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Labendige Vergangenheit: Pavel Lisitisian In Concert

Lisitsian,Pavel
Release Date: 07/13/2010 
Label:  Preiser Records   Catalog #: 89243   Spars Code: AAD 
Composer:  Alexander BorodinAlexander GlazunovMily BalakirevNikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,   ... 
Performer:  Pavel LisitisianMatvei SakharovIgor SolodouievBoris Reentovich,   ... 
Conductor:  Alexander Melik-Pashayev
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 2 Hours 31 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



LEBENDIGE VERGANGENHEIT: PAVEL LISITSIAN IN CONCERT Pavel Lisitsian (bar); various accompanists PREISER 89243, mono (2 CDs: 151:53)


Arias and songs by: ANONYMOUS, BALAKIREV, BORODIN, GLAZUNOV, GOT, KEIL, MASSENET, RACHMANINOFF, RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, RUBINSTEIN, SCHUBERT, SCHUMANN, TCHAIKOVSKY, TOSTI, VERDI


Pavel Lisitsian (1911–2004) is best known today as an opera singer, thanks largely to his performances on a series of Melodiya releases. Read more style="font-style:italic">Eugene Onegin, The Queen of Spades, Sadko, Faust, La Traviata, Aïda, Halka, La Bohème (under Samosud’s baton; one of the work’s two best recordings, in my opinion), Pagliacci, Madama Butterfly , and War and Peace all testify to the quality of his work, but the Armenian baritone was a distinguished concert recitalist as well. He appeared in the latter capacity in more than 30 countries, and concentrated on this aspect of his career in his later years—especially as a soloist, but also in a vocal quartet he formed with three of his children. This release focuses almost exclusively on solo concerts recorded by Melodiya during the baritone’s prime, with a bit of opera thrown in for good measure.


The voice itself was distinctive. It was a dark baritone of great focus and resonance, as can be heard here at the start of “O sommo Carlo” from Verdi’s Ernani . Yet it was accompanied by a slightly fast and insistent vibrato—perfectly regular, and integrated into the vocal mechanism—that was bright, almost tenor-like. This gave the result an unusual internal contrast and brilliance, like gold in some dark, rich ore. Achieved naturally, it created a squillo many baritones pressured their instruments to accomplish, shortening the best years of their operatic careers in the hopes of securing a more visible trajectory. Lisitsian allied other qualities to this unusual sound, of course: a rock-solid technique, exceptional breath support, and a command of legato that the singer himself credited to the perseverance at the Leningrad Conservatory (where he studied from 1932 to 1935) of bel canto technique long after verismo had triumphed elsewhere in Europe. However, the first thing that strikes the listener upon hearing Lisitsian is that remarkable voice, unlike any other.


There is no better first exposure to that unforgettable sound than Balakirev’s song “Come to Me,” especially in the second of two live versions (1948, 1949) on this album. As is always the case with Lisitsian, the joy of the voice itself is immediately alloyed to the ease of its production, the free, open way it soars, the many levels of dynamic that in its earlier pages the baritone employs. Just as good is Yeletsky’s aria from The Queen of Spades (again, two versions provided, with 1951 being better): not as perfectly sculpted as on the complete studio recording, available once again on Preiser 90470, but still displaying all of this singer’s magic—and live on stage, too.


Lisitsian has been accused at times of preferring musical to dramatic values; as if there’s a choice between the two. It would be more appropriate to point out that occasionally on records he seems concerned solely with the emission and placement of tone. The second half of the “Song of the Venetian Merchant” (not included here) from Melodiya’s first complete recording of Sadko is like that: intrinsically beautiful, but lacking in the expansive joy demanded by both text and music. Perhaps he didn’t always respond as intensely in a studio as he did for several decades to audiences, because there’s little evidence of that in these recitals. “The night is calm,” the narrator declares in Schubert’s Der Doppelgänger , and you can hear the heaviness in the consonants he emphasizes as he notes that his beloved once lived in the house before us. “Not the wind, blowing from the heights,” sings the narrator in Rimsky-Korsakov’s song of the same name, as he declares the way his beloved touched the leaves; and Lisitsian starts softly, before swelling to remark that she has also touched his soul. The voice is similarly bowed, but on an appropriately more reflective level, in Tchaikovsky’s At the Ball , as the singer reflects each change to the text with a different color and phrasing. If Don Juan’s Serenade is disappointingly blank-faced, and the aria from Eugen Onegin lacks impetuosity, there’s plenty of shifting character in Borodin’s The False Note , in the aria from Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa (1951; again two versions provided), and in the live duet from Aïda , captured live at the Bolshoi in 1952 with Nina Pokrovskaya in the title role, and Lisitsian as Amonasro.


