Liederabend with Hvorostovsky

Dmitri Hvorostovsky

Published: July 9, 2013

MUNICH — For years now Dmitri Hvorostovsky has been including in his recitals the same handfuls of songs by Sergei Taneyev and Nikolai Medtner. Colorful, intimately dramatic, and flattering to the baritone’s voice, they do not comprise cycles or alas make satisfying groupings — Hvorostovsky has shown more devotion to the music of Georgy Sviridov, performing integral works such as the Six Pushkin Romances of 1935 and the song cycle Petersburg of 1995 — but here they were again on Wednesday (July 3), five settings from each composer and all dating from 1903 to 1915, for a sold-out Prinz-Regenten-Theater.

Taneyev’s conversational Менуэт (Minuet), Op. 26/9, found the charismatic Siberian at his most engaging and natural, the voice relaxed and velvety. The somewhat clamorous Зимний путь (Winter Road), Op. 32/4, emerged free of strain. Medtner’s generally more ardent scores stretch the vocal line in awkward ways and require a few sustained tenor flights, but none of this seemed to phase Hvorostovsky, who rose robustly to the selected challenges. Long-held endings to Medtner’s unrelated Goethe settings Счастливое плаванье (Glückliche Fahrt), Op. 15/8, and Ночная песнь странника (Wandrers Nachtlied), Op. 6/1, wowed the crowd. Indeed, Hvorostovsky condoned applause after every song and seemed unfazed by flash photography. Ah, showmanship.

Ivari Ilja, a tall man of Churchillian gaze, matched the singing with audacious accompaniment. Still, his way with the relatively tranquil Ночная песнь странника left a congenial mark, and balances between the two artists proved ideal. Liszt’s Tre sonetti del Petrarca and disparate Rachmaninoff songs were slated for the second half of this recital. We ran for the train.

Photo © BBC

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