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Great Perf: Boris Godunov


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Product Details

  • Performer: Thomas Schippers
  • Composer: Mussorgsky Modest
  • Audio CD (Sept. 26 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sme
  • ASIN: B000F6YW2Q
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #102,390 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Prologue, Scene 2 (The Square In The Moscow Kremlin): Prince Shusisky: Long Live Tsar Boris Feodorovich! - Columbia Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
2. Chrous: Even As Glory To The Radiant Sun - Columbia Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
3. Boris: My Soul Is Torn With Anguish! - Columbia Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
4. Chorus: Glory! - Columbia Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
5. I Have Attained The Highest Power - Columbia Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
6. Boris: What Do You Want? - Columbia Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
7. Prince Shuisky: Mighty Lord... - Columbia Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
8. Prince Shuisky: It Is Not Death That Is Hard To Bear... - Columbia Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
9. Boris: God, How Stifling It's Become - Columbia Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
10. Boris: the Tsarevich, Quickly! - Columbia Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
11. Boris: Listen! It's Ringing!...The Funeral Bell Is Ringing! - Columbia Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
12. Promenade - The Philadelphia Orchestra
13. I. The Gnome - The Philadelphia Orchestra
14. Promenade - The Philadelphia Orchestra
15. II. The Old Castle - The Philadelphia Orchestra
16. Promenade - The Philadelphia Orchestra
17. III. Children's Dispute After Play - The Philadelphia Orchestra
18. IV. Ox-Cart - The Philadelphia Orchestra
19. Promenade - The Philadelphia Orchestra
20. V. Ballet Of The Unhatched Chickens - The Philadelphia Orchestra
See all 26 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Audio CD
This reissue by Sony is of the classic CBS recording of Mussorgsky's BORIS GODUNOV from 1964 with George London in the title role . It was recorded in Moscow with the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra and Chorus under Alexander Melik-Pashaev. In brief this is not a BORIS for wimps. It is a full blooded performance in the grand Russian manner. The role of Boris was London's favorite role and Russians so admired his interpretation that he was invited to sing it at the Bolshoi after which this recording was made. The otherwise all Russian cast is made up of some of the Bolshoi's finest singers from the period. Melik-Pashaev's direction fully partakes of the dark and sinister drama of this score while superbly maintaining orchestral clarity in even the more heavily scored parts. To say the chorus is superb would be an understatement.
The version used is the Rimsky-Korsakov which was the standard at the time (and for the most part still is). The Scene At Saint Basil's Cathedral is in the orchestration by Ippolitov-Ivanov. The set does not have a libretto but has a detailed indexed synopsis.The sound tends to lean more to the treble side of the spectrum but that is easily remedied. There ars also detailed notes on such subjects as the various versions of the score as well as London's own thoughts on performing Boris. The original CBS album cover is used. This is truly a classic performance and one wonders why it took Sony so long to finally put it on CD. Not to be missed.
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Format: Audio CD
This is the recording of Boris that I grew up listening to, and much to my delight it still stands up very nicely against recent releases and other re-releases. George London makes a marvelous Boris, his singing is deeply moving and inciteful. In particular that "Clock" scene and the "Death Of Boris" scene are magnificent. The only negative I have is that London was not a true bass, he was a bass-bartione, so to me he always lacks that firm, dark bottom that is so important to the role. For examples of how I think this should sound (again, just my opinion)listen to Anatoly Kotcherga on the Abbado set and, in particular, the great Russian bass Mark Reizen on the Bolshoi set that was recently re-released. Other that the slight lack of "weight" London is perfect, his characterization of the role is absolutely moving and heartbreaking. The other singers are all excellent, particularly Irina Arkhipova are Marina (she seemed to sing this role for about thirty years, as she appears on virtually all recordings between the late fifties and the early eighties) The other two principle basses are very solid, as his the Shuisky and the Pretender.
All in all I heartily reccomend this set.
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Format: Audio CD
With this reissue the classic Boris of George London returns to the catalogue at last. I grew up on this recording, and have loved it since it was first issued. London towers above a strong cast. My preference is for his Boris over that of Christoff, but that is because Christoff always sounds like Christoff. Irina Archipova is a wonderful Marina. She isn't subtle, but she makes her point. Mark Reizen as Pimen is a smooth singer, and contrasts well with London's dark timbre. The other singers may have rough edges, but their vitality make up for some wobbles. Melik-Pashaev conducts a slightly cut performance of the Rimsky-Korsakov score, which blazes with intensity. Although I swear by the Mussorgsky original orchestration, I find this performance well worth the trip back to the Rimsky edition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Very Fine "Boris" Excerpts, a "Pictures" to Treasure Aug. 4 2006
By M. C. Passarella - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The "Great Performances" sobriquet certainly applies to the Philadelphia version of "Pictures at an Exhibition." Ormandy is sometimes accused of stodginess, and that was probably true of his recordings from the RCA and especially the EMI years, but here he chooses tempi that are just right, probably a little fast, in fact, for Bydlo, the lumbering ox-cart. But with virtuoso playing from low strings and the tuba player, this is not merely a valid approach but an arresting one. The balances and the color Ormandy extracts from the orchestra are enhanced by a recording that I find frankly amazing. Many fine Philadelphia performances from the mid-sixties were done in by the Columbia engineers, who provided coarse, blowsy sound. This is true, for instance of Ormandy's otherwise successful Nielsen recordings. But here the sound, while bigger than life in typical Columbia fashion, is very real in timbre, and the ambience is entirely believable as well. Percussion is very much front and center but without any impression of spotlighting. In fact, detail is admirably clear from top to bottom; this is an excellent sound recording by any standards. Certainly, Ormandy's "Pictures" can be placed alongside other classic recordings such as Reiner's, if not at the top of any short list of such recordings.

