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Mussorgsky: Songs And Dances Of Death / Lipovsek, Johnson


Release Date: 07/16/1996 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 66858   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Marjana LipovsekGraham Johnson
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Unusually subtle performances. Johnson and Lipovsek are freer with rubato than most and, aided by an atmospheric recording, make use of half-lights in their coloring of the music.

With the exception of The Nursery, Mussorgsky's songs have traditionally been the province of male singers. The dark and uncompromising subject matter of his other cycles would seem to call for equally dark-voiced singers and it is no surprise that the major sets of his songs to date have come from a pair of implacable basses, Boris Christoff (EMI, 8/89) and Aage Haugland (Chandos, 4/95). The women, however, are starting to make their mark. Last year Eva Podles offered a recital disc that included The Nursery and the Songs and Dances of Death
Read more and now Marjana Lipovsek has recorded all three of the cycles, making a substantial addition to the handful of Mussorgsky recordings by female voices that we have already.

This new disc offers the best-known songs in unusually subtle performances, mainly thanks to the influence of the accompanist, Graham Johnson. He and Lipovsek are freer with rubato than most of their rivals and, aided by an atmospheric recording, regularly make use of half-lights in their colouring of the music. Lipovsek's mezzo is also richer and steadier than most of the Russian female voices heard in this repertoire in the past. For The Nursery she lightens her tone very effectively, taking the songs in higher keys than other mezzos. A comparison with Margaret Price's recording, reissued last year as part of a two-disc set, shows two singers at opposite extremes: Price is clear-toned and rhythmically exact, Lipovsek affectionate and flexible. Price sees the songs through the eyes of a naughty little brat who is rebelling against a strict nurse, whereas Lipovsek's child sounds quite a bit younger, a wide-eyed infant, who gets quite tearful when he is told off.

-- Gramophone [9/1996]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Songs and dances of death by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Marjana Lipovsek (Mezzo Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875-1877; Russia 
Language: Russian 
2.
The nursery by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Graham Johnson (Piano), Marjana Lipovsek (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1872; Russia 
Language: Russian 
3.
Sunless by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Marjana Lipovsek (Mezzo Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Russia 
Language: Russian 
4.
Hebrew song by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Marjana Lipovsek (Mezzo Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; Russia 
Language: Russian 
5.
Mephistopheles' song of the flea by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Graham Johnson (Piano), Marjana Lipovsek (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; Russia 
Language: Russian 
6.
Hopak by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Graham Johnson (Piano), Marjana Lipovsek (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866/1868; Russia 
Language: Russian 

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