well such "no name" performers nailed this work, far better, I must say, than the dream-team of Richter and the Borodins. "