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Thread: Boris Godunov on cd.............................

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Question Boris Godunov on cd.............................

    What's the best recording/recordings to get?

    Thanks
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

    "Life's a long song, but the tune ends too soon for us all." Ian Anderson lyric

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    One advantage of the Gergiev set on Philips is that it offers both versions of the opera in the same package. I've always been happy with it and never thought about getting another, so I'm also interested in what other choices will be recommended.

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    Senior Member Marschallin Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    What's the best recording/recordings to get?

    Thanks
    There's a few inamorata I always go back to; all for different reasons: The Karajan/VPO on Decca, the famous Cluytens on EMI, and the Abbado/BPO on Sony.

    boris 1.jpg

    boris 2a.jpg

    boris 3a.jpg

    I have to say from the outset though that as far as this opera goes-- unless I'm actually seeing it STAGED-- I'm really just enamored with the choruses.

    The Karajan of course is the Rimsky-Korsakov orchestration; which is a bit too 'un-dark' for my taste in this opera. It does have excellent sound engineering and the chorus really has a fierce and desperate Slavic twang to it in the opening scence; which is to say, to my Anglo-ears, it's very colorful and exotic sounding. . . Funnily enough though, I don't care for his Coronation Scene. I doesn't have the majesty and wonder of the Cluytens, or even the Abbado.

    The Abbado has the Shostakovich orchestration: it sounds 'darker,' which is to say: more dramatic and cinematic to my ears. I love the faster pace of how he articulates the choral scenes from the outset of the opera. Thrilling. Great choice of singers. Great blending of voices. I like this one the most overall.

    The Cluytens has my all-time favorite Coronation Scene though. The Chorus of the National Opera of Sofia is pure exoticism. It transports me directly to the Kremlin of Pushkin's poem. The choral singing isn't as technically brilliant as the Abbado, but who cares? I sends shivers down my spine, like say, how Bernard Herrmann's score to Obsession does.

    So there you have it; or: ha, ha, ha: there 'I' have it-- The Abbado/BPO 'Princess', the Karajan 'Duchess,' and the Cluytens 'Marchioness.'

    They're all wonderful in their own way, but I've never found a 'Queen' performance and cast of this opera (like say, with Turandot or Rosenkavalier)-- as least given my tastes.

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    Senior Member arpeggio's Avatar
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    Default 1869 or 1872

    The dilemma with Boris is that there are several versions out there.

    Mussorgsky prepared two versions: 1869 and 1872. There are significant differences between the two versions. For example the 1872 version added the "Polish Act III" and eliminated the the scene 'At the Cathedral of Vasiliy the Blessed' (the 'St. Basil's Scene').

    Then our friend Rimsky-Korsakov prepared two versions: one in 1896 and another in 1908. Rimsky version is a hybrid of the 1869 and 1872 versions. Even in his version Rimsky excluded the "St. Basil's Scene" Then along comes Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov who restored his version of the "St. Basil's Scene" to the Rimsky 1908 Version.

    Then there is the Dmitri Shostakovitch version.

    Confused. So am I. The history is so convoluted I probably got some of the above wrong. I hope not.

    I would not be surprised if there was an obscure version by Ravel hidden in a library in Bulgaria.

    Although it is our of print, I concur with 'edgars ghost' that one should try to get a copy of the Phillips set that contains the 1869 & 1872 versions:


    I know that one can download an mp3 copy from Amazon.

    If one is a real Boris nut they should get both the 1869 and 1872 versions. A real psycho, like me, also has the Rimsky-Ippolitov super version. I now have to get the Shostakovitch version.

    Wish you luck.

    Edit: Marschallin Blair, thanks for the info on the recording of the Shostakovitch version. I just ordered it. Now I have to find that Ravel version.
    Last edited by arpeggio; Jan-25-2014 at 16:09.
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. And I am a very ingenious fellow

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    Yevgeny Nesterenko - is my favorite Boris Godunov!!!
    Especially the finale of Mussorgski's masterpiece.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_WOOZdVz9Y


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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    I've got







    continued ...
    Ann

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    but my favourite by a country mile is this one

    Ann

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    I was leaning towards the Semkow too. love the singers.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

    "Life's a long song, but the tune ends too soon for us all." Ian Anderson lyric

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet

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    Glad you posted about Boris Godunov. A new DVD out soon made me think about it. I never forget being engrossed by a production shown on UK TV with Robert Lloyd. Sadly, it's an opera I have kind of neglected.

    I have one recording with the late Claudio Abbado conducting a wonderful cast of Anatoly Kotscherga, Marjana Lipovsek and Philip Langridge.

    Apart from that I have the DVD with Salminen and Langridge from the Liceu in Barcelona

    Wonderful opera. Reading this thread has made me want to listen and watch again and more...

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    There's going to be a concert performance by Gergiev at the Barbican in London.

    [clicky]
    Ann

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    I have the Abbado and to me it sounds just fine. Not a collector of Boris, so one will do.
    Facts don't care about your feelings.

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    Senior Member Marschallin Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post


    but my favourite by a country mile is this one

    Annie, why do you like the Semkow incarnation of Boris so much? The cast? . . . I haven't heard it.

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    I've got the Abbado. I'll have to listen again as I don't really know the opera.

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    I saw Boris Godunov once many years ago and so am tempted to get a copy for my second opera after Fidelio, but it is a long one as I recall and for me to really appreciate an opera I need to get it on DVD with English subtitles and watch that through a number of times before the CD version is that meaningful. I do have a highlights CD, and as aggravating as that is (not having it all), it does show there are some fine singing parts in Boris Godunov. I don't know a lot of operas, attended maybe a dozen at most back about 30 years ago, and Boris is the one that stands out to me as having more substance. A good choice, but do also someday check out Fidelio.
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marschallin Blair View Post
    Annie, why do you like the Semkow incarnation of Boris so much? The cast? . . . I haven't heard it.
    It's difficult for me to explain. My love for a singer or an opera or a version is often a visceral reaction and sometimes has no bearing on their merits.

    With this I like Semko's lighter touch and Talvela and Gedda are superb.
    Ann

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