V1826. SERGEI LEMESHEV: 49 Romances & Songs (Tchaikovsky). (Russia) 2-Aquarius AQVR 272, recorded 1938-65 (also to be found in Aquarius’ 5-CD Set 342; offered separately due to collectors’ demands). - 4607123630549
“Lemeshev heard or sang with most of the major Russian singers of the first half of the 20th century, and his memoirs are interesting because they contain observations about the artistic practice of his time and his fellow artists. He was the first singer to sing all of Tchaikovsky’s songs in a series of five concerts in 1938-39….He recorded 52 of them, sometimes more than once.”
- Richard D. Sylvester, TCHAIKOVSKY’S COMPLETE SONGS, p.311
“In Russia, Sergei Yakovlevich Lemeshev (1902-1977) is — along with Feodor Chaliapin — perhaps the most beloved opera singer in recent history. He was born into a very poor peasant family, in a small village, during the years of the Bolshevik revolution and the Civil war, and Lemeshev was required to become a cadet in the Red Army Cavalry School. It was, however, actually the Revolution that helped him make his dream of an operatic career come true, since the Bolsheviks gave the poorest peasants and proletarians a preferential right to free education. Sergei was assigned to study at the Moscow Conservatory where, after surviving a rigorous competition, he was accepted. (This determined his political views, for as he said many times, ‘the Soviets gave me everything’.) In 1931, he became a leading tenor of the Bolshoi, where he sang for the next 34 years, winning great acclaim. His audience grew, along with his fame, and he soon gained a veritable army of fans, called ‘lemeshevists’. His vocal and artistic qualities, evident to every listener, are beauty of timbre, musicality, effortlessness of vocal production, expressiveness, and very clear diction - qualities perhaps most commonly found in bel canto singers. An interesting comment on Lemeshev’s singing was made by the Bolshoi tenor Anatoly Orfenov: ‘He developed a mixed voice of incomparable beauty, which made it possible for him to take the highest notes with such beautiful richness that even specialists could not explain how it was done technically….His high C’s … sounded virile and full…His manner of lowering his larynx a bit on high notes allowed him to perform the parts which we ordinary lyric tenors did not sing’.”
- Natalie, "younglemeshevist"