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Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov Box set

4.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, May 3, 1994
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This 3 CD set features the opera in four acts with a Prologue.

Claudio Abbado uses Mussorgsky's text in a condition almost as complete as Mstislav Rostropovich's but avoiding some overlap from variant readings. He brings to his conducting the same vitality and scrupulous attention to small details that are familiar from his work in Italian opera. His cast is good throughout and particularly strong in the leading roles. This is a Boris to live with, one that gets better with repeated hearings. --Joe McLellan

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Prologue, Scene 1, Introduction - Rundfunkchor Berlin
  2. Prologue, Scene 1: "Well then, what's wrong with you?" - Michail Krutikov
  3. Prologue, Scene 1: "Who are you adandoning us to" - Wojciech Drabowicz
  4. Prologue, Scene 1: "Who are you adandoning us to" - Tölzer Knabenchor
  5. Prologue, Scene 1: "True believers! The boyar is implacable." - Claudio Abbado
  6. Prologue, Scene 1: "Glory to Thee, Creator on high" - Tölzer Knabenchor
  7. Prologue, Scene 1: "Did you hear what the holy pilgrims said?" - Wojciech Drabowicz
  8. Prologue, Scene 2, Introduction - Claudio Abbado
  9. Prologue, Scene 2: "Long live Tsar Boris Fyodorovich!" - Tölzer Knabenchor
  10. Prologue, Scene : "My soul is sad" - Claudio Abbado
  11. Prologue, Scene 2: "Glory!" - Tölzer Knabenchor
  12. Act I, Scene 1, Introduction - Claudio Abbado
  13. Act I, Scene 1: "Just one final story" - Samuel Ramey
  14. Act I, Scene 1: "O Lord, strong and righteous" - Tölzer Knabenchor
  15. Act I, Scene 1: "Do not complain, brother" - Samuel Ramey
  16. Act I, Scene 1: "For alLong time, honoured father" - Sergei Larin
  17. Act I, Scene 1: "I arrived at night" - Samuel Ramey
  18. Act I, Scene 1: "How old was the murdered Tsarevich?" - Sergei Larin
  19. Act 1, Scene 1: "They are ringing for matins" - Tölzer Knabenchor
  20. Act I, Scene 2: Introduction - Claudio Abbado
  21. Act I, Scene 2: "I caught a grey drake" - Elena Zaremba
  22. Act I, Scene 2: "Give me some fun" - Helmut Wildhaber
  23. Act I, Scene 2, "Why are you so pensive, comrade?" - Sergei Larin
  24. Act I, Scene 2: "Here's what happened at the town of Kazan" - Gleb Nikolsky
  25. Act I, Scene 2: "Why don't you sing along?" - Sergei Larin
  26. Act I, Scene 2: "We are humble elders, honest monks" - Sergei Larin
  27. Act I, Scene 2: "What are you staring at me like that for" - Sergei Larin
  28. Act I, Scene 2: "And his age... and his age..." - Michail Krutikov

Disc: 2

  1. Act II: "Where are you, my Betrothed" - Valentina Valente
  2. Act II: "Oh, that's enough, Princess, my dear!" - Valentina Valente
  3. Act II: "A gnat was chopping wood" - Liliana Nichiteanu
  4. Act II: "My little tale is about this and that" - Liliana Nichiteanu
  5. Act II: "What's the matter? Has a wild beast surprised a sitting hen?" - Valentina Valente
  6. Act II: "I have achieved absolute power" - Claudio Abbado
  7. Act II: "Hey, Pss!" - Liliana Nichiteanu
  8. Act II: "Our little parrot was with the Nannies" - Philip Langridge
  9. Act II: "Ah, it's you, glorious orator" - Philip Langridge
  10. Act II: "In Uglich, in the cathedral, in front of all the people" - Philip Langridge
  11. Act II: "Phew! I feel terrible! Let me catch my breath" - Claudio Abbado
  12. Act III, Scene 1: "By the sky-blue waters of the vistula, under a shady willow" - Tölzer Knabenchor
  13. Act III, Scene 1: "Enough! The beautiful lady is grateful" - Marjana Lipovsek
  14. Act III, Scene 1: "Marina is bored. Oh, how bored!" - Marjana Lipovsek
  15. Act III, Scene 1: "Ah! Oh, it's you, my father" - Sergei Leiferkus
  16. Act III, Scene 1: "With tender, ardent words of love" - Sergei Leiferkus
  17. Act III, Scene 1: "What? You impudent liar!" - Sergei Leiferkus
  18. Act III, Scene 2: "At midnight, in the garden, by the fountain" - Sergei Larin
  19. Act III, Scene 2:"Tsarevich!" - Sergei Leiferkus
  20. Act III, Scene 2:"Can a humble and sinful man, praying for his dear ones" - Sergei Leiferkus
  21. Act III, Scene 2:"Tsarevich, hide!" - Sergei Leiferkus
  22. Act III, Scene 2: Polonaise - "I do not believe in your passion, sir" - Tölzer Knabenchor
  23. Act III, Scene 2:"That crafty Jesuit, he has got me firmly in the grip" - Sergei Larin
  24. Act III, Scene 2: "How long and agonizing" - Sergei Larin
  25. Act III, Scene 2: "Oh, Tsarevich, I beg you" - Sergei Larin
  26. Act III, Scene 2:"Oh, my turtledoves!" - Sergei Leiferkus

