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Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky / Galina Vishnevskaya


Release Date: 10/07/2003 
Label:  Emi Great Recordings Of The Century Catalog #: 62654   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Modest MussorgskyNikolai Rimsky-KorsakovPeter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Galina VishnevskayaMstislav Rostropovich
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Vishnevskaya’s art is quite exceptionally imaginative and magnetic. In vividness and subtlety she achieves a special kind of greatness.

Culled from three vintage recitals, these groups of songs show Galina Vishnevskaya, if not in her prime, certainly still in highly characteristic form. The Songs and Dances of Death suited her splendidly when she recorded them in 1977. Shostakovich's perceptive orchestrations were dedicated to her and she first sang them in 1962; alas that she did not record them then. But here she could still freeze the blood, with a sudden blanching of tone or the deliberate suggestion of a rasp, as well as through that strong instinct for the weight and rhythm of a phrase which she shared with
Read more Rostropovich in this sombre, thrilling music. The 'Trepak' is as haunting as anything she has done; 'The Field-marshal' is as powerful as it ever can be when not sung by a bass.

Instead of the original selection of arias by Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky, the record is now filled with their songs. The Tchaikovsky group is uneven. Vishnevskaya can seem too operatic for the nature of some of them, but the best of the original recital have been chosen, including 'Was I not a little blade of grass?', with its mood of gentle regret, and the darker 'Again, as before, alone'. Some of the Rimsky-Korsakov can sound vocally uneven, less successful as she indulges her powerful low register, but there are songs, such as 'In the silence of the night', which are beautifully done. Despite the unevenness, and recordings that variously show their age, this is a representative record of a truly remarkable artist.

-- John Warrack, Gramophone [Awards 2003]



This is the first recording of the Songs and Dances of Death in Shostakovich's orchestration. Completed in 1962, they were dedicated to Vishnevskaya who gave their first performance. Her voice was then 15 years younger, and in some ways it is a pity they were not recorded at that time, for she is now a very uneven vocalist, often unsteady and hard-toned in loud, high passages, particularly if they are also fast. But as in some previous albums of Russian song, Vishnevskaya's art is quite exceptionally imaginative and magnetic. One is drawn to the songs. Instead of sitting among the audience, one is there beside the storyteller. Comparison with Irina Arkhipova's recording (with piano accompaniment, made originally in 1971 but issued here five years later) makes the point perfectly clear. Arkhipova was in magnificent voice. Her tough, steely tone is appropriate to the hardness of death, she interprets well, and as sheer singing the performances are quite unchallenged by the new recording. But in vividness and subtlety Vishnevskaya achieves a special kind of greatness. Now the child moans, the voice is dimlit for the single candle in the dark room, the mother and the stranger hold a dialogue in which the voices are clearly differentiated, the last hushabye ends with a grim flick of the voice as the little life goes out. And just as Vishnevskaya's art gives such immediacy to this, so do Shostakovich's orchestrations give colour to the black and white of the piano accompaniment. Now, in the second song, the night is captured in sound, and Death serenades with the grim effrontery of plucked strings and brass. In "Trepak", the third song, Vishnevskaya chills the blood as Chaliapin used to do with the appearance of Death—"Glyad, tak i yest" ("Look, there he is"). And in the last of them, the battle rages as it can hardly do on the piano, the quietness comes with more sense of terrible space, while the still more terrible drum sounds out as the Field-Marshal takes his rollcall. This is the version memory will retain. The second side opens with the Lullaby from Sadko, a lovely, haunting melody, beautifully accompanied and recorded as throughout the recital, and often well sung. But anybody with old records of these solos by Nina Koshetz, Nezhdanova and Alma Gluck will be hearing in their minds a purity of tone which their ears are missing; and I think that they will not want to sample the gusty vivacity of the final item much more than once.

