Sergei Rachmaninov: Iz evangeliya ot Ioanna (From the Gospel of St. John)
Iz evangeliya ot Ioanna (From the Gospel of St. John)
Sergei Rachmaninov: 6 Songs, Op. 38
6 Songs, Op. 38: No. 1. Noch'yu v sadu u menya (In my Garden at Night)
6 Songs, Op. 38: No. 2. K ney (To Her)
6 Songs, Op. 38: No. 3. Margaritki (Daisies)
6 Songs, Op. 38: No. 4. Krisolov (The Rat-Catcher)
6 Songs, Op. 38: No. 5. Son (A Dream)
6 Songs, Op. 38: No. 6. A-u!
Sergei Rachmaninov: 6 Songs, Op. 8
6 Songs, Op. 8: No. 6. Molitva (A Prayer)
Sergei Rachmaninov: Vsyo khochet pet (All wish to sing)
Vsyo khochet pet (All Wish to Sing)
“This set opens with a powerful dramatic outpouring, Letter to KS Stanislavsky. In fact it's a formal letter of apology, for unavoidable absence from a gathering, which Rachmaninov sent for Chaliapin to sing to Stanislavsky; and one of the most touchingly elegant phrases is simply the date on the letter, October 14, 1908. Perhaps he was showing a rare touch of irony in using his full lyrical powers in such a context; but at any rate, the piece nicely prefaces the two collections of his last phase of song-writing, before he left Russia for exile. Some of his greatest songs are here, coloured in their invention by the four great singers whose hovering presence makes the disposition of this recital between four similar voices a highly successful idea. The Chaliapin songs go to Sergei Leiferkus, occasionally a little overshadowed by this mighty example (as in 'The raising of Lazarus', Op 34 No 6) but more often his own man, responding to the subtly dramatic, sometimes even laconic melodic lines with great sympathy for how they interact with the words, as with the Afanasy Fet poem 'The peasant' (Op 34 No 11). Alexandre Naoumenko inherits the mantle of Leonid Sobinov, and though he sometimes resorts to a near-falsetto for soft high notes, he appears to have listened to that fine tenor's elegance of line and no less subtle feeling for poetry. Pushkin's 'The muse' (Op 34 No 1) is most tenderly sung, and there's a sensitive response to line with 'I remember this day'. Maria Popescu has only two songs, 'It cannot be' and 'Music' (Op 34 Nos 7 and 8), but she has a light tone and bright manner. Joan Rodgers is exquisite in the most rapturous and inward of the songs (the great Felia Litvinne was the original here). Of the Op 38 set, Rachmaninov was particularly fond of 'The rat-catcher' (No 4), and especially of 'Daisies' (No 3), which she sings charmingly, but it's hard to understand why he did not add 'Sleep'. He might have done had he heard Rodgers's rapt performance with Howard Shelley, the music delicately balanced in the exact way he must have intended between voice and piano as if between sleep and waking.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.