The Live Recital with Daniel Barenboim is Pure Romance through the music of Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky
Admittedly, I have been waiting for this recording since I reviewed I Capuleti E I Montecchi featuring Ms Netrebko last July --not that this CD was even a consideration at the time, since In the Still of the Night was recorded the following month (August 2009). Still, hearing her voice created a longing to hear it again, to revel in the passion she has for both music and words. Her voice as Juliette "tore my heart out with “Eccomi in lieta vesta”." The music in her latest release is no less stirring capturing the sentiments from her mother Russia.
This is Russian music of the late 19th-Century, full of emotional angst and turmoil. Track 8, from Rimsky-Korsakov's Four Songs, Op. 2 No. 2 "Plenivshis' rozoy, solovey" (Captivated by the Rose, Nightingale) is about the unrequited love of a Nightingale for a Rose. While the Rose listens to the beautiful song, it does not understand why the song is so solemn. Perhaps not understanding` Russian makes the song even more pointed: Netrebko's voice is so very divine and yet so very despondent. She sang this song on her album Souvenirs (2008), but the live performance here captures much more of the agony.
Later, with Track 12, Tchaikovsky's Op 57. No. 1 "Skazhi, o chom v teni vetvey" (Tell Me, What in the Shade of the Branches?), we are presented with another song of love alone, but here the passion and furor is more surface. "What thoughts torment a young girl, alone,... love." We are given a glimpse at the turmoil Tchaikovsky's own life went through as he struggled with unfulfilled love for singer Désirée Artôt.
Daniel Barenboim is delicate with his accompaniment, sensitive to the sentiments of the music and the rich tender voice of Anna Netrebko. The piano under the hands of Barenboim is more the comforting friend as Netrebko bares her soul.
The CD retains the enthusiasm of the audience after each track, giving the listener the desire to applaud. If the CD is so rich and complete, the live performance must have been breath-taking.
Don't feel as thought the entire CD is delving into the depression of unrequited love. "Den li tsarit?" is a delightful rejoicing in the constant thoughts of love. Netrebko finishes the concert uplifting the audience and soaring with joy. It is no wonder they were so enthusiastic, requesting two encores (both included on the album) -- one by Dvorak, the other by Strauss.