Serov: Judith

Serov: Judith
Composer Alexander Nikolayevich Serov
Artist Irina Udalova soprano
Elena Zaremba mezzo soprano
Mikhail Krutikov bass
Russian Academic Choir of the USSR
Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra
Andrey Chistiakov conductor
Format 2 CD
Cat. number 9219
EAN code 5029365921923
Release February 2011

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About this release

Alexander Serov (1821-71) is a name unfamiliar to all but the most dedicated Russian classical music officianados. Apart from the ‘Mighty Handful’ – Balakirev, Borodin, Cui, Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov from St Petersburg, and Tchaikovsky in Moscow, several composers can lay claim to inheriting Russian romantic tradition as established by Glinka. Composers such as Dargomisky, L’vov and Serov in particular.

Serov, like Rimsky (Navy), and Borodin (Chemist) did not start out to be a composer . He was a civil servant, and studied music via lessons he received from Josef Hunke via the post! His opera Judith was an instant success, counting the young Tchaikovsky among its fans. His second opera Rogneda gained the composer a royal pension. Sadly his creative powers degenerated after these two works, and a string of tantalising but unfinished projects followed. He died aged 51 of heart failure.
His two complete operas exerted their influence over Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Anton Rubinstein and the young Glazunov.

His music shows his appreciation of Wagner’s leitmotifs (though he lacked the experience to use such a technique effectively), and the form of operas by Verdi and Meyerbeer.

Other information:
- Recorded in 1991: this remains the only recording available of this unusual repertoire.
- An important work in the development of Russian opera written in the 1860-ties in a true romantic dramatic style foreboding the operas of Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky.
- All Russian cast supported by the great Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra.
- A veritable find for opera lovers and connoiseurs.

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Judith: “Overture (Orchestra)”
  2. Judith: Act 1 – “Scene and Arioso: Our sufferings are endless… Cease these blaspheming complaints! (Ozias/Charmis/Eliachim)”
  3. Judith: Act 1 – “Chorus of the People: Our sufferings and our anguish grow worse (Chorus/Ozias)”
  4. Judith: Act 1 – “What is that? Do you hear? (Chorus/Hebrew Warriors/Ozias/Charmis/Eliachim/Achior)”
  5. Judith: Act 1 – “Finale: God of Israel, save thy servants (All)”
  6. Judith: Act 2 – “Judith’s Monologue: The town will thus be delivered (Judith)”
  7. Judith: Act 2 – “These are our last drops of water (Avra/Judith)”
  8. Judith: Act 2 – “The Elders are coming (Avra/Ozias/Charmis/Judith)”
  9. Judith: Act 2 – “Judith, I implore you (Avra/Judith)”
  10. Judith: Act 2 – “Interlude: The March of Holofernes (Orchestra)”
  11. Judith: Act 3 – “Chorus of Odalisques and Dances: Upon the River Euphrates (First Odalisque/Chorus/Second Odalisque)”
  12. Judith: Act 3 – “Out of my sight (Holofernes/Asfaneses)”

Disk 2

  1. Judith: Act 3 – “Chorus of Assyrians: What is happening in the camp… A Jewess of a beauty never seen before (Bagoas/Chorus)”
  2. Judith: Act 3 – “Behold, Holofernes has heard the news (Bagoas/Chorus/Holofernes/Judith/Avra/Asfaneses)”
  3. Judith: Act 3 – “Final Chorus: There is no power on earth equal to ours (Chorus)”
  4. Judith: Act 4 – “Prelude…Bacchanalian Dance of the Odalisques”
  5. Judith: Act 4 – “Dance of Two Almahs (Orchestra)”
  6. Judith: Act 4 – “Festive Chorus. Orgy of Holofernes: Fill the cups with wine (Chorus/Holofernes/Bagoas)”
  7. Judith: Act 4 – “Hindu Song: I love you, shining moon (Bagoas)”
  8. Judith: Act 4 – “Holofernes’s Song of Battle: These songs about women (Holofernes/Bagoas/Asfaneses/Chorus)”
  9. Judith: Act 4 – “Judith, approach (Holofernes/Judith/Avra/Bagoas/Chorus)”
  10. Judith: Act 4 – “Finale: But where are you, Jewess? (Holofernes/Judith/Bagoas/Avra)”
  11. Judith: Act 5 – “Chorus of the Starving: If God has abandoned us (Chorus/Achior/Ozias/High Priest/Judith/Charmis)”
  12. Judith: Act 5 – “Here is the head of Holofernes (Judith/Achior/Chorus/Priest/Ozias)”
  13. Judith: Act 5 – “Final Chorus: We have conquered (Chorus/Judith)”