Rachmaninov Vespers

Discussion in 'Classical Music' started by alby, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. alby

    alby Its good enough for Jazz!

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    My wife wanted a copy of this and bought a truly awful Naxos version sung by a drunken salvation army band masquerading as an Finnish Choir , (I cannot thing of a better reason for the poor singing and recording) Can anyone recommend a better copy?

    Regards

    Alby
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2007
    alby, Apr 20, 2007
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  2. alby

    Marc

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    I don't know about this Naxos recording, but I do think there are many good other choices.
    Here are the ones I know (and like):

    If you want it 'Really Russian': try the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir with Nikolai Korniev. They recorded this work twice; I have the first one (on Philips). Good performance, very spatial recording sound.
    If you want it more 'smooth': the Corydon Singers with Matthew Best could be an option then (Hyperion). I must admit that I sometimes miss the profound Russian basses.
    If you want it to have a very special character: there is a Melodyia-recording from the seventies, with the USSR Russian Academic Chorus, directed by Alexander Sweschnikov. Maybe it's still available. The CD that I have (Eurodisc/BMG) could use some more noise suppression, but the performance is highly religious and emotional.

    Good luck in making your choice! (Your own ears are still the best judge though, maybe better listen to some recordings first, before you decide to buy one.)
     
    Marc, Apr 20, 2007
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  3. alby

    tones compulsive cantater

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    In my opinion, this is THE one to have. I have never heard a recording of any music in any genre with so much "soul". I bought it in the 1970s when the Melodiya recording was released on Eurodisc (2 LPs) and HMV (1 LP) (I bought the former), and have treasured it ever since. As Marc says, the recording has its shortcomings, but no other version I've ever heard matches the fervour of this bunch of then card-carrying Party members (merely proving that the soul of old Russia never really died). The two soloists have a wonderful luminous quality and the choir - Oh! those basses! Watch them make standing waves in your floor as they hit the low B Flat in the Nunc Dimittis (Nyne Oputschaeschi or something like that).

    Alas, it appears to be no longer available. Again, as Marc says, it surfaced as a Eurodisc CD, before disappearing and it then made a brief return on Musique du Monde (or was it the other way round?). A Russian record service had a Melodiya CD at one time, but it now seems also to be no longer available, even though it's on the web:

    http://www.russiandvd.com/store/product.asp?sku=37341&genreid

    It does appear from time to time on eBay.

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ALEKSANDER-SV...ryZ43675QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    (This is for the one-LP HMV version). How anyone can bear to part with it is beyond me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2007
    tones, Apr 23, 2007
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  4. alby

    alby Its good enough for Jazz!

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    I ordered the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir with Nikolai Korniev , at the moment I am playing CDs exclusively, but should I hanker after my old LP 12 ( boxed , so not quite gathering dust ) I may well try the Melodiya , I shall keep an ebay watch.

    Thanks for your help.
     
    alby, Apr 23, 2007
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  5. alby

    Marc

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    OK. Good choice, I think.

    I just wanted to mention I discovered that Korniev's Vespers are coupled with his recording of the Liturgy Of St. John Chrysostom, on a Philips DUO 2CD-set, a combination which is very worthwhile. (But maybe that's the one you ordered, or did you go for Korniev's second recording, the SACD at Pentatone Classics?)

    About the famous Sveshnikov recording: the basses are great, indeed, but I also agree with tones about the soloists. Both Klara Korkan and Konstantin Ognewoj are very moving. The 'Nyne otpushtshaeshi' is definitely the highlight, IMHO.
     
    Marc, Apr 23, 2007
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  6. alby

    tones compulsive cantater

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    For me, one of the two highlights - I think the Ave Maria, which follows the Nunc Dimittis, is one of the most beautiful choral pieces I've ever heard. I don't understand a word of it, but it brings me to the verge of tears every time.
     
    tones, Apr 24, 2007
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  7. alby

    alby Its good enough for Jazz!

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    I also saw the set with the Liturgy Of St. John Chrysostom , but as I had already purchased this seperately last year , I bought the Phillips version of the Vespers rather than the SACD. It should be here soon and I am looking forward to it , Tones is also rather generously burning me a copy of the Sweschnikov , so I will soon have an intersting collection.

    What does concern me as I have often bought Naxos as (cheap)introduction to a piece, and they have always been reasonable, if rarely excellent , but this is the first time that the CD has been truly terrible.

    Thanks for your help

    Alby
     
    alby, Apr 24, 2007
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  8. alby

    Tertonmike

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    I have a very nice version on CD by Yevhen Savchuk & the National Academic Choir of Ukraine, recorded in Kiev Cathedral in 2000.

    It's on Regis Records, RRC1043, apparently licensed from a Dutch or Belgian label ("Joan Records bv"). I never heard of Regis before, but it seems they are based in Dorset - www.regisrecords.co.uk.
     
    Tertonmike, Apr 24, 2007
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  9. alby

    Marc

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    For anyone who's interested, here's a review:

    http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2001/may01/RachmaninovVespers.htm

    And at the British Amazone site, there are some short customer reviews concerning the Corydon Singers (Matthew Best) recording.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rachmaninov-Vespers-Sergey/dp/B000002ZOP

    Customer stuartbrown10 is familiar with Sveshnikov, Best and Korniev (1st recording). He rates Sveshnikov as the overall standard, and feels that Best comes close in beating that standard.
    Still, everyone's got their own pair of ears. This work has become rather popular the last decades and is recorded more often. It wouldn't surprise me if there were some more very inspired productions, too.
    I myself can get very moved by this great choral work; to me personally it offers both joy and a kind of restful consolation.

    Very nice gesture! You'll have a great time listening to both of them, I'm sure, and will forget all about Naxos. (But let's not downgrade this company, they have an interesting catalogue at nice prices.)

    :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2007
    Marc, Apr 24, 2007
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  10. alby

    alby Its good enough for Jazz!

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    The Sweshnikov burnt by Tones arrived today and I have been giving it a thorough listen, it is so much better and "emotionally packed " than the Korniev and has tempted me to buy it on vinyl and get my deck out of its box , I am also borrowing the Best /Corydon from a friend , but I cant believe it can be better than this.

    Thanks for your advice and special thanks to Tones :D
     
    alby, May 8, 2007
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