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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Romances (Dmitri Hvorostovsky; Ivari Ilja)


Composer: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • 24 Romances

Dmitri Hvorostovsky, baritone
Ivari Ilja, piano

Date: 2009
Label: Delos Music



PERFORMANCE: ***** / SOUND: ****

Nearly 20 years have elapsed since Dmitri Hvorostovsky first recorded Tchaikovsky songs for Philips, with vine leaves in his hair fresh from winning the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. Comparing his ‘None but the Lonely Heart’ then with the one just set down here for Delos, it’s remarkable how little the voice, a little larger than life in Delos’s close sound, has aged; if anything, the dark, full vibrato is even more under control at the very top of the register. Alongside the same ineffable legato, there’s more pointing of the words and more inwardness in softer dynamics.

Hvorostovsky has added many of the more unconventional Tchaikovsky songs to his repertoire since that first recital disc. Two which I had never consciously heard before launch the second of these
two short CDs: the Lermontov setting ‘The Love of a Dead Man’, to which Hvorostovsky rises heroically, and ‘On the Golden Cornfields’ by Alexy Tolstoy.

Inevitably there’s a preponderance of dark numbers; so all the more credit to this now truly great baritone for pushing the emotion with apparent sincerity and no self pity; ‘To Forget so Soon’ reaches remarkable dramatic heights. Even if Hvorostovsky perhaps deserves a piano virtuoso with more colours in his palette than Ivari Ilja – Trpceski, Melnikov or Hayroudinoff would be ideal equals – the Estonian manages the lighter touches well.

-- David NiceBBC Music Magazine


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (25 April/7 May 1840 – 25 October/6 November 1893) was a Russian composer of the romantic period who wrote some of the most popular music in the classical repertoire. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally. Tchaikovsky wrote many works that are popular with the classical music public, including his Romeo and Juliet, the 1812 Overture, three ballets, last three symphonies, the 1st Piano Concerto and the Violin Concerto. Despite his many popular successes, Tchaikovsky's life was punctuated by personal crises and depression.


Dmitri Hvorostovsky (16 October 1962 – 22 November 2017) was a Russian operatic baritone. He came to international prominence in 1989 when he won the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, beating Bryn Terfel in the final round. His international careers began immediately, and he subsequently sang at virtually every major opera house, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Berlin State Opera, La Scala and the Vienna State Opera. Hvorostovsky was especially renowned for his portrayal of the title character in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. He made many CD recordings for Philips and Delos labels.


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