Rachmaninov: Songs (3 CDs)

This first complete recording for twenty years of Rachmaninov’s published song output (with the addition of two delightfully comic occasional pieces) lays two further claims to importance: our seven singers – hand-picked by renowned pianist Iain Burnside – are all native Russian speakers, and every song is performed in the key in which Rachmaninov wrote it, respecting both the specificity of vocal colour and the carefully designed tonal and expressive trajectory within each opus.

For the first twenty-five years of his career Rachmaninov regularly expressed himself in song, from Tchaikovskian beginnings to the extraordinarily personal range of vocal and pianistic utterance in his final two collections. Almost a century after exile brought down the curtain on this period of his creative output, Burnside and his singers bring these works to shimmering, gushing, crackling, magnificent life.

"Burnside remains a firm, clear companion throughout."

"there are distinct pluses to this new Delphian set. One of them is unquestionably the pianism of Iain Burnside, who recognises the integral expressive role of the piano in these songs...Practically everything...rings true in this set, sung gloriously with palpable heart and soul."

"Burnside’s brilliant playing...allures the ear at every turn...The stars are Andrei Bondarenko and Alexander Vinogradov, both young but mature interpreters...Ekaterina Siurina’s sweet soprano comes into its own in the Op 38 set, while she and Vinogradov make something special of Two Farewells...the best is superb."

"The famous Vocalise - popularised in innumerable variants for solo instrument and orchestra - was in fact originally a song from Rachmaninov's Op. 34. Here, Iain Burnside accompanies seven native Russian-speakers in a complete set of Rachmaninov's vocal music, which contains some of his most personal and intimate writing."

"Bondarenko, who won the song prize at Cardiff Singer of the World in 2011, is a delight with his honeyed, even tone and faultless phrasing. Burnside accompanies with his usual tact and intelligence. As a whole, the set is a very distinguished piece of work."

"This is a richly rewarding and fascinating set...[Vinogradov] sings these epics with a marvellously fluent legato...But the star of the show is undoubtedly Burnside, playing throughout with unfailing intensity and sensitivity: voice and piano are truly equal partners here, and the results are electrifying."

"[Vinogradov's] beautiful rich dark tone and musicality single him out with distinction...Burnside, throughout, displays great sensitivity in his accompaniments. Technically accomplished, he meets the virtuosic challenges that Rachmaninov sets the performer...This set would be hard to beat by any standards – a deeply rewarding and truly stimulating musical experience."

Producer: Paul Baxter
Recording venue(s): Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh
Recording dates: 15-16 September 2012, 12-24 November 2012 & 11-12 January 2013
Physical format: Box set
Number of discs: 3
Number of tracks: 73
Total playing time: 3:00:18
First UK release date: 10 March 2014
Album ID: DCD34127

Presto Recordings of the Year 2014

Featured interview

Iain Burnside on Rachmaninov

Iain talks to Kate Molleson about Rachmaninov's complete songs.

Album Booklet

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