To wrap up the past year, we want to focus on our fantastic releases, and perhaps remind you a few you’ve forgotten!
One of the 21st century’s great Verdi singers’ long-awaited debut album:
RADVANOVSKY SINGS VERDI
“a true Verdian, with a big, juicy, vibrato-rich sound” London Times
“today’s most exciting Verdian spinto” Opera Canada
“the Leonora of our time” San Francisco Sentinel
Il Trovatore: “Tacea la notte” • “D’amor sull’ali rosee” • Un ballo in Maschera: “Ecco l’orrido campo… Ma dall’arido stelo divulsa” • Il Corsaro: “Non so le tetre immagini” • La Forza del destino: “Pace, pace, mio Dio!” • “La vergine degli Angeli” • Ernani: “Ernani, Ernani involami” • Aida: “O patria mia” • I vespri siciliani: “Arrigo! Ah, parli a un cor” • “Bolero”
Sondra Radvanovsky has been hailed as one of the great Verdi singers of the new generation, and this magnificent debut album from the American soprano demonstrates what all of the excitement is about. As George Loomis puts it, “At a time when genuine Verdi sopranos seem rarer than heldentenors, Sondra Radvanovsky is cause for joy. Her brightly lustrous voice of generous proportion can amply fill out Verdi’s arching phrases and is backed by an interpretive flair that brings the composer’s heroines to life.”
Sondra has been called “the ‘Leonora’ of our time” (San Francisco Sentinel), “today’s most exciting Verdian spinto” (Opera Canada), and “a true Verdian, with a big, juicy, vibrato-rich sound” (London Times). “The evening’s stand-out performance came from Sondra Radvanovsky, an impassioned, big-voiced Leonora,” wrote Edward Seckerson in London’s The Independent. “Firstly, it’s a real Verdi colour, plangent, open, with bags of reach. But she’s not all about big notes, this singer (though heaven knows she has them); her way with Verdi’s expressively
exacting hairpin dynamics was arresting and affecting in both her big arias.”
Sondra has sung in every major opera house in the world including Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Vienna State Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, and numerous others. Her home is the Metropolitan Opera, where she has recently sung Stiffelio with Domingo conducting. She sings together with Dmitri Hvorostovsky in “Verdi Opera Scenes,” a Delos release slated for February 2011.
NPR Classical names “Verdi Arias” the #2 ALBUM OF THE YEAR!
Rachmaninoff: Six morceaux Op.11 – Barcarolle / Scherzo / Thème russe / Valse / Romance / Slava!
Ravel: Rapsodie espagnole – Prélude â la nuit / Malagueña / Habanera / Feria
Debussy: Petite Suite – En bateau / Cortège / Menuet / Ballet
Ravel: Ma mère l’oye – Pavane de la Belle au bois dormant / Petit poucet / Laideronnette impératrice des Pagode/ Les Entretiens de la Belle et de la Bête / Le jardin féerique
iDuo came into being in 2007, when the brilliant young pianists Andrey Gugnin and Vadym Kholodenko combined their skills as soloists to form a vibrant new piano duo. In their very first year of concert appearances, touring Russia and Italy, iDuo was praised for stunning performances, and was a prizewinner in the 2008 San Marino competition.
Listening to Andrey and Vadym reminds us that the great Russian tradition in piano playing is very much alive and well. Both international competition winners since childhood, they play as if this music were a discovery, as if it had been written yesterday, ripe for a fresh vision. They make four hands at one piano sound like wonderful fun. Their zest and vigor, always balanced by fine nuance, is contagious.
The rarely-heard Rachmaninoff Op. 11 Suite is captivating in iDuo’s hands, as is Debussy’s well-loved “Petite Suite.” Ravel’s “Rapsodie Espagnole” is colorful and exciting, and the “Mother Goose” Suite works its magic with deceptive simplicity. As Andrei and Vadym write to their listeners in a brief introduction, “Have a good time!”
