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Cat. No. CHAN 9906 Price: £5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9906 - Eternity: Western Poets in Russian Music
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Available From: 17 April 2001
Russian scholars of the Soviet period tended to ignore or underplay the fact that the great figures in Russian literature and art of the nineteenth century were invariably conversant in several European languages. 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.

It is hardly surprising therefore that Russian composers 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 the original languages virtually died out. Like so many things in the new Russia, this long-forgotten tradition is being rediscovered, and for this reason in particular the present recital, and its two predecessors, is unique.

The earlier volumes in the series (Dream CHAN 9794]and Romance CHAN 9841) explored the world of youthful love and romantic perception in all their various and captivating guises. In this final collection of Russian songs set to texts by Western poets the focus shifts to another theme so beloved by the Romantic poets: death and immortality.
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 (Dream)

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

‘…this is a fascinating collection, a worthy successor to the first volume… he [Larin] sings with easy fluency and Eleonora Bekova ensures that even the simplest accompaniment never sounds dull.’
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 9841 (Romance)

 

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