Rimsky-Korsakov: The Snow Maiden
Krešimir Baranović
Label
Decca
Catalogue No.
4826913
Barcode
00028948269136
Format
3-CD
About

A first release on CD for the first recording in stereo of Rimsky-Korsakov’s enchanting springtime love-story.

With this and six companion issues, Eloquence makes available for the first time on CD the seven complete Russian operas recorded in 1955 by Decca with the company of the Belgrade Opera.

Fresh from a successful tour of Boris Godunov in Switzerland the previous year, the Belgrade Opera in 1955 was keen to make an impression on an international public. At the same time, the Decca company perceived a cost-effective but artistically assured opportunity to expand both its small but rapidly growing stereo catalogue and its opera discography with classics of the Russian opera repertoire in the original language.

Composed in 1882, The Snow Maiden was Rimsky-Korsakov’s third opera, and he would go on to write another twelve but even late in life he thought it his finest. It brings nature to life with magical representations of the forest, of frost and spring and even a Shrovetide doll, alongside the villagers who come across the maiden and adopt her. The score is rich in flower songs, shepherds’ piping and even a restrained deployment of Wagnerian leitmotifs associated with the Snow Maiden, the trouser-role shepherd Lel and Mizgir, the merchant who is doomed never to take the Snow Maiden as his bride with the final arrival of spring.

Recorded in both mono and stereo but originally issued only in mono, the stereo versions were held back for the US market and finally released in Europe in the 1960s, by which time the Belgrade Opera had acquired an international reputation for excellence. The original stereo tapes have been remastered for the first time, and they are demonstration-quality examples of the renowned early Decca sound.

The booklet for this newly remastered release prints both a synopsis and an essay by Peter Quantrill giving full historical context to the Belgrade opera recordings.

 

 

TRACK LISTING / ARTISTS

NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV
The Snow Maiden
Snegurochka
Springtime tale in a prologue and four acts
Libretto by the composer after the ‘springtime fairy-tale’
by Alexander Nikolayevich Ostrovsky

Spring: Biserka Cvejić
King Frost: Miroslav Čangalović
Snow Maiden (Snegurochka): Sofija Janković
Wood Spirit: Drago Dimitrijević
Lel: Milica Miladinović
Kupava: Valerija Heybal
Tsar Berendey: Stepan Andrashevich
Bermyata: Ilija Gligorijević
Mizgir: Dušan Popović
Bobil: Nikola Jančić
Bobilikha: Ljubica Versaykova
Shrovetide Straw-Dummy: Ivan Murgaški
First Herald: Bogoljub Grubač
Second Herald: Krsta Krstich
Page: Anita Yelinek

