V2454. MARK REIZEN: Dargomyzhsky Songs; w.Nebolsin Cond. Nelepp & Pokrovskaya: RUSALKA (Dargomyzhsky) - Excerpts. (Russia) Aquarius AQVR 390, recorded 1939-50. - 4607123631546
“Certain voices draw you immediately into their orbit and hold you under their spell: so it is with me and the Ukranian bass Mark Reizen….In a brief article reproduced in the booklet, Reizen tells us that he fell in love with ‘I bless you, forests’, and he sings it with eloquence….I could say something positive about every song in this memorable collection.
The Ukranian bass Mark Reizen, a famous exponent of the Miller’s role like Chaliapin before him, starred in excerpts from Dargomyzhsky’s RUSALKA, which were recorded for Soviet Radio in 1949 and 1950. We hear four substantial chunks, amounting to about 45 minutes of music. The Miller’s famous aria is delivered with rumbustious rhythm and character, and Reizen is in tremendous voice - it must have been riveting on stage. Nebolsin conducts ably, and both chorus and orchestra are excellent, as is the sound quality.
Comparisons with such singers as Chaliapin and Gmyrya are rewarding, but do not find Reizen wanting in any way."
- Tully Potter, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2015
“A superb singer and powerful actor with a highly expressive, rich voice of astonishing color and range, [Reizen’s] forte was legendary, but he also had a pianissimo so expressive it could stop a rehearsal to allow Natalia Shpiller singing opposite him to regain her composure, while the rest of the cast were drying their eyes.”
- Richard D. Sylvester, TCHAIKOVSKY’S COMPLETE SONGS
“Certainly one of the most sonorous, expressive and beautifully-controlled bass voices ever to have been recorded was that of Mark Reizen. He was a legend in his own lifetime in Russia and, at the age of 90, he was still able to make a remarkable stage appearance, singing Prince Gremin in EUGEN ONÉGIN….one of the greatest bass singers of the 20th century.”
- Alan Bilgora, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2010