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Firebirds In Paris - French & Belgian Singers In Russian Opera & Song

Various
Release Date: 06/09/2010 
Label:  Marston   Catalog #: 51008  
Composer:  Modest MussorgskyPeter Ilyich TchaikovskyAlexander BorodinNikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,   ... 
Performer:  Emile Vanni-MarcouxLucien HubertyFred BordonAndré Pernet,   ... 
Conductor:  Piero CoppolaJ. E. SzyferGustav CloëzMaurice Bastin,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This important cultural phenomenon has been nicely compiled and collated, and beautifully presented.

This disc celebrates a Franco-Russian musical alliance via recordings made by French and Belgian singers of exclusively Russian music. All the operatic extracts and arias and songs are sung in French, as was then customary. Regarding the closeness of culture between the two countries Diaghilev, of course, was a pivotal mover and shaker, an impresario whose reach extended beyond ballet to productions at the Paris Opera. But the Opéra-Comique was also putting on Russian works in the first decade of the twentieth century, and after the Russian Revolution Paris became one of the two most important European cities -
Read more Berlin was the other - for Russian émigrés. The Opéra russe de Paris was heard at numerous venues and other companies were founded to present a range of operatic works. The ventures are well detailed in the booklet notes to this release, fully up to Marston’s very high standards

The singers are an intriguing mix of the highly distinguished, admired and also little known. Vanni-Marcoux is typically elegant, warm toned, vivid, and pliant, in his Boris extract though some will not take the bleat. Bass Albert Huberty enunciates very cleanly, and proves a powerful, declamatory presence. A lighter bass was Fred Bordon, though he is theatrically persuasive in his own way. Chaliapin’s is the name that lingers over these representations from Boris and it’s André Pernet who most nearly approximates his degree of histrionic drama. Spread over two sides this 1930 Odeon argues persuasively in Pernet’s favour as a ‘singing actor’ of power and reach. Bass-baritone Jean Aquistapace also has the musicianship to cope with the demands of what we should properly call, in this linguistic context, ‘Les adieux et la mort de Boris’.

Livine Mertens exercises a well sustained chest voice in her Tchaikovsky extract and she’s followed immediately by the lyrical tones of André D’Arkor. Rather like Vanni-Marcoux, Charles Friant has a bit of an insistent vibrato but he’s urgent, and eager, despite the slack orchestral support. There are two examples of Ninon Vallin’s art - sparkling and atmospheric - and a single one of Georges Thill. These two artists represent the comfortable centrality of French singing but bass François Audiger is little known, and biographical details are sketchy. Georges Jouatte has personality in spades in his Song of the Flea, Souzay is simply superb in his None but the lonely heart on a 1948 French Decca, whilst Renée Doria goes high and pure in Rimsky’s The rose and the nightingale. Twenty years earlier soprano Claudine Boons had proved equally effective in her Rachmaninoff setting.

These items were all recorded between 1927 and 1949 with a range of accompanists and orchestras. The transfers are vivid, sacrifice no treble and have the voice centre-stage. This important cultural phenomenon has been nicely compiled and collated, and beautifully presented.


-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Boris Godunov: Prologue - I am oppressed "Coronation scene" by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Emile Vanni-Marcoux (Bass)
Conductor:  Piero Coppola
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 06/08/1934 
Length: 2 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: French 
2. Boris Godunov: In the town of Kazan "Varlaam's Song" by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Lucien Huberty (Baritone)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1873; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1929 
Length: 2 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: French 
3. Boris Godunov: I have attained the highest power "Boris' Monologue" by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Fred Bordon (Bass)
Conductor:  J. E. Szyfer
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1873; Russia 
Date of Recording: 05/15/1930 
Length: 5 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Language: French 
4. Boris Godunov: Ugh, it's oppressive "Clock Scene" by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  André Pernet (Baritone)
Conductor:  Gustav Cloëz
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1873; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/23/1930 
Length: 3 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Language: French 
5. Boris Godunov: Farewell, my son, I am dying "Death of Boris" by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Jean Aquistapace (Bass Baritone)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1873; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1929 
Length: 8 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: French 
6. Queen of Spades, Op. 68: Pauline's Romance by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Livine Mertens (Mezzo Soprano), Fernand Goeyens (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Russia 
Date of Recording: 05/06/1930 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: French 
7. Prince Igor: Daylight is fading "Vladimir's Aria" by Alexander Borodin
Performer:  André D'Arkor (Tenor)
Conductor:  Maurice Bastin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869-1887; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/20/1930 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: French 
8. Prince Igor: Helas, mon ame est triste by Alexander Borodin
Performer:  Claude Nougaro (Baritone)
Conductor:  Maurice Frigara
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869-1887; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/11/1930 
Length: 7 Minutes 50 Secs. 
9. May Night: Act 3, Levko's Aria by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Charles Friant (Tenor)
Conductor:  Gustav Cloëz
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 04/28/1928 
Length: 4 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: French 
10. Snow Maiden: Clouds plotted with thunder by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Ninon Vallin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gustav Cloëz
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880/1895; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/24/1927 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: French 
11. Sadko: no 4, Song of the Indian Guest by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Georges Thill (Tenor)
Conductor:  Eugène Bigot
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1896; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/09/1933 
Length: 3 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Language: French 
12. Golden Cockerel: Hymn to the sun by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Eidé Noréna (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gustav Cloëz
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906-1907; Russia 
Date of Recording: 12/08/1930 
Length: 3 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: French 
13. Song of the Volga boatmen by Traditional
Performer:  François Audiger (Bass)
Conductor:  Florian Weiss
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 1932 
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: French 
14. Mephistopheles' song of the flea by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Georges Jouatte (Tenor)
Conductor:  Gustav Cloëz
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; Russia 
Date of Recording: 12/01/1930 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Language: French 
15. Songs (20): no 19, Georgian song by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Ninon Vallin (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gustav Cloëz
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863; Russia 
Date of Recording: 12/15/1931 
Length: 3 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: French 
16. Persian Songs (12), Op. 34: no 9, The turbulent waters of Kur "Persian Love Song" by Anton Rubinstein
Performer:  Charles Soix (Baritone), André Tournier (Piano)
Date of Recording: 05/28/1936 
Length: 4 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: French 
17. Songs (6), Op. 6: no 6, None but the lonely heart by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Gérard Souzay (Baritone), Irene Aïtoff (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869; Russia 
Date of Recording: 08/10/1948 
Length: 3 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: French 
18. Songs (4), Op. 2: no 2, Enslaved by the rose, the nightingale by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Renée Doria (Soprano), Tasso Janopoulo (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/03/1949 
Length: 3 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: French 
19. Songs (12), Op. 21: no 5, Lilacs by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Germaine Cernay (Mezzo Soprano), Gustav Cloëz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Russia 
Date of Recording: 09/29/1930 
Length: 1 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: French 
20. Songs (6), Op. 4: no 5, Oh thou, my field by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Claudine Boons (Soprano)
Conductor:  Florian Weiss
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1929 
Length: 4 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Language: French 

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