Hvorostovsky’s affinity for Tchaikovsky’s lyricism and the harsh contrasts in Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death remains as vital as ever…his Mussorgsky cycle also shows a new maturity and confidence.
In the diabolical martial and dance rhythms of later songs…[Hvorostovsky] shows greater strength and solidity. Death is more clearly in control. The more leisurely tempo taken by the baritone and his accompanist Ivari Ilja reinforces this inevitable aspect of the drama.
…[Dmitri Hvorostovsky] brings to his interpretations a new richness and darkness of timbre, beautifully polished as it always was but enhanced with an even deeper understanding of how to project the subtleties of Mussorgsky’s vocal writing…Hvorostovsky is strongly and sensitively accompanied by his customary pianist, Ivari Ilja, in performances that probe to the very core of the anguish in these extraordinary songs, calling into play a remarkable range of expressive nuance, heartfelt sensibility and tonal shading.