An indelible impression
Ewa Podles sings
Russian songs and arias -
'... incredibly well done ...'
On this Delos compact disc, Ewa Podles sings Russian songs and arias accompanied
by the Philharmonia of Russia under the leadership of its founding music
director, Constantine Orbellian. The sound is generally excellent, with both
voice and instruments coming through very clearly, but in some places the voice
is very much in front of the orchestra allowing for little blending.
The first selection is 'Konchakovna's Cavatina' from Alexander Borodin's
Prince Igor, an opera based on a twelfth century epic. The story tells about
Igor of Seversk, now the Ukraine, who leads his army against the nomadic Polovtsi,
a people of Turkish origin who have been raiding southern Russia.
Because Konchakovna is the daughter of the Polovtsian leader her music is tinged
with Turkish melismas. While she awaits her lover, Vladimir, the son of Igor, Podles'
character sings soothingly of the beauty of the sunset, gradually rising to full vocal
power as she anticipates the coming night of passion.
Only at the midpoint, when she calls out to her lover and there is no answer,
does her voice take on a slight edge and with it a note of vulnerability. By the end
of the piece Konchakovna is again sure of her tryst and Podles' voice is a balm on the
ears as she sings of the lovely night, reaching down into the dark velvet tones of
her lower register to announce that the hour of her lover's coming is near.
The music for the cantata Alexander Nevsky was taken from Sergei Prokofiev's
score for a movie of the same name which won him popular acclaim but displeased
the Soviet government. Set in the thirteenth century, the cantata tells of Russian
defenders fighting off Teutonic invaders.
'The Young Maiden's Song' describes the musings of a girl walking among the
corpses lying on a battle field. Podles handles this emotional situation with
great vocal intensity and gives a spirited interpretation to the words of this
young woman who announces her decision to marry a man of courage and valor rather
than one who is merely handsome.
Copyright © 22 June 2003
Maria Nockin, Arizona, USA