1. Why? (P. Tchaikovsky)

  2. We sat together (P. Tchaikovsky)

  3. Fall asleep (P. Tchaikovsky)

  4. My Lizzie-lad (P. Tchaikovsky)

  5. Oh, if you only knew (P. Tchaikovsky)

  6. Falling star (A.Gurilev)

  7. Elegy (M. Yakovlev)

  8. My bluebells (P. Bulakhov)

  9. A little bird (A. Dubyuk)

10. Deep is the Volga river (N. Nolinsky)

11. I go out alone on the road (E. Shashina)

12. Ah, frost, frost (A. Dubyuk)

13. Ah you, dear Winter (Russian folk song)

14. Oh, don't kiss me (A. Varlamov)

Bonus Tracks:

15. An die Musik (F. Schubert)

16. Granny and Grandson (P. Tchaikovsky)

17. Spring (grass is greening) (P. Tchaikovsky)

18. Lullaby in a Storm (P. Tchaikovsky)

19. My grandmother (I Shishov)

20. Homeland (Russian folk song)

21. Glory to the new Moscow (A. Novikov) GPT 15333

22. Russia (A. Novikov) GPT 15093

23. Russia (A. Novikov)

Presenter - Michael Balaksheev

Piano: N. Walter. (1-14), A. Makarov (16-18), S. Stuchevsky (15, 19-20)

Orchestra of Folk Instruments, conductor D. Osipov (21)

Folk instruments ensemble, conductor S. Gorchakov (22)

Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra, conductor K. Kondrashin (23)

Recorded in: 1939 (15), 1947 (16-18, 21, 22), 1948 (23), 04.04.1950, from the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatorium (19, 20)


“Here is a rarity: the first of a series of recitals given by Sergei Lemeshev, recorded live at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory on April 23rd, 1949. In two sections, the first comprised romances by Tchaikovsky, while the second half was devoted almost entirely to songs by early 19th century Russian composers. It is not complete; only five of the nine Tchaikovsky selections were caught, at least according to the liner notes, but what remains accounts for almost 51 minutes of this album….Though the liner notes state that all but one item in this group derive from studio recordings, two of the cuts, ‘My grandmother’ and ‘Homeland’, are clearly identified on the back of the jewel box as originating in one of Lemeshev's later Moscow Conservatory recitals, that of April 4th, 1950.

The engineering of the recital portion of the program, whether from 1949 or 1950, is a professional job and extremely good for its period. Lemeshev's silvery tone is caught close to the microphone, with enough room ambiance to give it body….his broad palette of dynamics is caught well….

One curiosity that will draw attention immediately is the presence of an announcer who names each selection before it's sung. We're used today to program changes in song recitals being given at the start of a concert, but Lemeshev evidently reserved the right to make alterations at any time as the concert progressed, based no doubt on his perception of the audience's mood, its rapport with him, and his vocal health of the moment. In some instances, the audience responds enthusiastically before the announcer even finishes naming what's coming up next. This is the case with the derivative but haunting ‘Deep is the Volga River’ by Nicholai Nolinsky, who was the brother of then-Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov. It is a fine example of Lemeshev's expressive art. He had been going through several years of problematic health by the time of the recital series, singing with only one lung operative from 1942 through l948. While as emotive as ever, he can sometimes be heard breaking the line for breath - but never, ever gasping. His limitations were clearly factored into both the planning of the concert and his interpretations. In other respects, all sounds as fine as it ever did. In Nolinsky's song, for instance, there are several passages that move easily into mixed voice, as well as Lemeshev's signature melting diminuendos.

I find that the second half of the recital contains the more attractive material. Tchaikovsky was better trained than many of his predecessors (not exactly difficult when you take into account the dearth of musical institutions in early 19th century Russia), but Russo-Ukrainian romances were usually a matter of conveying all-pervasive melancholy as hauntingly as possible. These pieces and the Eastern Slavic folk songs he regularly sang in concert arguably provided more of an opportunity for Lemeshev's intimate art to make its greatest emotional impact. The audience would seem to have agreed, judging by their enthusiastic reactions - nor would that be unexpected at that point in Soviet history, thanks to babushki and dyeda still singing songs at home that was already long established as traditional favorites in their youth. The performances of Shashina's ‘I go out alone on the road’ and Varlamov's ‘Oh, don't kiss me’ are my own personal favorites, but there's a wealth of material displaying Lemeshev's great artistry. Solidly recommended, this album is available from Norbeck, Peters & Ford (www.norpete.com).”

- Barry Brenesal, FANFARE

Composers: Tchaikovsky P. I.
Performers: Lemeshev S. Y.