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Rachmaninov: Monna Vanna (Act 1); Songs / Soile Isokoski, soprano; Vladimir Ashkenazy

Notes & Reviews:

Sergei Rachmaninov's (1873-1943) rarely heard, unfinished opera Monna Vanna was the only major score he took with him into exile in the USA after the 1917 revolution. This new recording is based on Gennadi Belov's new edition and conducted by an iconic artist and Russian music expert Vladimir Ashkenazy. The second part of this disc features Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski singing seven Rachmaninov songs (including the hauntingly beautiful Vocalise), accompanied on the piano by Mr. Ashkenazy.

Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2014
Ashkenazy and his forces inject considerable dramatic impetus into the music...this is a tantalising disc of a what-might-have-been, Vladimir Avtomonov's rich, fluid baritone bearing the brunt of the action.

Sunday Times, 3rd August 2014
It's characteristic mature, if not memorable, Rachmaninov, well sung by students. If the songs will entice collectors, completists will have to have the Monna Vanna.

American Record Guide, November/December 2014
The performances are very effective. The leads are all accomplished students of the Moscow Conservatory. I was particularly impressed with Vladimir Avtomonov's Guido, whose beautiful singing is alternately blustery as a military man and truly concerned for his wife's fate. The Conservatory chorus and orchestra play well, and Ashkenazy conducts with great feeling. The seven songs (recorded in 2013) are from various periods of Rachmaninoff's career. For the most part they are well sung by Ms Isokoski accompanied by Ashkenazy on the piano. If you are a Rachmaninoff completest you will want this recording of Monna Vanna. The sound is excellent.


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