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Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov / Talvela, Gedda


Release Date: 02/26/2008 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 09178   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Kazmierz PustelakPaulos RaptisKazimierz SergielBozena Kinasz,   ... 
Conductor:  Jerzy Semkow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cracow Polish Radio/TV Symphony OrchestraCracow Polish Radio/TV Chorus
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 44 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

MUSSORGSKY Boris Godunov Jerzy Semkow, cond; Martti Talvela ( Boris ); Nicolai Gedda ( Grigory/Dimitri ); Leonard Mróz ( Pimen ); Bozena Kinasz ( Marina ); Andrzej Hiolski ( Rangoni/Shchelkalov ); Aage Haugland ( Varlaam ); Kazimierz Pustelak ( Read more Missail ); Paulos Raptis ( The Simpleton ); Bohdan Paprocki ( Shuisky ); Bozena Brun-Baranska ( Nurse ); Wiera Baniewicz ( Fyodor ); Halina Lukomska ( Xenia ); Polish Natl RSO; Polish RCh (Krakow EMI 09178 (3 CDs: 223:31)

This Boris Godunov was recorded in 1976, and released the following year. It is best described as the 1872 version, conflated with 1869 material that had later been removed. Thus, the Polish act dates from 1872, but the section of Pimen and Grigory’s scene that had been cut from that version is restored here. The forest scene near Kromny concludes the opera, with the Fool lamenting Russia and her people, but the scene between the Fool and the children has been repositioned earlier, before the Council of Boyers meets.

The production was largely Polish, with the addition of that towering Finn, Martti Talvela, as Boris, and the half-Russian, half-Swedish Nicolai Gedda as Grigory. Aside from Brun-Baranska’s wobbly Nurse, the singing is uniformly impressive, some of it far better than that. Kinasz’s Marina is darkly haughty yet vulnerable, a fine foil to Gedda—whose voice lacks the youthful bloom it displayed at full volume in the 1952 recording under Dobrowen (now on Naxos 8.110242), but with significantly more subtlety and shading. Hiolski I frankly find superb, whether as Shchelkalov or the oily Rangoni. His distinctive baritone is attentive to interpretative detail, and his scene with Marina in act III, one of the finest things in the set.

The Simpleton of Raptis and the Shuisky of Paprocki are also very fine, though the former doesn’t erase my memories of Ivan Kozlovsky (currently unavailable) in the role. Haugland is curiously stolid as Varlaam, and Mróz, though singing Pimen well enough, does nothing much beyond that. As for Martti Talvela, he restores dignity to a part that is too often reduced to a mindless beast, while losing nothing of his anger, terror, or self-loathing in the process.

The weakest element in this recording is Semkow, not because he is especially bad, but because too often he lets the score idle in neutral. There is little sense of intensity or rhythmic propulsiveness in his conducting. The Polish Radio National SO is effective, but the Polish Radio Chorus is better still.

The engineering was good upon initial release, and the remastering does a fine job. Liner notes are basic, and the text reduced to a cut-by-cut synopsis. At the time of this review, Boris Godunov was not among the librettos and translations that EMI Classics was offering on its Web site. I hope that will change.

There is no perfect version of this complex and compelling opera out there, but I’d put the Polish Boris high on the list.

FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

1.
Boris Godunov by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Kazmierz Pustelak (Baritone), Paulos Raptis (Tenor), Kazimierz Sergiel (Bass),
Bozena Kinasz (Soprano), Martti Talvela (Bass), Jan Góralski (Baritone),
Wlodzimierz Zalewski (Baritone), Bohdan Paprocki (Bass), Aage Haugland (Bass),
Leonard Mroz (Bass), Halina Lukomska (Mezzo Soprano), Stefania Toczyska (Mezzo Soprano),
Bozena Brun-Baranska (Alto), Andrzej Hiolski (Baritone), Wiera Baniewicz (Alto),
Nicolai Gedda (Tenor)
Conductor:  Jerzy Semkow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cracow Polish Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra,  Cracow Polish Radio/TV Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 08/1976 
Venue:  Katowice, Poland 
Length: 223 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
Notes: Composition written: Russia (1868 - 1872). 

