MISSORGSKY: Boris Godounov
Aleksander Taymbalyuk(Boris Godouniv). Maxim Paster (Shuisky). Mika Kares (Pimen). Sergei Skorokhodov (Grigory). Alexey Tikhomirov (Varlaam). Göteborg Opera Chorus. Gohenburg Symphony Orchestra / Kent Negano, cond
BIS SACD 2320 (2 disks) TT: 125:15

SCHUBERT: Wintereisse
Peter Hattei, baritone. Lars David Nilsson, piano
BIS SACD 2444 TT: 69:07

BEETHOVEN: The Complete Variations
Ronald Brautigam, fortepiano
BIS SACD 1882 (6 disks) TT: 6 hrs. 49:23

Mussorgsky wrote the libretto for his opera Boris Godounov basing it on Pushkin's story about the ill-fated Russian Tsar He completed it in 1869 but the Imperial Theatres rejected it primarily because there was no leading female role or love interest. Mussorgsky then rewrote the opera adding the character of the Princess Marina and a politically motivated love between her and Dimitri. The revised version was completed in 1872 and two years later it was performed in St. Petersburg. Mussorgsky's friend, Rimsky-Korsakov, revised the opera somewhat and re-orchestrated much of it, and this is he version usually heard today. I much prefer Rimsky-Korsakov's version, which is standard repertory for most opera companies. I treasure the two recordings featuring Boris Christoff in the title role. There are many recordings and videos; this site mentioned three of the most important, by Chaliapin, Christoff, and Alexander Pirogov (REVIEW). This interesting new BIS recording gives us the opportunity to her the original version in a fine performance featuring mostly Russian singers with Alexander Tsymbalyuk as Boris. While this starker original version is important, I imagine most listeners would prefer the Rimsky-Korsakov version. This new release includes the complete libretto. The recording was made during live performances plus additional sessions March 2 - 11, 2017 in Sweden's Gothenburg Concert Hall, and the BIS engineering is excellent. The complete libretto is included.

Swedish baritone Peter Mattei (b. 1965) has been acclaimed in major opera houses, a major figure in the operatic world. At the beginning of his career he was chosen to appear with Sir George Solti and Claudio Abbado, and since then has appeared wih many oher major conducors. He has starred at theSwedish Opera, the Vienna State Opera, Metropolitan Opera and other major venues. Usually he specializes in Mozart. He has made a number of recordings of varied repertory including music of his native Sweden. His performance of Schubert's Wintereisse is a winner and has the advantage of well balanced audio. The recording was made November 2018 in Sweden's Studio Acousticum, Pitea. Complete texts and translations are provided.

Dutch pianist Ronald Brautigam has a huge discography and many of his recordings hve been praised on this site. He has recorded a wide range of music including works of Prokofiev, Weinberg and Shostakovich, but he is best known for his Beethoven and Mozrt. BIIS now has released this 6-disk set of all of Bethoven's variations and oher solo piano works. All of these have been reeased before, but now we have them in a singe box at a siomewhat reduced price. Each disk includes oiginal bookls from original releases.

Between 2003 and 2015, Ronald Brautigam recorded all of Beethoven's music for solo piano a huge undertaking resulting in a grand total of 15 highly acclaimed albums. Choosing to perform the works on the fortepiano, Brautigam began with a sonata cycle which caused one reviewer to talk of a challenge to the very notion of playing this music on modern instruments, a stylistic paradigm shift. In 2010, after nine albums of sonatas, he went on to record the composer's variations, bagatelles and other piano pieces a staggering array of works ranging from a Bagatelle lasting 11 seconds to the monumental Diabelli Variations, and from a charming Rondo in C major composed by a 13-year old Beethoven, to what is often referred to as the composer's Last Musical Thought, an Andante maestoso dated 1826. Brautigam's sonata recordings were released in a box set in 2014, and they are now followed by this 6-album set of the remaining works for solo piano, in the original hybrid format, and with full documentation in the form of the original booklets. Composed over the course of more than 40 years, the music is performed on three different instruments, all by the master builder Paul McNulty, demonstrating the rapid development that the fortepiano underwent during Beethoven's lifetime.