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Roger Hecht
American Record Guide, November 2017

Baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky first performed the cycle on a 1994 Moscow recital attended by the composer. He and Sviridov hit it off well, and Hvorostovsky went on to sing the cycle around the world, recording it in 1996. A year before that, Sviridov completed Petersburg for Hvorostovsky. He sings with a rich, dark tone that is almost bass-like, straining only on the loud high writing, and then not that much. This is powerful singing from a baritone who deeply cares for this music and understands it fully. The recording is excellent in all respects. The result is a must-have for anyone who loves Russian music and song. © 2017 American Record Guide

Robert Tomas
The WholeNote, September 2017

The relationships between composers and their favourite interpreters are responsible for some of the best vocal music ever written. …Georgy Sviridov found his muse in Dmitri Hvorostovsky. They met for the first time just four years before the composer’s death in 1994. The occasion was an auspicious one: Hvorostovsky was performing Russia Adrift, a “poem” for voice and piano, immortalized in performances by the redoubtable Elena Obraztsova. Upon hearing Hvorostovsky’s version, the composer was enchanted and a beautiful friendship followed. In the remaining years, Hvorostovsky became “the” voice for Sviridov’s music. © 2017 The WholeNote Read complete review

Ivan Moody
Gramophone, September 2017

…a perfect vehicle for Hvorostovsky’s voice, enabling him to exploit its power and resonance to the full, for example, in the third song, ‘Open before me, O my guardian angel’, though some of the most memorable moments are more intimate and reflective, as in the fourth, ‘Silver Path’, and the sixth, ‘Simon, Peter …’, in which the singer beautifully displays his silvery high register. The orchestration paradoxically brings out the intimacy of a number of the settings (the fourth, again) merely ‘sketched in’, so to speak, in the piano original, and also naturally amplifies the blackness that also surfaces not infrequently—the whirling textures of the astral vision that is the eighth song, ‘Beyond the hills of the Milky Way’, are a particularly impressive example of this, making the fearful darkness and foreboding very much present. The extra track, ‘The Virgin in the City’ from another work by Sviridov, Petersburg, a Vocal Poem, is particularly moving.

Both performance and recording (made at the Radio House in St Petersburg) are surely everything the composer would have wanted. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Shengold
Opera News, September 2017

…conductor Constantine Orbelian led the imposing St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, augmented with folkloric coloration by Style of Five, Evgeny Stetsyuk’s instrumental ensemble. Stetsyuk orchestrated the songs, providing a fulsome tour of the highlights of Rimsky-Korsakov’s vast legacy. …the baritone throws himself into his work with towering dedication, and this version is certainly worth hearing.

I personally prefer the spare piano version to Stetsyuk’s seriously intended but sometimes overblown orchestrations. But in this recording, Hvorostovsky really lays into the words with incisive bite and deep feeling… The singing is still remarkable, weathering orchestral storms and maintaining steady pitch even in high sustained passages in which his silken voice can turn granitic. 

Much beauty remains in this superb instrument. …Sviridov’s music is quite affecting. And this performance is impassioned, a testament to Hvorostovsky’s art and spirit. © 2017 Opera News Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, August 2017

Georgi Sviridov’s romantic song cycle Russia Cast Adrift is presented here in a new orchestral version. Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings with a great emotional intensity, …the performance is excellent. © 2017 Pizzicato

Robert Hugill
Planet Hugill, August 2017

With its lyricism, powerful emotional tone and richly dark emotional depths, this is very much the style Sviridov’s music which was admired in Russia, as it expresses feelings for Russia and the Russian soul.

As a young singer, Hvorostovsky knew Sviridov and not only performed Russia Cast Adrift, but also had works written for him by Sviridov. By recording an orchestrated version of Russia Cast Adrift he attempts to realise the composer’s unrealised plans for an orchestral version of the cycle.

It is a strong, dark work. Sviridov’s style is richly lyrical with some powerful emotional moments and Hvorostovsky’s performance is fearless, giving us some stunning climaxes and finely sung moments. The style weaves together Russian chant, folk music and other influences into rich tapestry that does take on a life of its own. Evgeny Stetsyuk reflects this with his colourful orchestration, which includes a group of Russian folk instruments from the folk ensemble Style of Five. © 2017 Planet Hugill Read complete review

Jim Westhead
MusicWeb International, July 2017

Dmitri Hvorostovsky claims a strong attachment to Sviridov’s music, as well as a deep respect and liking for the man himself. The baritone was 54 when this recording was made. He was in good voice, his rich Russian tones either ringing out or caressing the listener’s ears in velvet utterance. I do not think that his voice has survived the last thirty years without any signs of wear—that would be impossible—but such signs are slight.

The orchestration is vivid and powerful, and the recording appropriately spectacular. Hvorostovsky’s voice is well balanced in relation to the orchestra, and occasional unusual sounds point to the inclusion of the five-strong folk ensemble. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review, June 2017

The harmonies here are traditional, and the influences of earlier composers, notably Tchaikovsky, are clear, yet Sviridov has his own style, notably because of his religious belief and the music used to express it in Russian Orthodox services. There is plenty of emotional intensity and angst both in the words and in the music of Russia Cast Adrift, …There is emotional involvement and a certain level of originality in [disc] and the orchestral version has warmth that clearly complements Hvorostovsky’s rich, sure and evocative baritone voice. The work is somewhat self-limiting by design, as a celebration of Russia by Russians looking for uplift and hoping for a more-congenial future Russia. But even within its self-imposed limitations, it has considerable beauty and considerable strength, much like Russia itself. © 2017 Read complete review

Norman Lebrecht
Musical Toronto, June 2017

Hvorostovsky, a young friend of Sviridov’s, is imposingly authoritative. Every line is inflected with drama, every cadence with a precise calibration of vibrato. Even without much understanding of the Russian language, the interpretation is compelling. Is there a better living singer of Russian Lieder? © 2017 Musical Toronto Read complete review

Records International, June 2017

Sviridov’s richly Romantic, heartfelt song cycle to poems of Sergei Yesenin is powerfully evocative of themes important to both poet and composer; love for the landscape and history of Mother Russia, images of nature and religious symbolism in the face of the uncertainty that faced the country when the Soviet Union was rising around the time when the poems were written. This is one of Sviridov’s finest vocal works, full of flowing melody and archetypally Russian melancholy. He intended to orchestrate it, but this never materialized; however, the piano parts constantly suggest orchestral colors and Evgeny Stetsyuk’s orchestration fully realizes them. The orchestration is sumptuous and respectful of the composer’s musical intentions, and the incorporation of folk instruments adds appropriate local color. Transliterated Russian-English texts. © 2017 Records International

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