Assuming the dates are correct, everything here was recorded between 1948 and 1952, yet the sound quality is surprisingly clean and expertly balanced between singer and accompaniment. Just occasionally, there’s overloading, or the baritone moves slightly back from the microphone, but never anything major. The Aïda duet is actually the poorest item from an engineering standpoint in the set, and it’s more than adequate for good listening. My only regret is that instead of several duplications, Preiser didn’t select some material from later Melodiya recital releases, such as an exquisite “Ombra mai fu.”


Admittedly, though, this is nitpicking. I suspect you already know how I feel about this set, but just in case I haven’t made myself clear: It belongs in the collection of anybody who values great singing. Lisitsian was among the giants of stage and recital, and there’s no greater praise I can think for this CD than to state that Preiser does him good service.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
For the shores of thy far native land by Alexander Borodin
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Matvei Sakharov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/12/1949 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 3 Minutes 27 Secs. 
2.
Mélodies (2), Op. 27: Oriental Romanza by Alexander Glazunov
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Matvei Sakharov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 03/15/1948 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 17 Secs. 
3.
Come To Me by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Matvei Sakharov (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1858; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/12/1949 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 16 Secs. 
4.
In spring, Op. 43: no 2, Not the wind, blowing from the heights by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Matvei Sakharov (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Russia 
Date of Recording: 03/15/1948 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 4 Secs. 
5.
By the sea (5), Op. 46: no 1, The wave breaks into spray by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Matvei Sakharov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/12/1949 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 1 Minutes 13 Secs. 
6.
Songs (4), Op. 4: no 2, The messenger by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Matvei Sakharov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; Russia 
Date of Recording: 03/15/1948 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 1 Minutes 28 Secs. 
7.
Kashchey the Immortal: Prince Ivan Korolevich's aria by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Matvei Sakharov (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901-1902; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/12/1949 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
8.
Schwanengesang, D 957: no 13, Der Doppelgänger by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Matvei Sakharov (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/15/1948 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 4 Minutes 11 Secs. 
9.
Dichterliebe, Op. 48: no 7, Ich grolle nicht by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Matvei Sakharov (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Date of Recording: 03/15/1948 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 18 Secs. 
10.
Le roi de Lahore: Promesse de mon avenir by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Matvei Sakharov (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; France 
Date of Recording: 03/15/1948 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 3 Minutes 33 Secs. 
11.
Ernani: O sommo Carlo by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Matvei Sakharov (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Italy 
Date of Recording: 03/15/1948 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 3 Minutes 39 Secs. 
12.
Serenade by Tod
Performer:  Matvei Sakharov (Piano), Igor Solodouiev (Violin), Pavel Lisitisian (),
Boris Reentovich (Cello)
Date of Recording: 03/15/1948 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 32 Secs. 
13.
La serenata by Francesco Paolo Tosti
Performer:  Matvei Sakharov (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian (), Igor Solodouiev (Violin),
Boris Reentovich (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; London, England 
Date of Recording: 03/15/1948 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 3 Minutes 6 Secs. 
14.
Serenade by Keil
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Matvei Sakharov (Piano), Boris Reentovich (Cello),
Igor Solodouiev (Violin)
Date of Recording: 03/15/1948 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 3 Minutes 28 Secs. 
15.
Little Swallow by Armenian Traditional
Performer:  Matvei Sakharov (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian ()
Date of Recording: 03/15/1948 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 
16.
Nero: Vindex's nuptial song by Anton Rubinstein
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Matvei Sakharov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875-1876; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/12/1949 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 17 Secs. 
