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Penguin Guide, January 2009

You won’t hear anything as remarkable as this Naxos Kovanshchina again. First of all, we have the Rimsky-Korsakov version, which has fallen completely out of favour nowadays—understandably, perhaps, given the excellence of the Shostakovich edition which all the present-day versions follow. However, Rimsky-Korsakov’s scoring is absolutely wonderful and should not be allowed to pass into oblivion. Secondly, we have an incomparable cast, with Mark Reizen’s Dosifey and Sofya Preobrazhenskaya as Marfa. The 1946 recording sounds surprisingly good in Ward Marston’s remarkable transfer and the third CD has room for 13 songs, some from the old Mussorgsky Song Society, with Vladimir Rosing. Do not hesitate.

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