Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dmitri Hvorostovsky Discs

The incomparable Russian Baritone has recently released 2 discs of Russian romances based upon poems of Pushkin.  Composers including Tschaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Borodin and many others have set these poems to glorious music.  Many of the pieces have also been recently recorded by Anna Netrebko in a glorious Album "In the Still of the Night" with Daniel Barenboim at the keyboard.  While one can not directly compare Hvorostovsky's studio recording with Estonian pianist Ivara Ilja at the keyboard to that of Netrebko's live recording one must say that these discs hold a special place in the repetoire.  Hvorostovsky has often been called the golden baritone and this is well deserved.  The tone is rich, supple and like dark chocolate and honey.  Dmitri has a large voice with impeccable breath control.  Since one can hear many of the same pieces that Netrebko has recorded, comparison's can be made.  As my wife commented, she thought Netrebko's voice was more varied and exciting.  Certainly, Anna has the edge on emotion, but Dmitri has the edge on consistency, breath control and power.  If one compares the pianists, the edge certainly goes to Barenboim for listening to the vocalist and supporting, rather than sounding like a soloist. 

These are wonderful discs that highlight the enormous capabilities and range of this expressive artist.  His operatic repetoire including his Eugene Onegin with Renee Fleming is iconic of one of the highlights of the Metropolitan Opera.  This artist seems unlimited in his styles of recorded material from the humorous to the impassioned more traditional roles.   These discs are truly a joy in now what appears to be a genre of singers singing in their native languages.  Starting from incredible diction to billowing dynamics, Hvorostovsky seems to be at the top of the pack.  Judging from these discs, the listener will look forward to future recordings and new stylistic goals.  Enjoy and treasure these as expressive romances or the equivalent of folk songs or ballades.