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Cat. No. CHAN 9841 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9841 - Romance: Western Poets in Russian Music, Vol, 2
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Available From: 19 October 2000
Russian scholars of the Soviet period tended to ignore or underplay the fact that the great figures of Russian Literature and art in the nineteenth century were invariably conversant in several European languages, and that the education they received was broadly based, and almost every well-to-do Russian family had its French governesses, English nannies and German tutors. The use of French – traditionally the language of the Russian court – was widespread among the middle classes, and especially in intellectual circles, from the 1820s onwards. Mussorgsky, for example, spoke impeccable French as a young guardsman during the 1850s. Some composers had foreign ancestry: Rubinstein and Medtner (German), Cui and even Tchaikovsky, whose mother’s maiden name was d’Assier (French). It is hardly surprising, therefore, that they were comfortable in setting texts not just in Russian but in other languages, too.

After the Bolshevik revolution there was a violent reaction against so-called ‘cosmopolitanism’, and using foreign languages was somehow viewed as inherently bourgeois and even decadent. Some of the foreign settings by great national figures like Tchaikovsky survived in Russian translations, but the tradition of singing them in original languages virtually died out. Like so many things in the new Russia, this long-forgotten tradition is being rediscovered, and for this reason the present recital and its predecessor Dream (CHAN 9794) are unique.
Reviews

‘This is the first of what I hope will be several volumes… the recording is well worth having… All are beautifully performed.’
American Record Guide on CHAN 9794 (Volume One)

‘Eleonora Bekova is imaginative here, and shares with Sergej Larin a keen sense for all this music. The tenor’s linguistic skills are put to good use in finding the detail in each song, and he uses his easy tone to produce excellent, loving performances.
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 9794 (Volume One)

‘Eleonora Bekova accompanies sensitively… well sung and recorded.’
Gramophone on CHAN 9794 (Volume One)

‘This is a fascinating collection, a worthy successor to the first volume [CHAN 9794] in a series exploring the offbeat repertoire of German, French and Italian settings by Russian composers’.
BBC Music Magazine

‘Sergej Larin has just the right quality of voice and of manner, and is sensitively supported by Eleonora Bekova… he has a true feeling for the songs, and sings them with an intelligent appreciation of their nature’.
International Record Review

 

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