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Chopin: Songs - Sobotka, Rucinski, Poblocka

Chopin: Songs - Sobotka, Rucinski, Poblocka

BeArTon  CDB046

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Vocal


Chopin: Songs

Iwona Sobotka (soprano)
Artur Rucinski (baritone)
Ewa Poblocka (piano)

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ZYCZENIE Maiden`s Wish WN 21
GDZIE LUBI A Fickie Maid WN 22
POSEL The Messenger WN 30
CZARY Witchcraft WN 31
HULANKA Drinking Song WN 32
PRECZ Z MOICH OCZU Remembrance WN 33
WOJAK Before the Battle WN 34
PIOSNKA LITEWSKA Lithuaniam Song WN 38
SMUTNA RZEKA Traubled Waters WN 39
MAZUR WN 17 a
NARZECZONY The Bridegroom`s Return WN 40
SPIEW Z MOGILY - LECI LISCIE Z DRZEWA Poland`s Dirge - Leaves are falling WN 49
PIERSCIEN The Ring WN 50
MOJA PIESZCZOTKA My Enchantress WN 51
WIOSNA Spring WN 52
SLICZNY CHLOPIEC My Beloved WN 54
DUMKA wczesniejsza wersja NIE MA CZEGO TRZEBA WN 57
NIE MA CZEGO TRZEBA Faded and Vanished WN 57
DWOJAKI KONIEC The Lovers WN 58
Z GÓR, GDZIE DZWIGALI Bothed` neath their Crosses WN 61
Reviews (1)
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Review by John Miller - December 30, 2009

The least known of Chopin's works are his songs. He wrote them more or less throughout his life, aware that he was pioneering a new style in Poland, and always intended to publish them. Sadly, his lingering death intervened, leaving a legacy of songs in various forms, from those written into friend's albums to vocal lines with only sketchy piano parts, obviously meant to be refined at a later date.

The Polish National Edition of Chopin's works has recently issued their volume of the composer's songs, this critical process having considered, collated and dated all the available sources. BeArTon here produce the première recording of this new Urtext in a handsome thin card slip-case which houses the CD box with its detailed notes and a separate booklet of texts in Polish and English in elegant but easily readable typefaces.

Having listened to no less than four fairly recent RBCD sets of Chopin's Songs in preparation for this review, the interpretative difficulties of the set are all too clear. The songs cover a wider variety of subjects, from simple love songs to sturdy nationalistic utterances, by way of naive rustic manners and deep poetic tragedies. They are not serious German Lieder; many are fragile blooms and wilt under such pressure. Mezzos with heavy Eastern European emoting also do not serve the songs well, and since many of them were obviously written for a male to sing, one wonders why these four sets are all recorded by sopranos.

BeArTon have assembled what seems to me to be an ideal team for this venture. Iwona Sobotka's light, clear, flexible soprano voice has the required freshness and 'girliness', while Artur Rucinski is a young baritone with the ability to portray the assertive drama of some songs with a dark-toned voice, yet be meltingly seductive and warm-toned in others. Concert pianist Ewa Poblocka is more than up to making the most from the piano parts, some of which are technically very tricky, others no more than sketches, and she supports the singers extremely well. Chopin often uses the term 'scherzando' in these songs, and indeed there is some delightful playfulness on display. The 19 songs (now chronologically catalogued and given WN numbers) are played in what the notes suggest reflects their dramaturgy, with the soloists alternating in groups. Sobotka has 9 songs, Rucinski the other 10. One of the songs is given in two versions.

Hearing this SACD after the four RBCD sets gave me the usual hi-def shock, with the sound suddenly more immediate in impact, realistically registering the real presence of the performers in the listening room. The Lutoslawski Concert Studio of Polish Radio invests the music with a subtle halo of ambience, especially effective in multichannel.

This disc is an ideal way of discovering Chopin's songs, given the obvious loving care of the performers to make the most of their new scholarly Edition. It is certainly has the best sonics so far, and comes with excellent and authoritative documentation in its extensive notes.

Copyright © 2009 John Miller and HRAudio.net

Performance:

Sonics (Stereo):

Sonics (Multichannel):

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