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Galina Vishnevskaya

Galina Vishnevskaya Sings Russian Songs (CD)

As one of the leading interpreters of Russian music western critics were agog over this force of nature who had come, if not from out of nowhere, then at least from behind the Iron Curtain. They spoke of her in the same breath as Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, Birgit Nilsson and other giants of the era.

In 1955, she married Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, and together, they braved the Cold War tensions that continued to chill life in the Soviet Union. Rostropovich was, of course, a highly gifted pianist as well and accompanied his wife in recital on the stage and in the recording studio.

In 1961, under the supervision of Mercury Living Presence’s executive producer Wilma Cozart-Fine, they recorded material for soprano and piano that was key to the soprano’s life and career. Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death she called ‘one of the most important projects of [her] career’ and wrote that the performances of this song-cycle made her feel, "for the first time, [her] ethnic identity as a Russian singer."

In addition to three Tchaikovsky songs recorded at these sessions, a further six were added to her discography seven years later, these receiving their first release on CD.

1-4 Songs and Dances of Death

5 Net, tolko tot, kto znal (None but the lonely heart), Op. 6 No. 6
6 Ni slova, o drug moj (Not a word, beloved), Op. 6 No. 2
7 Ne ver, moy drug (Do not believe it, my friend), Op. 6 No. 1

8-12 Five Poems of Anna Akhmatova

13 Otchevo? (Why?), Op. 6 No. 5
14 Zachem ty mne prisnilasja (Why did I dream of you?), Op. 28 No. 3
15 Sred shumnovo bala (Amid the noise of the ball), Op. 38 No. 3
16 Na nivy zhjoltyje (On the golden fields), Op. 57 No. 2
17 Serenada (Serenade), Op. 63 No. 6
18 Noch’ (Night), Op. 73 No. 2

Galina Vishnevskaya, soprano
Mstislav Rostropovich, piano