MAISKY Vocalise - Russian Romances

Vocalise - Russian Romances

Werke von / Works by
Arensky · Cui · Dargomïzhsky
Glazunov · Glinka · Gurilyov
Mussorgsky · Rachmaninov
Rimsky-Korsakov · Rubinstein
Pavel Gililov
Int. Release 02 Jan. 2006
0289 477 5743 6
CD DDD 0289 477 5743 6 GH
Mischa Maisky pays tribute to his musical heritage with an intimate rendering of Russian songs

Track List


Audience Applause

Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804 - 1857)
The Lark [Zhavoronok]

Kak sladko s toboju mne byt' (How sweet to be with you)

Ne iskushay menya bez nuzhdi / Do not tempt me needlessly

I remember the wonderful moment [Ya pommyu chudnoye mgnovene]

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893)
Lullaby, Op.16, No.1 (Kolybelnaya pyesyen)

None But The Lonely Heart, Op.6, No.6 (Nyet, tolko tot, kto znal)

Nights of Delirium, Op.60, No.6

Noch' (Night), Op. 60 No. 9

It was in early spring, Op.38, No.2 (To bylo ranneyu vesnoï)

Alexander Sergeyevich Dargomizhsky (1813 - 1869)
Mne grustno (I am sad)

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839 - 1881)
Anton Grigorievich Rubinstein (1829 - 1894)
Night (Noch'), Op. 48 No.8

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844 - 1908)
The Clouds Begin to Scatter, Op.42, No.3

The Nymph (Nimfa), op. 56 No.1

Captivated by the Rose (The Nightingale), Op.2, No.2 [Plenivshis rozoï soloveï]

Anton Stepanovich Arensky (1861 - 1906)
Do not kindle the fire! (Ne zazhigaj ognja! ), op.38 No.3

César Cui (1835 - 1918)
The Burned Letter (Sozhzhjonnoje pis'mo), op. 33 No.4

Alexander Glazunov (1865 - 1936)
6 Melodies, Op. 60

adapted by Mischa Maisky

Sergey Vasil'yevich Rachmaninov (1873 - 1943)
Oh, Do Not Sing To Me (Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne) Op.4, No.4

How Beautiful It Is Here (Zdes' khorosho), Op.21, No.7

Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14


Aleksandr Lvovich Gurilyov (1803 - 1858)
I skuchno i grustno (I am Weary and Sad)

Mischa Maisky, Pavel Gililov


Audience Applause

Total Playing Time 1:17:17

. . . in this stunning programme of 23 Russian miniatures his vocal elasticity and intensity work wonders . . . so masterfully played, so spontaneously felt are the results that listened to as one might a live event . . . it is easy to be swept away. I doubt . . . whether there is another cellist around who can so convincingly move from full-threated intensitiy to a half-whisper in an instant . . . Beguiling, too, is Maisky's always 'singing' tone at all dynamic levels . . . This is the very opposite of a relaxing, 'late-evening' experience, so overwhelming are Maisky's emotion responses . . . Pavel Gililov miraculously anticipates and responds to Maisky's every nuance with complete assurance.

. . . this is fabulous playing; beautiful, rich and deeply heartfelt.

Maisky plays them all with his heart in the right place, which for these purposes is on his sleeve. As string-players sometimes say, he gives the music plenty of rosin.

"Vocalise" nennt Cellist Mischa Maisky diesen Opus, auf dem er Lieder ohne Worte aus seiner musikalischen Heimat Russland spielt. Und zwar so, wie man ihn kennt: mit makelloser Phrasierung, extrem viel Ausdruck und warmem Ton.

Maisky versenkt sich träumerisch in die ihm sehr vertraute Welt der russischen Musik und öffnet sein ganzes Arsenal an Klangfarben und Schattierungen . . . Live-Aufnahme mit cellobetontem Klangbild.

. . . il sait heureusement évoquer le sens des paroles disparues en jouant sur le timbre séducteur de sa basse signée Montagnana.

En este disco, Maisky nos ofrece una de sus mejores grabaciones. El artista se declara un amante de la canción romántica rusa como otros grandes violoncelistas, entre ellos su profesor Gregor Piatigorsky, cuyas transcripciones interpretaba a modo de encores. Maisky ha llegado mucho más lejos, pues ha confeccionado con ellas recitales completas con una entidad propia.

Para suplir a la voz humana, Maisky hace cantar a su instrumento con una hondura melancólica, eslava hasta el tuétano, pero a su vez sutilmente romántica que conquista con una fuerza rotunda, haciéndonos olvidar que se trata de transcripciones. Respecto a Vocalise, la versión es sencillamente soberbia.