Belgrade National Opera Chorus & Orchestra
Krešimir Baranović

FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA

Track previews
The Snow Maiden, Act IV: "Snegurochka, o chom"
The Snow Maiden, Prologue: "S podruzhami po yagoda khodit"
The Snow Maiden, Act I: "Golubushki-podruzhki, poglyadite!"
The Snow Maiden, Act II: Introduction ."Vyeshchiye, zvonkiye struni rokochut"
The Snow Maiden, Act II: "Veliki tsar shchastlivkh berendyeyev"
The Snow Maiden, Prologue: "Domoi idi! Postoite! Kak zhe eto?"
The Snow Maiden, Act I: Introduction
The Snow Maiden, Act I: "Za laskovi priyom, za tyopli ugol"
The Snow Maiden, Act I: "Zemlyanichka-yagodka pod kustochkom virosla"
The Snow Maiden, Act I: "Kak po lyesu lyes shumit"
The Snow Maiden, Act I: "Kak bolno zdyes, kak syerdtsu tyuzahko stalo!"
The Snow Maiden, Prologue: "Mama, slikhala ya, slikhala"
The Snow Maiden, Act I: "Golubushki, golubushki-devitsi"
The Snow Maiden, Prologue: "Slishih? Tayesh!"
The Snow Maiden, Prologue: "Ranim-rano kuri zapyeli, pro vesnu obvestili"
The Snow Maiden, Prologue: "Minuyet lyeto krasnoye, sgoryat ogni kupalskiye"
The Snow Maiden, Prologue: "Ne to vstrechnayu ya v dolinakh yuzhnikh stran"
The Snow Maiden, Prologue: "Tovarischi; soroki-belobobki"
The Snow Maiden, Prologue: "Sbiralis ptitsi, sbiralis pyevchi"
The Snow Maiden, Prologue: "Po bogatim posadskim doman kolotit po uglam"
The Snow Maiden, Prologue: "Ne durno ti popiroval, pora bi y v put tebye na syever"
The Snow Maiden, Prologue: "A-oo, a-oo! Akh, byednaya Snegurochka, dikarka"
The Snow Maiden, Prologue: Introduction - "Konyets zimye; propyeli petukhi"
The Snow Maiden, Act I: "Podruzhenki! Vesyoluyu syerdtsa"
The Snow Maiden, Act I: "Snegurochka, odna stoyit, bednyazhka!"
The Snow Maiden, Act IV: "Izvol, ditya"
The Snow Maiden, Act III: "Spasibo, Lyel! Devitsi, ne stidites!"
The Snow Maiden, Act IV: "Akh, mama, mama, shto tepyer so mnoi?"
The Snow Maiden, Act IV: "Postoi, postoi, Snegurochka"
The Snow Maiden, Act IV: "A mi proso, syeyali, syeyali"
The Snow Maiden, Act III: "Na tyoplom sinem more"
The Snow Maiden, Act III: "Brodi vsyu noch za prizrakom begushchim!"
The Snow Maiden, Act III: "Kuda ona devalas, zapropala?"
The Snow Maiden, Act IV: Introduction Act 4
The Snow Maiden, Act IV: "Rodimaya, v slezakh toski i gorya"
The Snow Maiden, Act III: Dance of the Tumblers
The Snow Maiden, Act III: "Tucha so gromom sgovarivalas"
The Snow Maiden, Act III: "Prigozhi Lyel, uzhel tebye ne zhalko"
The Snow Maiden, Act II: "Spasibo vam! V privode l vinovati?"
The Snow Maiden, Act III: "Zavyal venok; na utro nado zhalko"
The Snow Maiden, Act II: "Polna, polna chudyes moguchaya priroda!"
The Snow Maiden, Act II: "Snegurochka, prishla tvoya pora"
The Snow Maiden, Act III: "Da zdravstvuyet premudri"
The Snow Maiden, Act III: "Ai, vo pole, ai, vo pole"
The Snow Maiden, Act III: "Ukhodit dyen vesyoli"
The Snow Maiden, Act II: "Batyushka, svyetli tsar!"
The Snow Maiden, Act II: "Gosudarevi lyudi"
The Snow Maiden, Act II: Ceremonial Procession
The Snow Maiden, Act II: "Privyet tebye, premudri, veliki Berendyei"
The Snow Maiden, Prologue: "V urochni chas obichnoi cheredoyu"
Recording information

Recording Producer: James Walker
Balance Engineers: Kenneth Wilkinson (mono), Roy Wallace (stereo)Recording Location: House of Culture, Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 26–30 September, 1, 2 & 4 October 1955
Remastering Engineer: Chris Bernauer
Original LP Releases: Decca LXT 5193–97 mono (January 1957); Decca ‘Ace of Diamonds’ GOS 642–45 stereo (March 1974); London XLL 1418–22/XLLA 45 mono (June 1957)

Reviews

‘The performance conveys a great sense of enjoyment… Sofiya Jankovic’s Snow Maiden is charmingly sung… she characterises the part very well and is most touching in her death scene… The smaller parts are all well cast… Baranovic and his company have secured a very vivid and engaging interpretation of this lovely score.’ Gramophone, February 1957

‘The sound is amazingly smooth and clear, and the stereo spread even in those experimental days is really first rate.’ Opera magazine, August 1974