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<<  -- 3 --  Howard Smith    HEIGHTENED INTIMACY


The middle of the 19th century was marked by a further flowering of musical life in Russia: new forms of concert activity emerged and a Russian musical society was founded (1859). It arranged cycles of symphony and chamber concerts. Brothers Anton and Nicolai Rubinstein established the Conservatoires in Moscow and Petersburg. The focus of musical life was 'Moguchaya Kuchka' -- a group of young composers having radical views. They supported the ideas of the national character of culture, the ideas of artistic truth and the ideas of service to society. Mily Balakirev, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Modeste Mussorgsky and Alexander Borodin were among them.

Following the opening, ruminative calm of Dubuque's opening Do not chide me, dearest mother, (one of four items from his pen); Tchaikovsky's Amid the din of the ball where cheer is masked by confusion; Glinka's aching presentiment Will I forget?; it's not until Varlamov's O Never speak of it my love that the melancholy is marginally dispelled.

Ivanov-Kramskoy's guitar works, beginning with his Sad Mood are faultlessly accomplished and, in the event, every bit as idiomatic and affecting as standards by the great Spanish masters.

Listen to Urb's subtlety of phrasing in Paskhalov's, Do not ask of me and in the slight Bulakhov gem, Your dainty mouth is pursed in anger.

Try the exquisite penultimate item, E Yurev's In vain we love and fret with its echoes of old Vienna -- and, more than likely, you'll be sold.

Unquestionably heartfelt, magically touching musicianship by both Urb and Mätlik -- though Russian Romantic Songs should come with a warning; Not at all recommended for stressed-out music lovers, star-crossed partners; or any others in depressive mood.

Copyright © 16 August 2006 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


Russian Romantic Songs - Kaia Urb - Heiki Mätlik

HMU 907386 DDD Stereo FIRST RELEASE 51'02" 2005 harmonia mundi usa

Kaia Urb, soprano; Heiki Mätlik, guitar

Alexander Dubuque (1812-1897): Do not chide me, dearest mother; Tchaikovsky (1840-1893): Amid the din of the ball; Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857): Will I forget?; Alexander Varlamov (1801-1848): O never speak of it, my love; A Ivanov-Kramskoy (1912-1973): A sad mood; N Shiriayev: To hold you close, to love and cover you with tears; V N Paskhalov (1841-1885): Do not ask of me; P P Bulakhov (1822-1885): A dainty mouth pursed in anger; Alexander Dubuque: The two farewells; A Ivanov-Kramskoy: Nocturne; Alexander Dubuque: Serenade; Alexander Dubuque: When my eyes fall on you; Alexander Varlamov: Reminder; A Ivanov-Kramskoy: Waltz; Ivan Rybasov (1846-1877): None but you; A Spiro: Likeness; Alexander Dubuque: Adieu! Forget our past misfortune; E Yuryev: In vain we love and fret; A Ivanov-Kramskoy: A gust of wind




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Classical Music Programme Notes for concerts and recordings, by Malcolm Miller