Boris Christoff

Moussorgsky: Complete Songs

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Boris Christoff's set of the complete songs of Mussorgsky is one of the greatest monuments to a single composer's greatest body of works, one of the greatest monuments to the art of singing, and one of the greatest monuments to one of the great singers of the twentieth century. The only really comparable achievement is Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's corpus of recordings of the songs of Schubert. And if Fischer-Dieskau's achievement is larger in scope, it is neither more profound nor more musical than Christoff's. Mussorgsky's songs are as central to his greatness as a composer as Schubert's were to his. In them, he went as deep into humanity and into his art as Schubert did in his songs. Not only the great cycles, The Songs and Dances of Death, Sunless, and The Nursery, but also many of the individual songs, are as great as any ever composed. The range is as wide, the aim is as high, and the level of achievement is almost always as great in the best moments of Boris Godunov, and Christoff is there for every moment. All three of his cycles are the best ever made, and every single one of the songs is sung with passionate intelligence and dedicated soulfulness. Songs like "Cruel Death" and "The Puppet Show" have been equaled but never surpassed. And his "Mephistopheles' Song of the Flea" is frighteningly funny. One could argue with some of the accompanists or complain of some of the orchestral arrangements by other composers, but anyone who loves Mussorgsky or the art of singing should by all means get this recording.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
4:29
2
2:01
3
2:35
4
3:40
5
2:59
6
1:55
7
3:08
8
2:55
9
3:13
10
4:27
11
3:10
12
4:40
13
3:19
14
3:12
15
2:54
16
5:42
17
2:47

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:36
2
2:30
3
1:16
4
3:46
5
2:52
6
1:55
7
1:17
8
2:13
9
1:58
10
2:28
11
2:00
12
2:50
13
2:22
14
1:14
The Nursery (Detskaya; 7), song cycle for voice & piano, edited by Rimsky-Korsakov
15
1:44
16
1:37
17
2:17
18
1:39
19
2:04
20
3:13
21
2:00
22
3:49
23
13:20
24
1:24
25
2:15

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Sunless (Bez solntsa; 6), song cycle for voice & piano (or orchestra)
1
1:56
2
1:07
3
3:40
4
1:54
5
3:49
6
3:51
Songs & Dances of Death (Pesni y plyaski smerti; 4), song cycle for voice & orchestra, orchestration by Glazunov & Rimsky-Korsakov
7
5:36
8
5:32
9
5:12
10
6:06
11
3:12
12
2:22
13
2:29
14
2:30
15
1:51
16
2:19
17
2:45
18
1:53
19
1:20
20
4:58
21
3:25
blue highlight denotes track pick