Sound Samples

Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), PROLOGUE - Scene One: Nu, shtozh vi? (Police Officer)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), PROLOGUE - Scene One: Na kovó ty nas pokidáesh, otyéts nash! (Chorus/Peasant Women/Mityukha/Police Officer)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), PROLOGUE - Scene One: Pravolslávnyyel nye umolím boyárin! (Shchelkalov)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), PROLOGUE - Scene One: Sláva tebyé, tvortsú vsevyshnemu, na zemli! (Chorus)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), PROLOGUE - Scene One: Slykhál, shto bózhyi lyúdi govoríli? (Chorus/Mityukha/Police Officer)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), Scene Two: Da zdrávstvet tsar Boris Feódorovich! (Shuysky/Chorus)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), Scene Two: Skorbít dushá! (Boris)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), Scene Two: Sláva, Sláva, Sláva! (Chorus)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT ONE - Scene One: Yeshchó odnó poslyédneye skazánye (Pimen)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT ONE - Scene One: Odnáko bilzok dyen ... (Pimen/Chorus/Grigory)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT ONE - Scene One: Ty vsyo pisál i snom nye pozabylsa (Grigory/Pimen)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT ONE - Scene One: Nye syétuy, brat, shot ráno gréshny svyet pokinu
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT ONE - Scene One: A sin yevó Feódor? (Pimen)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT ONE - Scene One: Davnó, chestnóy, otyéts (Grigory/Pimen)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT ONE - Scene One: Zvonyát k zautrenye (Pimen/Chorus/Grigory)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), Scene Two: Poymála ya siza seleznyá (Hostess/Missail/Varlaam)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), Scene Two: Zhenó, mir dómu tvoemu! (Varlaam/Hostess/Missail/Grigory)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), Scene Two: Kak vo górode bylo vo Kazáne (Varlaam)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), Scene Two: Shtozh ty nye podtyágivaesh (Varlaam/Grigory/Missail)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), Scene Two: Kak yédet yon (Varlaam/Grigory/Hostess/Police Officer)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), Scene Two: Nu, otsy moi, kakovó promyshlyáete? (Police Officer/Varlaam/Hostess)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), Scene Two: Ya grámotny (Grigory/Police Officer/Missail)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT TWO: Gdye ty, zheníh moy (Xenia/Fyodor/Nurse)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT TWO: Kak komár drová rubíl (Nurse)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT TWO: Ekh, máma mámushka (Fyodor/Nurse)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT TWO: Chevó? Al lyúty zvyar nasyédku vspolokhnul? (Boris/Nurse/Xenia)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT TWO: A ty, moy syn, chem zányat? (Boris/Fyodor)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT TWO: Dostig ya vyshey vlásti (Boris)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT TWO: Shto takóe? (Chorus/Boris/Boyar/Fyodor)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT TWO: Pópinka nash sidyél s mamkámi v svetlítse (Fydor/Boris)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT TWO: Moy syn, dityá moyó rodnóye
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT TWO: A, preslávny vitiyá (Boris/Shuysky)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT TWO: Konyéshno, tsar, sil'ná tvoyá derzháva (Shuysky/Boris/Fyodor)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT TWO: Vzyat', myéry, syey zhe chas
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT TWO: V Ugliche, v soboryé, pred vsyém naródom (Boris/Shuysky)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT TWO: Uf! tyazheló! Day dukh perevedú ... (Boris)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT THREE - Scene One: Na Víslye lazúrnoy (Chorus/Marina)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT THREE - Scene One: Krasótka pánna blagodárna
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT THREE - Scene One: Kak tomítel'no i vyálo (Marina)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT THREE - Scene One: A! Akh, éto ty, moy otyéts!
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT THREE - Scene One: Krasóyu svoyéyu plení samozvántsa!
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), ACT THREE - Scene One: Plámenem ádskim glazá tvoí zasverkáli (Marina/Rangoni)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), Scene Two (beginning): V pólnoch ... v sadú ... u fontána (Dimitri)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), Scene Two (beginning): Tsaryévich!...Opyát' za mnoy!
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), Scene Two (beginning): Zloy dyémon!
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), Scene Two (beginning): No yésli Dimítry vnushényem bózhyim (Rangoni/Dimitri)
Boris Godunov (1993 Digital Remaster), Scene Two (beginning): Váshey strásti ya ney vyéryu, panye (Marina/Chorus/Dimitri)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A Welcome representation. June 30, 2014 By Joseph  Erdeljac (West Chester, PA) See All My Reviews "Since there is no definitive version of this opera the present recording is a welcome offering to the canon. This one is a compilation of the two versions that Mussorgsky left us and like the other famous recording with Boris Christoff is not 'complete' in a sense. The performance is excellent and the singing is exemplary from the entire cast. Marti Talvela in the title role brings a different kind of 'grace' to the interpretation of Boris but non the less effective. Although the Rimsky-Korsakov version is more dramatic in the effects of the orchestration, this version in many ways shows the intent of the composer. Mussorgsky's originals are in his style and that is really what one wants to hear in the long run." Report Abuse
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