Rachmaninov’s rarely heard, and unfinished opera, Monna Vanna is recorded here in a newer edition by Gennadi Belov and led by Vladimir Ashkenazy, an iconic artist and expert in Russian music.This recording of Monna Vanna is a world première recording of the sung Russian version – the language in which Rachmaninov originally intended the opera to be performed.Rachmaninov wrote Act 1 of Monna Vanna in 1907, whilst also completing some of his major works: Symphony No. 2 and his first piano sonata. Rachmaninov never completed the work and it fell into oblivion until it was finally premièred in New York, 1984.The Second part of this disc features the Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski. She records seven songs by Rachmaninov – including the hauntingly beautiful Vocalise – and is accompanied by Ashkenazy on piano.
“It’s characteristic mature, if not memorable, Rachmaninov, well sung by students. If the songs will entice collectors, completists will have to have the Monna Vanna.” The Sunday Times
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