Vissarion Shebalin: The Complete A Cappella Choral Cycles

Catalogue No: TOCC0112
EAN/UPC: 5060113441126
Release Date: 2011-09-05
Composer: Vissarion Shebalin
Artists: Nikolay Khondzinsky, Russkaya Conservatoria Chamber Capella

The Siberian-born Vissarion Shebalin (1902-63) is best known for his instrumental music, which includes five symphonies and nine string quartets, some of which have been heard on CD, but this is the first recording of the eight delightful, and very Russian, choral cycles he wrote from 1949. Shebalin had to endure much hardship: along with Shostakovich, a close friend and colleague, he was one of the composers condemned in the infamous 1948 Party congress in Moscow; and in later life he fought to overcome a series of crippling strokes. These tribulations he faced with understated but unshakable optimism, as these touching choruses reveal.

Russkaya Conservatoria Chamber Capella, choir
Nikolay Khondzinsky, conductor

Listen To This Recording:

    Five A Cappella Choruses. Words by A. Pushkin, Op. 42 (1949)

  1. No. 1, Message to the Decembrists
  2. No. 2, Song about Stenka Razin
  3. No. 3, The Winter Road
  4. No. 4, Chattering Magpie
  5. No. 5, Echo
  6. Three A Cappella Choruses to Words by M. Lermontov, Op. 47 (1951)

  7. No. 1, The Warrior’s Grave
  8. No. 2, The Sail
  9. No. 3, The Cliff
  10. Three A Cappella Choruses to Verses of A. Sofronov, Op. 44 (1949)

  11. No. 1, Immortelle
  12. No. 2, The Wild Grapevine
  13. No. 3, Wormwood
  14. Six A Cappella Choruses to Words by M. Tank, Op. 45 (1950)

  15. No. 1, The Cossack urged on his steed
  16. No. 2, A Mother’s Thoughts of her Son
  17. No. 3, The Skylark
  18. No. 4, To a Birch Tree
  19. No. 5, Spring Beauty
  20. No. 6, Over the Burial-Mounds
  21. Four A Cappella Choruses to Words by M. Isakovsky, Op. 50 (1952)

  22. No. 1, Let Every Hour be Happy!
  23. No. 2, The Oak
  24. No. 3, It is fine to stroll in spring
  25. No. 4, Autumn
  26. Three Choruses to Verses by Moldavian Poets, Op. 52 (1959t60)

  27. No. 1, Twilight in the Valley
  28. No. 2, The Poplar
  29. No. 3, Mariora is going away
  30. To my Grandchildren: Four Choruses A Cappella for Children, Op. 57 (1963)

  31. No. 1, In the Orchard
  32. No. 2, The Bee
  33. No. 3, Raindrops
  34. No. 4, Summer is here
  35. In the Forest Clearing: Seven A Cappella Choruses for Children, Op. 59 (1963)

  36. No. 1, The Snowdrop
  37. No. 2, The Lily-of-the-Valley
  38. No. 3, The Violet
  39. No. 4, The Buttercup
  40. No. 5, The Forget-Me-Not
  41. No. 6, The Dandelion
  42. No. 7, The Carnation
  43. Home Guards’ Chorus, ‘Oh, my Dawn!’, from the film Glinka (1946)

1 review for Vissarion Shebalin: The Complete A Cappella Choral Cycles

  1. :

    ‘The singing of these a cappella pieces – 36 tracks some very short – is magnificent. These settings are by turns resolute and poetic with plenty of variety, The choir sports a treasurably silvery and inwardly lit soprano sound. The music evidently matters to these singers and meticulous professional attention is accorded to every note.

    The music glows soulfully (tr. 12), shows a carefree elite virtuosity and makes play with skipping pinpoint dynamic variation. Cliff-edge changes are handled superbly. Accurate singing from men in tr. 8 and from the men and women in tr. 24 is a pleasure to hear. It’s really bright and delivered at such speed. More than once the music recalled the English choral settings bv Grainger and Moeran. There’s even some Grainger style humming in tr. 18. Russian plainchant is clearly an influence but delightfully used in a secular context. Setting. Trs 3 and 10 recall the inky-deep basses in the best 1960s Sveshnikov recording of Rachmaninov’s Vespers. The Opp. 57 and 59 collections were written for children’s voices but the women handle them cogently and with great success. The Oh My Dawn chorus from the Glinka film score is soulful rather than march-swinging. The recording has been made in a lovely complementary acoustic.’

    —Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

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