-- Gramophone [2/1978]
reviewing this album on LP
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Works on This Recording

1. Songs and dances of death by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano)
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875-1877; Russia 
Language: Russian 
Notes: Arranged: Shostakovich 
2. Hopak by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich (Piano), Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866/1868; Russia 
Language: Russian 
3. Savichna by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano), Mstislav Rostropovich (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Language: Russian 
4. Lullaby by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano), Mstislav Rostropovich (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Russia 
Language: Russian 
5. Songs (4), Op. 2: no 2, Enslaved by the rose, the nightingale by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich (Piano), Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; Russia 
Language: Russian 
6. Songs (4), Op. 42: no 3, The clouds begin to scatter by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich (Piano), Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Russia 
Language: Russian 
7. In spring, Op. 43: no 1, The lark sings louder by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich (Piano), Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Russia 
Language: Russian 
8. Songs (7), Op. 47: no 7, Was I not a little blade of grass? by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich (Piano), Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Russia 
Language: Russian 
9. Songs (6), Op. 16: no 1, Cradle song by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich (Piano), Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Language: Russian 
10. Songs (6), Op. 6: no 5, Why? by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich (Piano), Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869; Russia 
Language: Russian 
11. Songs (6), Op. 38: no 3, Amid the din of the ball by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich (Piano), Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Russia 
Language: Russian 
12. Songs (6), Op. 73: no 6, Again, as before, alone by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich (Piano), Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
Language: Russian 
13. Sadko: no 7, Sleep went along the river "Berceuse" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano)
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1896; Russia 
Language: Russian 
14. Tsar's Bride: Marfa's Scene and Aria by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano)
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; Russia 
Language: Russian 
15. Tsar's Bride: You will pay "Lyubasha's Aria" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano)
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; Russia 
Language: Russian 
16. Snow Maiden, Op. 12: As the trees in the forest rustle by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano)
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; Russia 
Language: Russian 

Sound Samples

Gopak (2003 Digital Remaster)
Lullaby (Sleep, sleep, peasant son) (2003 Digital Remaster)
Darling Savishna (2003 Digital Remaster)
Songs and Dances of Death (orch.Dmitri Shostakovich) (2003 Digital Remaster): Lullaby (Lento doloroso)
Songs and Dances of Death (orch.Dmitri Shostakovich) (2003 Digital Remaster): Serenade (Moderato)
Songs and Dances of Death (orch.Dmitri Shostakovich) (2003 Digital Remaster): Trepak (Lento assai. Tranquillo)
Songs and Dances of Death (orch.Dmitri Shostakovich) (2003 Digital Remaster): The Field-Marshal (Vivo - alla guerra)
4 Songs Op. 2 (2003 Digital Remaster): The rose and the nightingale Op. 2 No. 2 (Kol'tsov)
4 Songs Op. 42 (2003 Digital Remaster): The heavy clouds disperse Op. 42 No. 3 (Pushkin)
In spring Op. 43 (2003 Digital Remaster): More sonorous than the lark's singing Op. 43 No. 1 (Tolstoy)
Sadko (2003 Digital Remaster): Lullaby of the Sea Princess (Act 2)
The Tsar`s Bride (2003 Digital Remaster): Martha`s Scene & Aria (Act 2)
The Tsar`s Bride (2003 Digital Remaster): Lyubasha`s Aria (Act 2)
The Snow Maiden - Incidental Music Op. 12 (2003 Digital Remaster): Lehl's First Song
7 Songs Op. 47 (2003 Digital Remaster): Was I not a little blade of grass? Op. 47 No. 7 (Surikov)
6 Songs Op. 16 (2003 Digital Remaster): Cradle song Op. 16 No. 1 (Maykov)
6 Songs Op. 6 (2003 Digital Remaster): Why? Op. 6 No. 5 (Heine transl. Mey)
6 Songs Op. 38 (2003 Digital Remaster): Amid the din of the ball Op. 38 No. 3 (Tolstoy)
6 Songs Op. 73 (2003 Digital Remaster): Again, as before, alone, Op. 73 No. 6 (Rathaus)

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