In this continuation of his successful series of ‘songs without words' -- songs for voice and piano transcribed for cello and piano -- Mischa Maisky left the Austro-Germanic repertoire he had previously explored behind and turned to the songs of his motherland in this disc of Russian songs called "Vocalise." For fans of Maisky's earlier discs of Schubert, Mendelssohn and Brahms, no more needed to be said: the same sweetly singing tone, the same warm-hearted phrasing, the same vibrato, portamento and glissando that distinguished Maisky's those discs was fully present here. From Glinka's lighthearted "The Lark" to Tchaikovsky's aching "None but the Lonely Heart" to Glazunov's yearning "Desire" to Rachmaninoff's melancholic "Sing Not to Me, Beautiful Maiden," Maisky was as wholly committed to these songs as he was to those of Schubert and his performances with pianist Pavel Gililov were as convincing as could be imagined. While this might not work for those who prefer their songs with words or their cello music abstract, for lovers of cello music who wish the 19th century repertoire contained more short but affecting works by Russian composers, Maisky's disc will be just the thing.
Deutsche Grammophon's sound is focused and direct but somewhat lacking in atmosphere.