Jacques Imbrailo - Sibelius & Rachmaninov: Songs - The Scotsman

Sibelius and Rachmaninov may have been near contemporaries, but they lived either side of the psychological divide that distinguished Russia from its occupied Grand Duchy, Finland, prior to the latter’s independence in 1917. There could be no mistaking the contrast between the heaving Russian spirit of Rachmaninov’s orchestral works and the rugged Finnish nationalism of Sibelius. Nonetheless, both composers wrestled with the emerging modernism of the 20th century, and this is nowhere more evident in their intimate and straightforwardly evocative song settings. Baritone Jacques Imbrailo and pianist Alisdair Hogarth highlight the similarities and contrasts in this delightfully nuanced recording, pitting the absorbing simplicity of Sibelius’ Five Christmas Songs, Op 1 and Five Songs, Op 37, and the heightened ardour of På veranden vid havet and evocations of Säv, säv, susa against the soulful intensity of a Rachmaninov collection that ranges from the adulatory Letter to KS Stanislavsky to the bubbling waters of Vesennije vody.

The Scotsman
24 May 2018