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Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov / Dobrowen, Christoff, Gedda, Etc


Release Date: 03/25/2003 
Label:  Pearl   Catalog #: 188   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Modest MussorgskyPeter Ilyich TchaikovskyNikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Eugené BousquetW. PasternakStanislav PieczoraAndré Bielecki,   ... 
Conductor:  Issay DobrowenWilhelm Schüchter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio OrchestraRussian Metropolitan Church Choir ParisPhilharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 3 Hours 27 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This 1952 recording was the first of two in which bass Boris Christoff sang the roles of Boris, Varlaam, and Pimen, something that only could be managed on recordings, since Boris meets Pimen in the last act. Christoff's voice and temperament were unique and unforgettable, and so one of the ways in which he differentiates the characters is to perform Pimen's music at an almost consistent whisper. It works, and it's very beautiful to boot. Varlaam, on the other hand, still sounds like Boris, just wackier. Whatever. Anyone who doesn't own a Boris Christoff performance of Boris Godunov has a hole in his/her collection.

This production omits the St Basil Scene, but the Kromy Forest scene is complete. Part of Pimen's monastery
Read more monolog is cut and the second part of the Polish act is omitted as well. This last is regrettable, since it makes us miss much of the role of Rangoni, atmospherically sung here by Kim Borg. Eugenia Zareska sings Marina lustily (she also sings Feodor and sounds entirely different), and her duet with the young Nicolai Gedda as the false Dmitri is the best on discs. In fact Gedda is remarkable throughout. There's not a weak link in the cast, and Issay Dobrowen's leadership is very exciting.


Precisely where they got the nasty cacophony of bells in the Coronation Scene is a mystery, and it's a pity they aren't recorded better--it's a wonderful racket. In general the recording is poor--blaring and unappealing--but Christoff's Boris is so towering that I'd recommend listening through mud to experience it. The Clock Scene is as terrifying as the Death Scene is tragic. The bonus songs are well done and have not appeared on CD before.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Boris Godunov by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Eugené Bousquet (Bass), W. Pasternak (Tenor), Stanislav Pieczora (Bass),
André Bielecki (Tenor), G. Ustinov (), Raymond Bonte (Tenor),
Ludmila Lebedeva (Soprano), Kim Borg (Bass Baritone), L. Romanova (Mezzo Soprano),
Eugenia Zareska (Soprano), Nicolai Gedda (Tenor), Boris Christoff (Bass)
Conductor:  Issay Dobrowen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra,  Russian Metropolitan Church Choir Paris
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 1952 
Language: Russian 
Notes: Composition written: Russia (1868 - 1872). 
2. Songs and dances of death: no 3, Trepak by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Boris Christoff (Bass), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875; Russia 
Date of Recording: 12/04/1949 
Language: Russian 
3. Songs and dances of death: no 4, The field-marshal by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Boris Christoff (Bass), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; Russia 
Date of Recording: 12/04/1949 
Language: Russian 
4. Songs (7), Op. 47: no 5, I bless you, forests "Pilgrim's Song" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Boris Christoff (Bass), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Date of Recording: 05/16/1950 
Language: Russian 
5. Songs (2), Op. 49: no 2, The prophet by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Boris Christoff (Bass)
Conductor:  Wilhelm Schüchter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Russia 
Date of Recording: 03/19/1952 
Language: Russian 

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