Disc: 3

  1. Act IV, Scene 1 (1869 Version): Introduction - Claudio Abbado
  2. Act IV, Scene 1 (1869 Version): "What, is Mass Finished Already?" - Wojciech Drabowicz
  3. Act IV, Scene 1 (1869 Version): "Trrr, trrr - Iron cap" - Tölzer Knabenchor
  4. Act IV, Scene 1 (1869 Version): "Aaah! Boris" - Philip Langridge
  5. Act IV, Scene 1 (1874 Version): Introduction - Claudio Abbado
  6. Act IV, Scene 1 (1874 Version):"Exalted boyars!" - Claudio Abbado
  7. Act IV, Scene 1 (1874 Version):"Well, then? Let's go and vote, Boyars" - Tölzer Knabenchor
  8. Act IV, Scene 1 (1874 Version):"What a shame that prince Shuisky isn't here" - Slovak Philharmonic Chorus Bratislava
  9. Act IV, Scene 1 (1874 Version):"He was whispering: keep away, keep away" - Tölzer Knabenchor
  10. Act IV, Scene 1 (1874 Version):"Here, by the front entrance" - Philip Langridge
  11. Act IV, Scene 1 (1874 Version): "A Humble Monk" - Samuel Ramey
  12. Act IV, Scene 1 (1874 Version): "Once, in the Evening" - Samuel Ramey
  13. Act IV, Scene 1 (1874 Version):"The Tsarevich - Quickly!" - Claudio Abbado
  14. Act IV, Scene 1 (1874 Version):"Farewell, My Son!" - Claudio Abbado
  15. Act IV, Scene 1 (1874 Version):"A bell! A Funeral Knell!" - Tölzer Knabenchor
  16. Act IV, Scene 2 (1874 Version): Introduction - Claudio Abbado
  17. Act IV, Scene 2 (1874 Version):"Bring Him Over Here!" (Tramps) - Claudio Abbado
  18. Act IV, Scene 2 (1874 Version): "It's Not a Falcon Flying in the Heavens" (Tramps) - Claudio Abbado
  19. Act IV, Scene 2 (1874 Version): "The sun and moon have grown dark" - Helmut Wildhaber
  20. Act IV, Scene 2 (1874 Version): "Hey Ho!" - Tölzer Knabenchor
  21. Act IV, Scene 2 (1874 Version): "Domine, Domine, salvum fac" - Wojciech Drabowicz
  22. Act IV, Scene 2 (1874 Version): March - "Glory to You, Tsarevich" - Tölzer Knabenchor
  23. Act IV, Scene 2 (1874 Version): "We, Dimitri Ivanovich" - Wojciech Drabowicz
  24. Act IV, Scene 2 (1874 Version): "Flow, Flow, Bitter Tears" - Claudio Abbado

