This is the greatest disc of the greatest Russian songs by the greatest Russian singer ever released. Mussorgsky's songs are the most original, the most dramatic, the most profound, the most hilarious, and the most suicidal ever composed by a Russian. The great Russian bass Boris Christoff recorded all of them in 1958 with pianist Alexandre Labinsky, conductor Georges Tzipine, and L'Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Francaise. His performances are commonly agreed to be the most soulful, the most passionate, the most expressive, the most beautiful, the most fearful, and the most sublime recording of the songs ever recorded. From the inspired innocence of The Nursery songs to the loneliness and despair of the Sunless cycle to the horror and dread of the Songs and Dances of Death to the bitter and terrible the Song of the Flea, Christoff's are the ideal interpretations of Mussorgsky's songs. Labinsky and Tzipine are sympathetic accompanists. EMI's early stereo sound is clean and honest and its 2003 digital re-mastering real and clear. Anyone who loves art songs will love this disc.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|The Nursery (Detskaya; 7), song cycle for voice & piano, edited by Rimsky-Korsakov|
|Sunless (Bez solntsa; 6), song cycle for voice & piano (or orchestra)|
|Songs & Dances of Death (Pesni y plyaski smerti; 4), song cycle for voice & orchestra, orchestration by Shostakovich|
|Songs & Dances of Death (Pesni y plyaski smerti; 4), song cycle for voice & orchestra, orchestration by Glazunov & Rimsky-Korsakov|