Hvorostovsky’s voice is perfectly weighted and his artistry honed by long experience sufficient to give these songs his finest interpretation.
Now in his fiftieth year, Dmitri Hvorostovsky has been singing internationally for almost a quarter of a century. It would be reasonable to expect some small signs of wear in his vibrant baritone. There is perhaps now a trace of roughness where before all was smooth, uninterrupted tone and the top can become decidedly a little rocky when he leans into the note but all in all his baritone remains in remarkably fine shape. The bottom notes are dark and resonant, the middle only a little grainy when he sings mezza voce (as at the end of no.5) and the top G’s continue to ring outRead more thrillingly with only a hint of a flap. Any signs of stress are, in any case, hardly inappropriate in music as desperately passionate as this.
Perhaps it is too much to listen to the whole programme at one sitting, given that the preponderance of the music is so melancholy and soul-sifting in that famous Russian idiom. I don’t say that there is a lack of variety in the programme, especially when both singer and pianist interpret with such commitment and passion. Rachmaninov’s melodic gifts are in such evidence but over an hour of such intensity can be wearing. My favourite items so far are the mounting ecstasy of the second song, “Do you remember, the evening?”, the haunting “She is as beautiful as the moon”, opening with strummed arpeggios reminiscent of Schubert’s “Dioskuren” and continuing with melismata in a distinctly Polovtsian minor mode, and “In the silence of the mysterious night” climaxing with a magnificent G-flat and a long-breathed piano D to conclude. I also love the dignified restraint of no.6, so Russian with its rolling underlay and punctuating chords, building to a great cry of pain.
This is Hvorostovsky’s first recording on the Finnish Ondine label, with whom he has signed a long-term contract. Although he has recorded some of these songs before, his voice is now perfectly weighted and his artistry honed by long experience sufficient to give them his finest interpretation. It helps to have a native speaker intone texts by some of Russia’s greatest 19th century Romantic poets.
The recording is perfect; there is a lovely balance between the singing tone of the piano and the singer’s sonorous baritone. Estonian pianist Ivari Ilja is Hvorostovsky’s regular accompanist and plays wonderfully, with agogic freedom, shaded nuance and great variety of colour.
15 Songs, Op. 26 (text by T. Shevchenko): 15 Songs, Op. 26: No. 9. Ya opyat' odinok (Once again, I am alone)
U vrat obiteli svyatoy (At the Gates of the Holy Abode): U vrat obiteli svyatoy (At the gates of the holy cloister)
15 Songs, Op. 26 (text by D.S. Merezhkovsky): 15 Songs, Op. 26: No. 6. Khristos voskres (Christ is risen!)
Average Customer Review: ( 2 Customer Reviews )
ListenJune 16, 2012By N See All My Reviews"With no musical background whatsoever, I have learned that if D Hvorostovsky has recorded it, all should buy it and listen. You will not be disappointed. I have been watching and listening since his first video appeared on the internet."Report Abuse
The ideal match: Rachmaninov- Hvorostovsky April 3, 2012By P. TOSCANI (Lake Ariel, PA)See All My Reviews"I am not a music critic, but a soprano, voice teacher and lover of voices that possess not only an intrinsic beauty enhanced by a high degree of technique, but the rare breed capable of surrendering to the essence of the text and music with complete trust, without any manipulation or calculation. I think that Mr Hvorostovsky is one of those singers, whose performances grace the listener with infinite variety of colors, dynamics and moods, because he immerses himself totally into the soul of his native Russia with unmitigated passion, carried on the wings of consistently gorgeous tones.I just received this CD and it will be a long time before I can remove it from my HiFi set!"Report Abuse