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Boris Godunov

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 1 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B000ZWWS8U
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #291,427 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Disc: 1
1. Nu, shtozh vi? (Police Officer)
2. Na kovó ty nas pokidáesh, otyéts nash! (Chorus/Peasant Women/Mityukha/Police Officer)
3. Pravolslávnyyel nye umolím boyárin! (Shchelkalov)
4. Sláva tebyé, tvortsú vsevyshnemu, na zemli! (Chorus)
5. Slykhál, shto bózhyi lyúdi govoríli? (Chorus/Mityukha/Police Officer)
6. Da zdrávstvet tsar Boris Feódorovich! (Shuysky/Chorus)
See all 22 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Gdye ty, zheníh moy (Xenia/Fyodor/Nurse)
2. Kak komár drová rubíl (Nurse)
3. Ekh, máma mámushka (Fyodor/Nurse)
4. Chevó? Al lyúty zvyar nasyédku vspolokhnul? (Boris/Nurse/Xenia)
5. A ty, moy syn, chem zányat? (Boris/Fyodor)
6. Dostig ya vyshey vlásti (Boris)
See all 25 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Kak tomítel'no kak dólgo
2. My i v khízhinye ubógoy
3. Stoy, Marina!
4. O tsaryévich, umolyáyu (Dimitri/Marina)
5. Shto, otoshlá obyédnya? (Chorus/Mityukha)
6. Trrr, trrr, trrr, trrr! (Boys/Simpleton)
See all 22 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
After 30 years this is one excelent Boris July 7 2008
By Osvaldo Colarusso - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This one was the first recording of the Original Version of Boris Godunov. There was one obligation to hear the criminal version of Korsakow :all the records , Karajan, Cluytens , etc, were in the Korsakow edition. At the beginning the critics were not favorable to this recording, and I believe that this opinion occurred because we had in the ears other harmony,other rhythm , and other orchestration .Now, after all the posterior recordings, that used the original version ( Abbado, Gergiev,Tchakarow ) we can see that this version is one of the bests ,principally because of the singers. It is fantastic to hear Talvela in the title role. Beautiful voice and intelligent dramatically. Mroz is the best Pimen of the history and Gedda is also the best Grigory in the history of the recording of Boris.Andrei Hiolski is amazing as Rangoni and Schekalow.The women are very good, specially Kinasz as Marina and Lukonska as Xenia. The conductor, Senkow, is not bad as the critics used to say . The tempi are interesting and the Orchestra is very good.
For the beauty 0f the voices this is my favorite recording of this opera . And Talvela is among the best Boris of the history.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
From 1976, a 'Boris' to the manner born Sept. 16 2008
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For dramatic flair and fine singing, this reissued 'Boris Godunov' from 1976 ranks with the best. For the past decade the limelight has been on Gergiev's Kirov production (on CD and DVD), but Jerzy Semkow sounds more natural and emotionally warm -- not a single scene, including the opening Coronation Scene, sounds stiff or ritualized. The largely Polish cast knows this score well and sings with total commitment. I doubt that anyone who loves 'Boris' could get past the first ten minutes wihtut being rivets.

The two international stars in the production are Martti Talvela and Nicolai Gedda, as the doomed Tsar and Grigory, the false Dmitri who leads the uprising. Both could hardly be bettered -- Gedda is extremely stylish vocally (not many Slavic tenors are), and Talvela, as always, sounds like he's twelve feet tall. He overpowers the role without chewing up the scenery a la Boris Christoff or turning the Tsar into a howling monster. The supporting singers, none of them known outside Poland, I imagine, match the two stars in intensity and honest emotion. Nobody is a puppet in a historic melodrama. The Polish orchestra and chorus, especially the latter, are frankly the best I've ever heard in Mussorgsky's original 1872 version (with a few additions form the earlier 1869). No shouting allowed -- everyone here eally sings.

For brilliant casting and the most natural style to be heard in any 'Boris,' I would back this dark horse over its celebrated rivals, including Abbado, Gergiev, and (in the Rimsky edition) Karajan.

Here's the cast list:

Martti Talvela (Boris); Nicolai Gedda (Grigory/Dimitri); Leonard Mróz (Pimen); Bo¿ena Kinasz (Marina); Andrzej Hiolski (Rangoni/Shchelkalov); Aage Haugland (Varlaam); Kazimierz Pustelak (Missail); Paulos Raptis (The Simpleton); Bohdan Paprocki (Shuisky); Bo¿ena Brun-Barañska (Nurse); Wiera Baniewicz (Fyodor); Halina £ukomska (Xenia);
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A superb Boris in a slightly low-key account Sept. 11 2015
By Ralph Moore - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This was a brave recording of the original, non-Rimsky-fied version of "Boris" when listeners were still not acclimatised to the starker orchestration and more adventurous harmonies that Mussorgsky intended. It has many virtues, not least the great Talvela in a role tailor-made for his massive bass. He gives us a deeply felt Boris without resorting to the admittedly effective but increasingly unfashionable histrionics typical of his predecessors; his Tsar is more akin to the characterisation we hear from such as Nesterenko. There are other lesser-known but equally commanding singers in the cast, especially the immensely dignified and moving Pimen of Leonard Mroz and the splendidly subtle double act by Andrzej Hiolski as both Shchelkalov and Rangoni; his slightly husky baritone is a delight, oddly reminiscent of Italian baritone Mario Sereni, elegant and expressive. The Marina, too, is wonderfully vibrant and passionate, although I admit to never having heard of Bozena Kinasz. The Polish supporting cast, chorus and orchestra are fine, the latter making an especially warm sound in the strings in particular. The sound is excellent following the re-mastering.

I admit to being less enthusiastic than previous reviewers about Gedda's Dmitri or Semkow's conducting. Gedda is elegant but always a bit throaty and constricted, especially in comparison with his Marina's huge, released sound; Gedda comes close to yelling in their big duet, just, I suspect, to keep up with her. Semkow is subtle but I find that he generates little excitement at key points; everything is very restrained and well-mannered but I need more raw Russian attack. For instance, his pulse verges on the slack in the great "Slava" chorus concluding the Prologue and during Boris's death. Nor am I ever much of a fan of Aage Haugland's clumsy, unsteady bass, although he is amusing whooping it up as the drunk monk Varlaam.

In short, this is a fine "Boris" but not necessarily preferable to recordings of the original version such as that by Gergiev with the Kirov. It is cheap but comes without a libretto, which is essential to Western listeners.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Excelent version Aug. 23 2010
By Saul Botero Restrepo - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It is a wonderfull recording of the Mussorgsky original version. Excelent singers, specially the great Marti Talvela, and it is very cheap. Nevertheless, for other buyers it is necessary to say this edition has a detailled synopsis, but no text.
My desert island Boris. June 30 2015
By pekinman - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is the only recording of Boris Godunov you will need if you are budget conscious, or even if you own many recordings.
This is the original Mussorgsky orchestration in four acts, none of Rimsky-Korsakov's upholstering or Shostakovitch's or Stravinsky's 'improvements'. This is Mussorgsky raw and glorious and no other recording approaches this set conducted by Jerzy Semkow in visceral thrills and deeply moving beauty.

All you need to hear to know what I'm talking about is the Prologue, the magnificent set piece that ends with Boris Godunov appearing for the first time before the Russian people as their new czar. Frankly I do not recall a more spectacular recorded sound as EMI have achieved here. I didn't think they had it in them!! The bells!!! This scene makes the most dazzling and egregious Super Bowl half time show seem tame and staid by comparison. The huge chorus is perfectly in focus without blowing out the speakers, and the nerve-tingling woodwinds are clearly heard above the din, with a multitude of tintinnabulation ricocheting off the walls as Boris slowly enters his royal porch to address the crowd. It gets even better. Martti Talvela. Since I first heard his portrayal of this tragic figure I can hear no other singer in the part with quite so much satisfaction and sheer wallowing pleasure in the resplendence of that great Finnish bass. His Russian pronunciation is ECHT and he emotes a prism of emotional responses to the text. Talvela's recorded Boris is one of the Himalayas of vocal performances.

I won't detail the numberless moments of greatness in this recording. But there are some singers you've probably never heard of before, unless you were born and raised in the Eastern Bloc during the tyranny of the Russian communists. This recording is cast almost entirely by Polish singers from the Warsaw opera. Only Talvela, Aage Haugland (Varlaam) and Nicolai Gedda (Grigori) come from beyond the border, and all of them from Scandinavia. Leonard Mróz is a magnificent Pimen, and Andrzej Hiolski sings Shchelkalov and Rangoni with a beautifully vibrant baritone. None of these singers suffer from what many fear, the Slavonic wobbles.

I realize that the main female character, the princess Marina, is of great interest. You need not fear the name Bozena Kinasz. A forbidding handle to be sure but she sings with much finesse, and vehemence befitting an ambitious and conniving princess. She stands in no one else's shadow in this difficult role. In fact most of these principal singers put most others, even Abbado's starry cast on his Sony set from Berlin, in the deep shade.

Jerzy Semkow's conducting is quite wonderful, natural, nothing self-aggrandizing, totally at the service of this towering masterpiece. His orchestra is IN to this performance. Abbado's Berlin Philharmonic sounds sterile by comparison.

Do not hesitate to snap this fine old EMI masterpiece up. I recommend the original release if you can find it and can afford to pay what they are asking for it. It just might be worth it for the libretto.