Arax Davtian, soprano
Vladimir Yurigin-Klevke, piano
DRD 2007 (DDD)
GLINKA: Alla Cetra (K Tsytre) • I Recall a Wonderful Moment (Ya Pomnyu Chudnaye Mgnavenye) • The Blue Waves Are Asleep (Usnuli Golubye) • How Sweet It Is To Be With You (Kak Slatko S Taboyu Mne Byt) • Tell Me Why (Skazhi, Zachem…) • The Fair Maiden Is Miserable (Gorko, Gorko Mnye, Krasnoi Devitse)
DARGOMYZHSKIY: The Sierra-Nevada Is Covered With Fog (Adelas Tumanami Sierra-Nevada) • The Garden (Vertograt) • Sixteen Years (Shesnatsat Lyet) • The Clouds In The Sky (Tuchki Nebesnye) • The Youth And The Maiden (Yunoshu, Gorko Rydaya)
TCHAIKOVSKY: That Was In Early Spring (To Bylo Ranneyu Vesnoi) Op. 38, No. 2 • Amidst the Bustling Party (Sred Shumnova Bala) Op. 38, No. 3 • Not A Word, Oh My Friend (Ni Slova, O Druk Moi) Op. 6, No 2 • In A Single Word (Khatel By V Yedinaye
Slovo) • Again Like Before (Snova, Kak Prezhde…)
RACHMANINOFF: Don’t Sing to Me, Fair Maiden (Ne Poi, Krasavitsa) Op. 4, No. 4 • The Lilac (Siren) Op. 21, No. 5 • An Excerpt From A. Musset (Atryvok Iz A. Musse) Op. 21, No. 6 • Rat-Catcher (Krysalof) Op. 38, No. 4 • Daisies (Margaritki) Op. 38, No. 3 • Spring Waters (Vesenniye Vody) Op. 14, No. 11
“one of the most beautiful, honest and touching recordings of these Russian musical gems” – Constantine Orbelian
Arax Davtian (1949-2010), People’s Artist of Armenia, was often called Armenia’s greatest soprano. She recorded this beautiful album in 1994, in her prime, at the urging of Constantine Orbelian, who conducted many performances and tours featuring Arax with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. Constantine writes in his memorial tribute to Arax that when he first heard her sing he was taken with “her crystal clear voice, pinpoint intonation, beautiful phrasing and line,” and goes on to say that “Arax was blessed with the rarest of all gifts: truth and sincerity in art.”
This choice collection of Russian musical gems was originally released on the Russian Disc label. Those of us at Delos who were privileged to hear Arax in performance dedicate this reissue to the memory of a great artist and a delightful personality.
Arax began her musical life as a pianist, and rose to international prominence as a singer in 1984, when she won the Viotti Competition in Italy, and was invited to the Bolshoi to sing Violetta. She became an international sensation in her tours of Europe and the US with the Moscow Virtuosi under Vladimir Spivakov, and sang with an impressive array of prestigious conductors and orchestras of Europe.
Vladimir Yurigin-Klevke is one of the leading pianist/chamber musician/accompanist figures in Moscow. His solo album of 20th Century Russian piano music (Gubaidulina, Pärt, Shostakovich, Shchedrin and Karayev, originally on Russian Disc) is scheduled as a Delos re-release in early 2011 (DRD 2008).
A letter from Constantine Orbelian:
“I met the late great Arax Davtian 22 years ago in the provincial French town of Tours. She was performing with my friend and colleague Vladimir Spivakov and his “Moscow Virtuosi” Chamber Orchestra. I was completely taken with Arax’s crystal clear voice, pinpoint intonation, beautiful phrasing and line, and captivating dedication to Mozart’s glorious Motet “Exsultate Jubilate.” Not only was this my introduction to Arax as a singer; it was my introduction to Arax the warm, wonderful person — the radiant and bubbly personality and superb artist — with whom I was lucky enough to perform over 250 concerts in the course of the next 20 years. In fact, when I was appointed Music Director of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra in 1991, I asked Arax to be the soloist in my very first concert at the famed Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Our tours and concerts took us from a first concert in the US on May 9th 1995 — to commemorate the founding of the United Nations in San Francisco — to Japan, South Africa, South America and of course throughout Europe.
Arax was blessed with the rarest of all gifts: truth and sincerity in art. Arax had her own truth and her own personal interpretations of the works of Mozart, Vivaldi, Pergolesi, Verdi, Puccini and of course the compositions of her native Armenian composers: Komitas, Sayat Nova, Babadzhanian, Mirzoyan and Arutiunian. Unfortunately, none of this repertoire was recorded or released; and sadly now it never will be, in Arax’s indelible interpretations. Luck had it, though, that back in the mid-1990s, I was able to produce the recording you are about to hear. As we all know, remark
able achievements require a substantial struggle and great perseverance. With Arax living in Armenia and the wonderful pianist Vladimir Klevke living in Moscow, we had to coordinate and set aside a few weeks of “down time” for her to come to Moscow and rehearse, prepare and record what I believe to be one of the most beautiful, honest and touching recordings of these Russian musical gems.
Ironically, one of Arax’s favorite encores in our concerts was the Angel’s aria from Mozart’s “Grabmusik.” Arax was an Angel then, and she is surely an Angel now.”