Product Details

  • Performer: Anatoly Kotscherga, Marjana Lipovsek, Samuel Ramey, Sergej Larin, Sergei Leiferkus, et al.
  • Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Claudio Abbado
  • Composer: Modest P. Mussorgsky
  • Audio CD (May 3, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Run Time: 200 minutes
  • ASIN: B0000029L4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,578 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
"Wow" indeed! This is one of the most electrifying opera recordings I have ever heard and one of the most perfectly recorded. A real musical feast! I agree that Abbado is probably the best Russian music conductor today. I admire Gergiev's achievements and his indefatigability in propagating this repertoire before the Western audiences - it was through Gergiev that I started my fascination with this incredible musical world, but now, after having heard Abbado's "Boris" I crave for more Russian pieces from the Italian conductor. His magnificent recording of "Khovanshchina" was a revelation to me and led me directly to his "Boris", another musical epiphany. I knew the opera from the two versions recorded by Gergiev, with which I would not part under any circumstances, but Abbado's set strenghten my admiration for this rich and intoxicating score. No admirer of this masterpiece can afford to be without the Abbado set, but Gergiev is also a must buy and I would have a hard time trying to decide which of these two (or three, in fact, since Gergiev's recording contains - on 5 CDs for the price of 3 - both versions of the opera) should be the best recommendation for a newcomer. There is nothing on the price level that would speak in favor of either recording, but Gergiev offers much more music for the same money and his recording is the most complete you will ever get (you can play both versions independently). Here you get two Boris's - two different singers to portray the hero - and both sing admirably and often touchingly, but Anatoly Kotcherga's Boris for Abbado is something of a marvel. His is a magnificent performance!Read more ›
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Everyone knows that Claudio Abbado is the finest living Verdi and Rossini conductor, but few know that he probably is the finest Russian Music conductor since Mravinsky too. And even if his Stravinsky and Prokofiev are marvelous, it is his Mussorgsky that really stands out. Abbado presents Boris Godunov as a big, colorful and powerful canvas. Of course he prefers the original Mussorgsky scoring, and in his hands (and the Berlin Philharmonic's) it sounds unbelievably gorgeous. His cast is mostly excellent. Bass Anatoly Kotcherga is very impressive vocally, and very moving as the Zar. Marjana Lipovsek is equally good as Marina. There is no better recorded Dmitri than Sergei Larin, so it is a pity that Sam Ramey was chosen as Pimen. He sings very well as expected, but his smooth voice sounds alien in this opera, rather like using Luigi Alva as Sportin' Life in Porgy and Bess. But in general this is the finest, most deeply felt Boris Godunov of the stereo era. The 5 CD Kirov recording in PHILIPS is also a "must" for collectors, since it offers both versions of Boris for the price of 3 CD's. But Abbado's conducting is if anything, finer and more dramatic than Gergiev's, and Pimen excepted, his cast is far better. This is the Boris Godunov for your library.
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For svirtuosic playing and excellent sound, I agree with the reviewer who picks this version of the Shostakovich edition (working from Mussorgsky's original orchestration) and the Karajan for Rimsky-Korsakov's more "civilzed" reorchestration. I think we're past the time when only one or the other can be approved; each is wonderful in its own way.

I just wanted to add that in theater tradition Boris is an agonized, guilty monster, a Czar who used murder to gain his throne. He attracts sympathy through overt suffering, not for any sympathetic quality other than love of his son. To portray this agony is essential, and it is almost impossible to overplay it so far as Russian audiences are concerned. Even the scenery-chewing Boris Christoff, who practically gets hysterical in the clock and death scenes, is actually right in line. Abbado's Boris, the estimable Anatoly Kotcherga, I find rather cool and restrained when it comes to guilt-ridden agony, but the overall cast is so good--especially Dmitri and Marina, who tend to be awful on Soviet recordings--that I agree wholeheartedly with the amazon reviewer. This is a Boris to live with for a long time to come.
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Boris has been a great favorite since I first heard it in the 1970s, when it was performed in the Rimsky edition, before the acknowledgement of the great merits of the 'original' Mussorgsky edition. It is an opera that is rarely long away from my CD player. I had not listened to the Abaddo version (of the original) for some time though, and I can see why. Listening to it yesterday, shortly after the old Bolshoi version conducted by Mark Ermler (in the Rimsky edition, now cheaply reissued by Regis records), I found some of it short on breath and passion. Listen to the opening chorus, politely sung here by the combined Berlin and Bratislava choirs and compare it with the raw desperation of the Bolshoi chorus, singing as if their lives were at stake.

I am surprised by many comments regarding the principals on the Abbado recording. Larin admittedly sings well as the false-Dimitri but approaches many notes from the bottom and is not a match for Vladimir Atlantov, arrogantly heroic in the Bolshoi version, or the young Nicolai Gedda in the old Dobrowen with the incomparable Boris Christoff in the three bass parts of the Czar, Pimen and Varlaam. In the Ermler version the title part is sung magnificently by Evgeni Nesterenko who brings a real beauty of tone to the part as well as exceptional vocal acting. I really cannot share the enthusiasm of other reviewers for Kotscherga's assumption of the title part in the Abbado recording. To my ears, his 'tormented' sound is ugly.
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