How young we were – Kak molody my byli • Moscow nights – Podmoskovnye vechera • The whisper of birches – Shum berioz • Do not hurry – Ne speshi • Tenderness – Nezhnost’ • Wait for me – Zhdi menia • Three years – Tri goda • Evening song – Vechernaya pesnya • You are my melody – Ty moya melodiya • Moscow windows – Moskovskie okna • There are so many pretty girls – Kak mnogo devushek horoshih • I’m grateful to you – Blagodariu tebia • I love you, life – Ia liubliu tebia, zhizn’ • Evening in the harbor – Vecher na reide • Where does Motherland come from? – S chego nachinaetsia Rodina • Russian field – Russkoe pole • SPECIAL BONUS TRACK: Motherland hears – Rodina slyshit
“Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s ongoing collaboration with Delos has explored many worthwhile sides of the Siberian baritone’s far-reaching musical interests.” Opera News
“The songs tell of lost love, pain, loneliness, longing and distant memory. Hvorostovsky, of course, with that lush, sexy baritone of his, makes those seem totally desirable states.” Daily Australian
In a heartfelt review of “Where Are You, My Brothers – Songs of the War Years” American Record Guide wrote: “I was stirred by these songs, and hope Hvorostovsky and assisting forces are planning a follow-up.”
Indeed we were! And the sequel’s name is “Moscow Nights,” offering the cream of Russian popular songs of the postwar era, in beautiful new arrangements. As they did in “Where Are You, My Brothers,” Dmitri and Constantine approach these songs with the same passion and attention to detail that they give to a classical album. Dmitri’s superlative interpretive skills allow him and his sensitive collaborator to transform the music into a poignant tapestry of what and how the average Russian felt about life and love during the last fateful decades of the Soviet state.
Dmitri, who has become the foremost champion of Russian Soul in song form, says that for this album he and Constantine chose from “the best material throughout the Soviet time. I’m convinced that it has great musical and historical value, as well as wonderful memories for me, from my childhood.”
Constantine describes the “Moscow Nights” program of 17 songs, composed during the post World War II period of the 1950s and 1960s, as “songs the entire nation sang: the Russian equivalent of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow,’ ‘God Bless America,’ and other such American songs loved and sung by everyone over decades.”
Dmitri and Constantine have turned these musical mementos of the past into little works of art, turning the songs into moving musical documents from another time. Anyone who loves popular poetry, richly emotional melodic content and the superlative interpretive skills of Russia’s greatest baritone, will delight in this album.
At the time “Moscow Nights” was released, Delos founder Amelia Haygood wrote the following:
“I’d like to give you a little more background on ‘Moscow Nights,’ since it, like ‘Where Are You, My Brothers‘ is something very unusual for us. As in ‘Where Are You…’ I am once again struck by the moving and thought-provoking lyrics, written by such Russian poets as Yevtushenko, and the remarkable art of the composers who wrote popular songs of that era, with their uniquely Russian gift for bittersweet melody.
“Consider the poignant refrain of How Young We Were: Everything leaves traces on this Earth; and our bygone youth is immortal…(Nikolay Dobronravov). Or the climax of Wait for Me, a song that millions clung to during the war years: They won’t understand, those who didn’t wait… With just your waiting, you will have saved me…(Konstantin Simovov). Or the sentiment of Tenderness, a touching tribute to the first manned space flight: The Earth seems deserted without you… But you—you are flying, and stars are giving you their tenderness… (Dobronravov).
“The CD has a bonus track that will delight Hvorostovsky fans and anyone interested in the mysteries of the human singing voice. A home-made tape recording of 11-year-old Dmitri singing the first verse of the Shostakovich hymn, ‘Motherland Hears,’ morphs at the end of the verse into present-day Dmitri singing the same song.
“A side note about my own first awareness of two of the songs on this album: In an historic moment Van Cliburn played a piano solo version of ‘Moscow Nights’ for Reagan and Gorbachev, both at the Kremlin and at the White House. In perhaps not as historic but still a defining moment, Constantine played a piano solo version of his uncle’s beautiful song ‘The Whisper of Birches’ for me in both Moscow and California long before the birth of the ‘Moscow Nights’ album. In 2005, these two brilliant American artists with strong ties to Russia gave a memorial concert for the children of Beslan in Moscow’s Great Hall: Van Cliburn playing the Tchaikovsky Concerto with Constantine conducting the Moscow Philharmonic.
” ‘Moscow Nights‘ offers the kinds of insights and resonances that have stirred such strong response to ‘Where Are You, My Brothers?’ The albums brought Dmitri and Constantine invitations to perform the repertoire in musical centers around the world throughout 2005 and into 2006, including Theatre Chatelet in Paris, Lincoln Center in New York, Kenne
dy Center in Washington, Los Angeles Opera and the Barbican Theatre in London. They performed much of this repertoire in Moscow’s Red Square in May, 2004, with President Putin in attendance, and to emotional cheering from the live audience of 10,000. The event was telecast live throughout Russia and to 37 countries, including the U.S.”
We are including a musical sample from “Evening Song,” a love song to St. Petersburg and its residents, who were the heroes of the Siege of Leningrad during World War II. Dmitri and Constantine have performed this song for St. Petersburg audiences, in an emotional tribute to the heroes and survivors of the brutal siege.