17.
False note by Alexander Borodin
Performer:  Matvei Sakharov (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/12/1949 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 1 Minutes 3 Secs. 
18.
Songs (15), Op. 26: no 1, There are many sounds by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Matvei Sakharov (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/12/1949 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 26 Secs. 
19.
Songs (6), Op. 4: no 3, In the silence of the night by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Matvei Sakharov (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/12/1949 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 3 Minutes 10 Secs. 
20.
Aida: Duet Amonasro & Aida by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Nina Pokrovskaya (Voice)
Conductor:  Alexander Melik-Pashayev
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871 
Date of Recording: 12/29/1952 
Venue:  Bolshoi Theatre 
Length: 7 Minutes 24 Secs. 
21.
Queen of Spades, Op. 68: I love you beyond all measure [Yeletsky's Aria] by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 4 Minutes 20 Secs. 
22.
Persian Songs (12), Op. 34: no 9, The turbulent waters of Kur "Persian Love Song" by Anton Rubinstein
Performer:  Matvei Sakharov (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian ()
Date of Recording: 04/12/1949 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
23.
Mazeppa: O, Marija, Marija by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881-1883; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 5 Minutes 21 Secs. 
24.
Songs (6), Op. 25: no 1, Reconciliation by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Matvei Sakharov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874-1875; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/10/1949 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 4 Minutes 43 Secs. 
25.
Songs (6), Op. 38: no 3, Amid the din of the ball by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Matvei Sakharov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/10/1949 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 14 Secs. 
26.
Songs (12), Op. 60: no 6, Frenzied nights by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Matvei Sakharov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/10/1949 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 53 Secs. 
27.
Songs (6), Op. 63: no 5, The fires in the rooms were already out by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Boris Abramovitch (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 57 Secs. 
28.
Songs (6), Op. 63: no 2, I opened the window by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 1 Minutes 55 Secs. 
29.
Songs (6), Op. 38: no 4, O, if only you could for one moment by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Boris Abramovitch (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 1 Minutes 35 Secs. 
30.
Songs (6), Op. 6: no 4, The tear trembles by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Boris Abramovitch (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 3 Minutes 58 Secs. 
31.
Songs (6), Op. 25: no 2, As o'er the burning ashes by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874-1875; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 1 Minutes 39 Secs. 
32.
Songs (6), Op. 28: no 6, The fearful minute by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 3 Minutes 5 Secs. 
33.
Songs (6), Op. 63: no 6, O child, beneath thy window by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 3 Minutes 13 Secs. 
34.
Songs (6), Op. 6: no 6, None but the lonely heart by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
35.
Songs (6), Op. 28: no 3, Why did I dream of you? by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 3 Minutes 2 Secs. 
36.
Songs (12), Op. 60: no 3, O, if only you knew by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 24 Secs. 
37.
Songs (6), Op. 73: no 2, Night by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 3 Minutes 51 Secs. 
38.
Songs (6), Op. 57: no 5, Death by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
39.
Songs (6), Op. 16: no 3, Accept just one by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 1 Minutes 34 Secs. 
40.
Songs (6), Op. 73: no 6, Again, as before, alone by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Boris Abramovitch (Piano), Pavel Lisitisian ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 44 Secs. 
41.
Songs (6), Op. 73: no 5, Amidst gloomy days by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 1 Minutes 36 Secs. 
42.
Songs (6), Op. 73: no 1, We sat together by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 38 Secs. 
43.
Songs (6), Op. 38: no 1, Don Juan's serenade by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 42 Secs. 
44.
Iolanta, Op. 69: Haste not! "Duke Robert's Aria" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
45.
Eugene Onegin, Op. 24: Alas, there is no doubt "Onegin's arioso" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Pavel Lisitisian (), Boris Abramovitch (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1878; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/24/1951 
Venue:  Moscow Conservatory, Great Hall 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 

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