Collection: Bolero a Spanish Songbook

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Dargomizhsky,Falla,Glinka,Minkov,Ravel & Granados,Rubinstein,Shostakovich
LABELS: Philips
WORKS: Songs by Shostakovich,Glinka, Dargomizhsky, Falla, Minkov, Rubinstein, Ravel & Granados
PERFORMER: Olga Borodina (mezzo-soprano)Semion Skigin (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 446 708-2

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The attractions of the Russian mezzo’s latest disc – beyond the basic one of a lustrous, fine-grained voice caught in prime condition – reside in its strong and original ‘theme’: the interest perennially shown by non-Iberian composers in Spanish sounds, rhythms and poetic images. In particular, Borodina shines a light on the relatively little-known (at least to Western listeners) but atmospheric, often directly appealing repertory of Spanish songs by historically important Russian composers such as Glinka, Dargomizhsky and Rubinstein. Perhaps the plum of her collection is the cycle, based on traditional melodies and poems (in translation), that Shostakovich put together in 1956 for the mezzo Zara Dolukhanova.

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Lacking the black wit and irony of more characteristic Shostakovich songs, these six possess a gentle eloquence, displayed in countless simple touches of voice-piano interplay, which the singer and her excellent pianist draw out to the full. In the well-known Falla and Granados songs that bulk out Borodina’s selection, one misses the flash of personality and Mediterranean glint in the tone that would make a commensurately idiomatic effect, though her beautifully ample instrument accommodates the runs, flourishes and ornaments with impressive agility. But as a whole, the match of programme interest, artistry and vocal pleasure on the CD is admirably apt. Max Loppert