ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Russian Songs
WORKS: Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Glinka, Rubinstein, Dargomizhsky, trad.
PERFORMER: Nicolai Ghiaurov (bass)Zlatina Ghiaurov (piano)Kaval Orchestra & Chorus/ Atanas Margaritov
CATALOGUE NO: 443 024-2 ADD (1971/74)
Nicolai Ghiaurov has a monumental bass voice of incredible depth and robustness brilliantly suited to many of the stalwart roles of the Russian operatic repertory. It doesn’t, however, make him an ideal interpreter of the subtler romansi, as this disappointing recital of songs by Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Glinka, Rubinstein and Dargomizhsky makes plain. Though there is charm in the way he vies with his exuberant accompanist, Zlatina Ghiaurov, his manner is ultimately too coarse to do the pieces justice. The second disc in the set consists of popular Russian folksongs – ‘The Volga Boatmen’, ‘Dark Eyes’, ‘Stenka Razin’, and so on – that have undergone arrangements of epic ghastliness, with tinkling balalaikas and celestial choirs. Kitsch would be too kind an adjective. Claire Wrathall