The Marriage - Acts I & II (Size: 323.27 MB) (Files: 36)
The Marriage - Acts I & II
01 The Marriage - Act I (Mussorgsky-Ippolitov-Ivanov).flac
02 The Marriage - Act II (Ippolitov-Ivanov).flac
The Marriage - Acts III & IV
01 The Marriage - Act III (Ippolitov-Ivanov).flac
02 The Marriage - Act IV (Ippolitov-Ivanov).flac
The Marriage - cover, libretto, etc
The Marriage - libretto
01 Mussorgsky - letter to Golenischev-Kutuzov (extract).jpg
02 Mussorgsky - letter to Golenischev-Kutuzov (extract).jpg
03 Ippolitov-Ivanov - Credo.jpg
Mussorgsky - drawing of 1876 by Alexandrovsky.jpg
Mussorgsky - The Marriage - cover (Westminster, 1956).jpg
Mussorgsky - The Marriage - label (Westminster, 1956).jpg
Modeste Mussorgsky (1839-1881) - Zhenitba (The Marriage) - Completion by Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935) - Opera in 4 Acts - Libretto taken from The Marriage by Nikolai Gogol - Alexandra Yakovenko, Soprano / Nina Kulagina, Soprano / Anna Matiushina, Mezzo-soprano / Daniel Demyanov, Baritone / Pavel Pontriagin, Tenor / Sergei Kasbanov, Bass / Sergei Fomichev, Tenor / Alexei Lebedev, Tenor / State Radio Orchestra of the U.S.S.R. / Alexei Kovalev
This recording has been out of circulation for a long time. This is an odd situation for a recording of a pivotal work such as Mussorgsky's first experimental opera attempt - one which continues to be seldom recorded, to say the least. In fact, this is most likely the only recording of the Ippolitov-Ivanov completion. Just to keep matters straight, however - Mussorgsky only finished the first act of The Marriage in 1868, leaving it in piano score; Ippolitov-Ivanov composed and added three additional acts in 1931, orchestrating the whole. By last count, there are six other versions of The Marriage: Rimsky-Korsakov, 1908; Gauk, 1917; d'Harcourt, 1930; Tcherepnin, 1937; Duhamel, 1954; and Rozhdestvensky, 1982. Whether Ippolitov-Ivanov was "successful", "unsuccessful", "in between", or "somewhere outside" with his completion, will be the listener's decision (the main idea here is to make the recording available ... and recordings like this one are simply no longer made).
The performances presented here are first-rate; and the sound compares with the numerous opera recordings made in the U.S.S.R. during the 1950s, some of them very fine from an artistic standpoint - including this one.
LP restoration of material issued 1956 (Westminster label).
Includes original cover and scans of complete Russian / English libretto, etc.
From the notes for this set:
"Mussorgsky, who throughout his career felt that the aim of art was communication to the people, put into The Marriage his first and most daring exposition of naturalistic expression. He had become especially interested in the work of Dargomizhsky, who was then engaged in writing The Stone Guest, a rather extreme example of operatic naturalism. Mussorgsky felt encouraged to use the text of Gogol's comedy, The Marriage, as the basis for an opera in which lyrical qualities and traditional musical forms were subordinated to the expression of the play's verbal content. He began on June 23, 1868, finishing the first act on July 20. This one act was presented with piano accompaniment at a private performance at Cui's on October 6, the composer himself singing the lead role. Thereafter, this work joined Mussorgky's shelf of uncompleted projects. Rimsky-Korsakov edited Mussorgsky's piano score with relatively few changes, and it was published by Bessel in 1908. In 1931 Ippolitov-Ivanov took up the project and completed the opera, carrying on with the same idiom and style which Mussorgsky had boldly projected. This completed version was first produced in 1931 in Moscow.
The Marriage is one of the very first operas in which the language of everyday speech, rather than the formalized language of poetry, was set to music. Indeed, the work was frankly given the subtitle. 'An experiment of dramatic music in prose.' Rimsky-Korsakov fully appreciated the significance of this work, for he wrote in his preface to the piano score:
'Mussorgsky considered this experiment as a student work and could not make up his mind to continue it. But this is more than a student work. On the contrary, the work of the young Mussorgsky is an experiment purposely turning away from the old fashioned in order to make capable of cultivation a field of tone art at that time still entirely untouched. Out of the composer's useful and determined forward urge one can explain all the harmonic, melodic and rhythmical extremes which are heard in this work...'
In choosing the play of Gogol, Mussorgsky had at hand a dramatic framework based upon idiomatic language and natural life situations. The musical setting provided by Mussorgsky aimed at preserving this complete naturalism: the speeches from the play were used intact; the rhythm and continuity of the stage action was preserved; and traditional conceptions of musical style were avoided. Where Mussorgsky edited Gogol's words, it was to make them even more colloquial or to cut out speeches which unnecessarily held up the action. The whimsical and farcical situations are appropriately communicated by the music.
In the same year, 1868, that the first act of The Marriage was finished, Mussorgsky set forth on his next great project, Boris Godonov. His creative impulse was at the full, for he completed the original seven-scene version of Boris in July, 1869. Khovanschina, likewise based upon vital senes in the story of the Russian people, followed in 1873. Mussorgsky's later achievements in opera are significantly preceded by his bold departure with The Marriage, which indeed is an influential forerunner of the naturalistic operas of the twentieth century."