Sergei Lemeshev, Vol. VIII         (8-Aquarius  AQVR 400)
Item# V2470
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Sergei Lemeshev, Vol. VIII         (8-Aquarius  AQVR 400)
V2470. SERGEI LEMESHEV: Recitals from 1954-64, [only very occasionally w.Vera Kudryavtseva, (soprano) & Zara Dolukhanova, (mezzo-­soprano)]:

CD 1: Concert from the Columned Hall of the House of Unions 2 March, 1954; Performances from an evening dedicated to Olga Knipper-­Chekhova at All ­Union Theatrical Society, 14 October, 1955

CDs 2­ & 3: Concerts from the Great Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonic: 19 December 1954; 15 December 1954

CDs 4 & ­5: Concert from 13 Jan., 1956; Concert from 9 April, 1956; Concert from 23 Nov., 1963; Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, 17 Dec., 1973; Radio broadcast, 4 Dec., 1973

CD 6: Concert from the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, 12 April, 1964

CDs 7 &­8 : Tchaikovsky & Rachmaninoff, recordings from 1962 & 1963

(Russia) 8-Aquarius AQVR 400, recorded 1954-64, primarily live performances. Slipcase Edition. Specially priced. - 4607123631737


“The main contents of Volume 8 is comprised of the concerts recorded in 1954 – 1964. In this sense, the volume represents a continuation of the preceding volume, which included the concerts recorded in 1943 – 1954. Volume 8 contains a total of seven concerts. To note, one album is dedicated specifically to the concerts in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg). An additional album (CDs 7 and 8) includes the latest cycles of the radio studio recordings in 1962 – 1963 (romances by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff). We considered it very important to publish these cycles all together under one cover for the first time ever. Besides, taking into consideration the records issued in 1960s, it is worth mentioning that the ‘Nighttime romance’ verses by Y. Polonsky has never been published for some reason.

Additions to the concerts deserve special attention. A unique, never known before recording by Lemeshev made at the birthday of Olga Knipper-­Chekhova is being presented for the first time ever. This is not a well known recording by Lemeshev and Kozlovsky, in which they congratulate Olga Leonardovna on the 50th anniversary of the Moscow Art Theatre (MKhT). On this recording, we can hear how Lemeshev sings several romances and songs to Knipper-Chekhova, as well as announcing his numbers himself (!). The appearance of Lemeshev himself is being announced by Alexandra A. Yablochkina, the patriarch actress of the Maly Theatre and the then Chairwoman of the Russian Theatre Society (VTO). After Lemeshev’s appearance and in conclusion of the evening, Angelina O. Stepanova, the MKhT patriarch actress, reads aloud the letter from Knipper-Chekhova.

In addition, one can listen to four more excellent recordings on this disc from the Moscow radio studio archives. These are the romances recorded in 1950, which have never been published before in our collection.

The next album called ‘Leningrad’ includes, along with the concerts at the BZP, or the Grand Hall of the Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) Philarmonia, the rarest studio recordings being published for the first time ever. They were made on the Leningrad radio and were accompanied by the pianist E. Lebedev. Some other recordings were made together with S. Shaposhnikov (Baritone).

This small cycle of romances by Tchaikovsky, which was recorded in 1951, attracts not only by their interpretation, but also by the unique version of ‘Do Fall Asleep’ on the verses by Merezhkovsky. Its studio version is known in this cycle only, although there were two more concert recordings in Moscow, which were both issued earlier by Aquarius for the first time ever.

As a supplement to the concerts, disc 5 includes two songs by Robert Schumann. It is worth mentioning that songs by Schumann are completely absent in Lemeshev’s discography. In this case, we provide a fragment of one of the latest concerts, the records of which not having been preserved in the radio archives, but they were luckily recorded on a tape recorder from the radio broadcast. The same happened to Grieg’s ‘The Hunter’, a very rare song in Lemeshev’s repertoire. Also, in this disc and in the one that follows, we included two interviews with Lemeshev on the following subjects: ‘From the Song to the Opera’ and ‘About the folk song in the Opera’.”

- M. Nikiforov, AQUARIUS

“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"

“Everything about [Sergei Lemeshev] was artistic....On the stage, until the end of his career, he was a youth, beloved and vulnerable. Even at seventy he still drove his admirers into ecstasies every time he sang Lensky at the Bolshoi.”

- Galina Vishnevskaya, GALINA, p.324