The recording of excerpts from Boris Godunov is fine as well, though not indispensable. This is really a showcase for George London's talents, and as such it is remarkable. The other soloists are fine, but this is really London's show. The well-regarded Thomas Schippers shows that he was a fine opera conductor, securing first-rate playing from the Columbia Symphony and alert and enthusiastic if not especially idiomatically Russian singing from the chorus. The sound is pretty remarkable for 1961 as well, and Sony's transfer is beyond cavil, even if they couldn't do anything to reduce the bit of tape hiss that is part and parcel of many 60s recordings.

So at Sony's mid-price, you get one of the best "Pictures" ever recorded, in sound that is unexpectedly brilliant. Add to that a very attractive selection of music from Mussorgsky's greatest opera, and you have a real deal, in my estimation.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Great Boris returns at last. Oct. 18 2002
By Alan Montgomery - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
With this reissue the classic Boris of George London returns to the catalogue at last. I grew up on this recording, and have loved it since it was first issued. London towers above a strong cast. My preference is for his Boris over that of Christoff, but that is because Christoff always sounds like Christoff. Irina Archipova is a wonderful Marina. She isn't subtle, but she makes her point. Mark Reizen as Pimen is a smooth singer, and contrasts well with London's dark timbre. The other singers may have rough edges, but their vitality make up for some wobbles. Melik-Pashaev conducts a slightly cut performance of the Rimsky-Korsakov score, which blazes with intensity. Although I swear by the Mussorgsky original orchestration, I find this performance well worth the trip back to the Rimsky edition.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The Return of a Classic Boris Jan. 14 2003
By Andrew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is the recording of Boris that I grew up listening to, and much to my delight it still stands up very nicely against recent releases and other re-releases. George London makes a marvelous Boris, his singing is deeply moving and inciteful. In particular that "Clock" scene and the "Death Of Boris" scene are magnificent. The only negative I have is that London was not a true bass, he was a bass-bartione, so to me he always lacks that firm, dark bottom that is so important to the role. For examples of how I think this should sound (again, just my opinion)listen to Anatoly Kotcherga on the Abbado set and, in particular, the great Russian bass Mark Reizen on the Bolshoi set that was recently re-released. Other that the slight lack of "weight" London is perfect, his characterization of the role is absolutely moving and heartbreaking. The other singers are all excellent, particularly Irina Arkhipova are Marina (she seemed to sing this role for about thirty years, as she appears on virtually all recordings between the late fifties and the early eighties) The other two principle basses are very solid, as his the Shuisky and the Pretender.
All in all I heartily reccomend this set.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Finest Pictures at an Exhibition ever? June 14 2006
By SwissDave - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I'm truly glad Ormandy's legendary recording has become available again. Although I will probably always listen to the original piano version of Pictures (Janis, Horowitz, Richter) more often than Ravel's adaption for orchestra, whereas Reiner's interpretation is made to impress, this I believe is the one to fall head over heels for.

Schippers's 1961 Scenes from Boris Godunov with London (most impressive as Boris), Allen, Fried and Kolk that, at least so far as the cover is concerned, seem to get top billing in this release, are really growing on me, too, by the way - so much so I almost always play the disc complete, and only occasionally Ormandy's Pictures exclusively. Compares very favourably to that famous recording of the (actually not quite) complete opera, you know, the one with Boris as Boris, I mean, the one with Christoff, Christoff and (who else?) Christoff... ;^)

Greetings from Switzerland, David.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A gorgeous accuont of 'Pictures' from Ormandy's salad days June 14 2006
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Although far from being universally esteemed by critics, Ormandy was beloved by audiences, and this Pictures at an Exhibition shows why. The playing by the Philadelphia Orch. is incredibly plush and easy to listen to, although Ormandy's penchant for blandness keeps the music's tension down. As remastered here, the original CBS sonics do full justice to the playing--from the first Promenade one is aware that so far as execution goes, Ormandy's reading can stand up to Reiner's classic recording with the Chicago Sym. on RCA. Musically, however, Reiner is much more incisive and dramatic.

George London made headlines in the Cold War as the first American to be invited to sing the role of Boris Godunov in the Soviet Union, and these excerpts from the opera demonstrate his beautiful tone and rock-solid intonation, without a trace of wobble. London doesn't try for Boris Christoff's scenery-chewing anguish (who could hope to match that?), but in its resonance and richness, this is a treasurable recording. Schippers accompanies well enough.

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