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An indelible impression

Ewa Podles sings
Russian songs and arias -
appreciated by

'... incredibly well done ...'

Ewa Podles - Russian Arias. © 2002 Delos International

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.

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Copyright © 22 June 2003 Maria Nockin, Arizona, USA


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