«Gemas de la lírica rusa "cantadas" por el violoncelo de Mischa Maisky» dice una pegatina en la caja del disco, y, por una vez, no es ninguna exageración del marketing. Este violoncelo de Maisky frasea, acentúa y «lega» como exactamente lo haría un cantante, y un cantante ruso por más señas . . . Dios mío, ¿ha oído alguien en alguna ocasión a un violoncelo gemir, susurrar y exclamar de esta manera? ... Escuchen la última banda del disco, la anónima y bellísima Cuando te encontró . . . Muy, muy pétreo habrá de tener alguien su centro emocional para no conmoverse.

"I Have Always Tried to Learn from Singers"
Mischa Maisky and Russian Romances

Songs without singing might appear at first sight to be deficient or even impossible, rather like trying to swim without water, but on closer inspection they turn out to represent a fascinating kind of music making. A whole genre plays with the idea of textless singing, namely, the "songs without words" for piano, works which, for all their reference to song, do not in fact include a vocal line. It is no accident that this genre flourished in the 19th century, an age that E.T.A. Hoffmann summed up with the words: "Where language ceases, music begins."

Another type of "song without words" is represented by those arrangements that transcribe the vocal line for a musical instrument. Many songs can be performed on instruments without the need for far-reaching changes to their musical texture: "One of my revered teachers, Gregor Piatigorsky, also played songs on the cello," recalls Mischa Maisky. "Songs by Tchaikovsky, for example. There are even recordings of them. And not only Piatigorsky: Casals, too, made arrangements of this kind. But, unlike them, I take this idea much further by combining these songs together to form entire programmes and organizing veritable song recitals - I may add that these recitals are among my favourite type of concert."

In Mischa Maisky's view, not all songs are suited to this kind of treatment and cannot simply have their words removed: "Many songs cannot manage without their words, but others can." And even in the case of those songs that Maisky chooses for his recital programmes, the relationship between words and music is not unimportant. "Quite the opposite: it is very important. But with many songs one can also transcribe the vocal line for an instrument - the words may not be sung, but you naturally have the text at the back of your mind."

What is it that is so fascinating about songs without singing that Mischa Maisky has chosen this as the theme of his fifth CD of this kind? "The human voice is the most perfect of all instruments," enthuses the cellist. As a child he attended countless song recitals by famous singers, and their singing provided him with musical and interpretative inspiration. "I have always tried to learn from singers," he admits. The decision to set the existing cello repertory to one side and to turn instead to songs was an entirely natural one for Maisky. After all, "the cello is the instrument that comes closest to the human voice".

After exploring the traditions of the French mélodie and the German lied, Maisky is now returning to his roots with these "Russian Romances": "I grew up in Russia, in the former Soviet Union, and so I have very close links with Russian music - that goes without saying. And I love Russian music." The range of music that Maisky explores in this selection of songs extends from Glinka to Glazunov and is also a homage to the great 19th-century tradition of the Russian romance.

Questioned about his choice of songs, Maisky goes into narrative mode: "Among the composers I've chosen are some of the leading Russian musicians: Tchaikovsky and Glinka, for example. But there are also some who, although very important in terms of the development of Russian songs and romances, are not so well known in Western Europe: Modest Mussorgsky, Anton Rubinstein, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov, for example. And then there's a name that probably no one has heard: Alexander Gurilyov - a very exciting composer." Gurilyov was born in Moscow in 1803, and although his songs have been forgotten in Western Europe, they are not only highly regarded by Maisky himself but are still immensely popular in Russia today. They are straightforwardly lyrical in tone and inspired by municipal forms of music making, including waltzes and other dance forms, while sentimental themes and an unerring instinct for drama are the hallmarks of Gurilyov's romances. "And finally," says Maisky, "I have chosen a song by an unidentified composer. This song was handed down from generation to generation by the great Russian tenors. It was extremely popular in Russia, and I too have known it since childhood. But the fact that its composer is unknown does not make the song any less beautiful. In short: the composer's name was not really decisive when it came to choosing these songs. Instead, I wanted to show the vast range of Russian songs."

The care that Mischa Maisky has lavished on this selection of "Russian Romances" is clear at every juncture, as is the fact that this album is a very personal homage to the revered Russian song tradition: "I have chosen music that I love, music that I enjoy and to which I feel a close bond." Maisky is speaking here as both man and artist. In selecting the material for this recital, he has preferred emotional depth to stylistic variety: "All these songs are in some way Romantic and melancholic. I know that some listeners will say that this choice is neither representative nor varied. That's true. But neither as man nor artist do I need variety when I like something. I'm happy to keep eating at the same restaurant if I like it there, and I have been playing the same cello for thirty-two years - I have a profound faith in the constancy of relationships. If I love a piece of music, I can keep on playing it without getting bored. And this atmosphere, this mood also influenced my choice of these 'Russian Romances'."

Melanie Unseld