I met you my love

Dmitri Hvorostovsky

I met you, my love is a collection of Russian romances sung by the incomparable baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, whose career has heretofore been devoted almost exclusively to opera. Mr. Hvorostovsky is accompanied on the recording by the combined Moscow Chamber Orchestra and Russian folk ensemble Style of Five, conducted by Constantine Orbelian. This is Mr. Hvorostovsky’s fourth recording for Delos. “This project is especially dear to our hearts because it brings this unparalleled Russian interpreter back to his roots,” remarked Amelia Haygood, president of Delos. “This is music Dima listened to from the time he was very young, music that is etched on the soul of every Russian, and we felt that his performance of this material would not only bring to light a genre virtually unknown outside Russia, but would show something important about who Dima is as an artist.” 

I met you, my love collects nineteen of what are known as “Old Russian romances” (starinniye russkiye romansy), which are distinguished both from pure folk idioms and from the art songs written in the 19th and 20th centuries by such composers as Glinka and Medtner, also called “romances.” These songs are sung in Russia and throughout the former Soviet Union by people in every social class and age group. Though some of the lyrics were written by writers we would recognize in the West, like Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, Fyodor Tyutchev and Ivan Turgenev, most are of unknown or disputed authorship and seem to have been a part of the fabric of Russian culture for decades. They are well known and much loved by ordinary Russian people, and the Hvorostovsky household was no exception. Dmitri Hvorostovsky heard these songs around the house from the time he was a small child, as they were sung by his father Alexander, or performed on radio and recordings. The stylistic nuances of this repertoire are thus intimately familiar to him and of key importance: “This music is very refined and delicate,” Mr. Hvorostovsky explains. “However, it is often performed in a tasteless, even vulgar manner. To stay on the right track stylistically was the most important task for us.” Mr. Hvorostovsky was joined in the careful pursuit of true Russian style by Constantine Orbelian, the conductor of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and Mr. Hvorostovsky’s partner in two other recordings for Delos (Great Scenes from Queen of Spades, DE 3289; Passione di Napoli, DE 3290). 

“We feel we achieved an ideal balance between the folk elements of this music and its great popular impulse by creating tasteful arrangements for orchestra and inviting a folk ensemble to join us.” says Mr. Orbelian. “Orchestrator Evgeny Stetsyuk did an outstanding job of incorporating such instruments as domra, accordion (bayan), and balalaika into the orchestral texture.” Old Russian romances are emotion-drenched stories of love, passion, separation, melancholy and memory, set against a backdrop of birch trees, vast Russian wheat fields, and galloping troikas. The mood of these songs is heartrending longing, regret over opportunities missed, relationships faded, sunny skies grown cloudy. Mr. Hvorostovsky’s performance of these songs is so utterly convincing that the non-Russian listener gets the message without even looking at the translations of the texts. Mr. Hvorostovsky sums up what this recording has meant for him: “My father has been the strongest influence in my musical life. As far back as I remember, I loved to listen to him sing and play the piano, especially his favorites, the old Russian romances. Recording this program is my tribute to his love and devotion – to music and to me. I dedicate this album to my father, Alexander Hvorostovsky.”

  • I Met You, My Love (Ya fstretil vas) (4:41) 
  • Anonymous – Lyrics by F. Tyutchev No, It’s Not You I Love So Fervently (Net, ne tebia tak pilko ya liubliu) (3:44) 
  • A. Shishkin – Lyrics by M. Lermontov Only Once (Tol’ko raz) (3:48) 
  • P. German – Lyrics by B. Fomin Bright Is the Night (Noch svetla) (3:11) 
  • N. Shishkin – Lyrics by N. Shishkin I Remember the Charming Sound of the Waltz (Ya pomniu val’sa zvuk prelestniy) (2:37) 
  • N. Listov – Lyrics by A. Tolstoy O, If Only I Could Express in Sounds (O, yesli b mog virazit’ v zvuke) (2:30) 
  • L. Malashkin – Lyrics by G. Lishin Do Not Awaken Memories (Ne probuzhday vospominaniy) (4:39) 
  • P. Bulakhov – Lyrics by N. N. The Coachman’s Song (Pesn’ yamshchika) (2:35) 
  • A. Gurilyov – Lyrics by K. Bakhturin In the Wide Open Field (V pole shirokom) (2:53) 
  • P. Bulakhov – Lyrics by L. Mey The Lonely Coach Bell Rings (Odnozvuchno gremit kolokol’chik) (3:16) 
  • A. Gurilyov – Lyrics by I. Makarov Misty Morning (Utro tumannoye) (3:33) 
  • V. Abaz – Lyrics by I. Turgenev But I Love You, Nevertheless (No ya Vas fsio-taki liubliu) (2:10) 
  • Anonymous – Lyrics by N. Lensky The Troika Speeds, the Troika Gallops (Troyka mchitsa, troyka skachet) (3:14) 
  • P. Bulakhov – Lyrics by A. Viazemsky The Autumn Wind Moans Mournfully (Zhalobno stonet veter osenniy) (2:17) 
  • Mikhaylov – Lyrics by Pugachov At That Fateful Hour (V chas rokovoy) (2:57) 
  • Anonymous – Anonymous lyrics I Loved You (Ya Vas liubil) (2:47) 
  • B. Sheremetev – Lyrics by A. Pushkin The Weeping Willows Slumber (Dremliut plakuchiye ivi) (2:33) 
  • B. B. – Lyrics by A. Timofeyev You Cannot Understand (Vam ne poniat’) (4:07) 
  • A. Gurilyov – Anonymous lyrics Shine, Shine, My Star (Gori, gori, moya zvezda) (4:01) 
  • P. Bulakhov – Lyrics by V. Chuyevsky 
All arrangements by Evgeny Stetsyuk