Joshua Smith, flute
Jory Vinikour, harpsichord
Ann Marie Morgan, baroque cello
Allison Guest Edberg, baroque violin
Sonata in E Minor, BWV 1034:
I. Adagio ma non tanto • II. Allegro • III. Andante • IV. Allegro
Sonata in C Major, BWV 1033:
I. Andante • II. Allegro • III. Adagio • IV. Menuets 1 & 2
Sonata in E Major, BWV 1035:
I. Adagio ma non tanto • II. Allegro • III. Siciliana • IV. Allegro assai
“Flute phenomenon” Joshua Smith’s first disc of Bach Flute Sonatas with harpsichordist Jory Vinikour was hailed as “virtuosic and lyrical” by Audiophilia and “superb” by The New Yorker (DE 3402). “A fabulous recording. Run, don’t walk, to get a copy,” wrote Pan, The Flute Magazine.
Josh and Jory’s second Bach program is as inspiring as their first. Here, they are joined by Ann Marie Morgan and Allison Edberg in illuminating and wholly engaging performances. As James A.Winn writes in the informative booklet notes:
“Sensitive performances like those offered here by Joshua Smith and his colleagues should help listeners, flutists, and scholars become more aware of the many styles in which Bach made himself at home. Because later composers for the flute have so often taken their inspiration from the eighteenth-century master, the range and variety of the flute literature as a whole owes a great debt to the range and variety of Johann Sebastian Bach.”
The profound level of musical communication here, as in the first album, is suggested by a revealing quote from Josh in the booklet notes:
“Using deep symmetries of structure, expressive rhetorical gestures, and daring manipulations of tonality, Bach strove to render the human experience in sound. He did so fervently and with grace, creating an art that impresses us with its great form, rhythmic scope, gesture, and color. At the deepest level, his music speaks to us because it holds out the alchemical promise that we can transform all of these devices into inspiration in our imaginations.”
Dmitri Hvorostovsky, baritone
Ivari Ilja, piano
Romances based on poems by Alexander Pushkin
Borodin, Cui, Glinka, Dargomyzhskiy, Medtner, Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov, Sviridov, Tchaikovsky, Vlasov
GLINKA: I Recall a Wonderful Moment Ja pomnu chudnoe mgnovenie… • Declaration Priznanie • The Fire of Longing Burns in My Heart V krovi gorit ogon zhelania • The Night Zephyr Nochnoi Zefir • DARGOMYZHSKIY: The Youth and the Maiden Yunosha i deva • BORODIN: For the Shores of Thy Far Native Land Dla beregov otchizny dalnei • RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: The Clouds Begin to Scatter Redeet oblakov, Op. 42 No. 3 • On the Hills of Georgia Na kholmax Gruzii lezhit nochnaja mgla, Op. 3, No. 4 • CUI: The Statue at Tsarskoye Selo Carskosel’skaja statuja, Op. 57 No. 17 • I loved you Ya vas ljubil • MEDTNER: Gone Are my Heart’s Desires Ya perezhil svoi zhelania, Op. 3, No. 2 • Winter Evening (The Snowstorm Covers the Sky with Darkness) Zimnii vecher (Buria Mglou n
ebo kroet), Op. 13, No. 1 • To a Dreamer Mechtatelu • VLASOV: To the Fountain of Bakhchisarai Palace Fontanu Bakhchisarajsogo dvortsa • TCHAIKOVSKY: Nightingale Solovei, Op. 60, No. 4 • RACHMANINOV: Don’t Sing To Me, Fair Maiden Ne poi, krasavitsa, pri mne, Op. 4 No. 4 • SVIRIDOV: The Crimson Forest Sheds its Attire Roniayet les bagrianiy svoi ubor
Operatic superstar Dmitri Hvorostovsky has become the supreme interpreter of the Russian Romance, with its rich resource of music and poetry.
“The sheer beauty of Hvorostovsky’s voice approaches legendary status” San Francisco Examiner • “…some of the most beautiful and eloquent sounds that can currently be heard from any human throat… His voice is redolent of luxury: beautiful tone, pinpoint intonation, elegant, and impassioned delivery.” The New York Times
This album offers seventeen songs, or “romances,” all composed to texts from works of Alexander Pushkin, Russia’s greatest poet. The composers represented here have helped define the true meaning of the Russian Romance, and have created some of the world’s greatest song literature. Choosing only romances inspired by Pushkin texts, Hvorostovsky has upped the ante to make a musical statement no other singer has attempted.
Here are some comments from the album notes by Maya Pritsker:
This disc presents an almost chronological, though far from exhaustive, survey of songs written by Russian composers of the 19th and 20th centuries on Alexander Pushkin’s verses.
Pushkin’s poetry, with its fleeting rhythms, unique musicality, picturesque scenes, emotional complexity and, most importantly, its perfect pitch for the Russian spoken language, was an ideal source for the Russian romance (the Russian equivalent of the German Lied). It is impossible to find a Russian composer who has not set Pushkin’s poems to music. Some of these poems inspired numerous musical interpretations.
Pushkin’s gracious, beautifully (and seemingly effortlessly) crafted and deeply human verses became imprinted in the memory and minds of millions of Russians, in many ways forming the consciousness and the soul of the nation.