Rachmaninoff / Belkina / Sidorenko - Spring Night | RECORD STORE DAY

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For Russian musicians, the romances of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov have always been a test of their artistic maturity. The very name of the genre carries a great many shades of meaning in Russian, denoting what at times are very varied forms of musical utterance. The vocal chamber works by these two composers, who are usually mentioned in the same breath as luminaries of Russian music, really do exhibit the vast range in artistic expression of their creators. You listen to a recording by the young musicians Lena Belkina and Natalia Sidorenko, who have begun the difficult journey along the road that leads to a perfect blend of tone and the discovery of a personal inflexion in these diminutive, yet complex masterpieces. It is significant that the mezzo-soprano Lena Belkina - for whom Russian, with it's awkward intonation, is a mother tongue - lives and works in Austria, Germany, Italy and France. This has given her an awareness that romances by great Russian composers are part of a worldwide musical heritage. There are several themes running through the romances brought together on this disc that pose demanding artistic challenges for their performers. Spring: from tender green leaves that have barely sprouted to luxuriant blooms of flowering lilac, rushing streams and the burble of the nightingale's song. Night: descending on us with it's unexpected warmth, sometimes stifling, sometimes melancholy, giving rise even in the midst of a storm to cradle songs, serenades and dreams of a happy life, which often dissipate on awakening. Love: past and future, lamented and desired, 'familiar to everyone and eternally new', as one of the romances puts it.