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CD Review

Olga Senderskaya

MSR 1647

Melody for Love

  • Serge Rachmaninoff:
  • I Am Waiting For You (M. Davidova)
  • Sing Not To Me, Beautiful Maiden (A. Pushkin)
  • Dream (F. Sollogub)
  • Daisies (I. Severyanin)
  • Lilacs (E. Beketova)
  • Aleksey Machavariani: You Full of Beauty (D. Guramishvili)
  • Fernando Obradors: Del Cabello más sutil (anon.)
  • Lenny Sendersky: Melody for Love (L. Sendersky) *
  • Francis Poulenc: Les Chemins de L' amour (Jean Anouilh)
  • Edvard Grieg: A Swan (H. Ibsen; trans. Wilhelm Henzen)
  • Antonín Dvořák: Songs My Mother Taught Me (A. Heyduk)
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Tell Me, What in the Shade of the Branches? (F. Sollogub)
  • Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Not the Wind, Blowing from the Heights (A. Tolstoy)
  • Ernest Sanderson: Song of Love (F. Teshemaher)
  • Mordechai Zeira: Layla, Layla Hebrew Lullaby (Natan Alterman) *
  • Ernest Charles: Let My Song Fill Your Heart (E. Charles)
  • George Gershwin: I Got Rhythm (I. Gershwin) *
Olga Senderskaya, soprano
Bella Steinbuck, piano
* Lenny Sendersky, soprano saxophone
MSR Classics MS1647 53:24
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Here is a recital of varied repertory that should have fairly wide appeal, not least because the selections are generally well chosen both for their musical value and for their suitability to this fine soprano's voice. Olga Senderskaya appears to be in her early thirties and her biographical information divulges considerable experience both in the opera house and on the recital stage. Her educational background includes studies at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and master classes with Elena Obraztsova and Alexandra Shestakova.

Listening to her singing on this disc, one quickly realizes she has the requisite vocal skills for a major operatic and concert career. She has a silken tone, strong upper and lower ranges, and an uncanny chameleonic manner of adapting with great artistic sensitivity to the varying styles of music offered here, from Rachmaninov's passionate outpourings in Sing Not to Me, Beautiful Maiden and Dream, to George Gershwin's spunky I Got Rhythm. Indeed, and her lone contemporary selection and the album's title song, Melody for Love, by Lenny Sendersky (he is related, I'm told – her brother?), comes across most effectively, the song's dark bluesy character given a somewhat stately manner that imparts a measure of weight.

Ms. Senderskaya subtly infuses Ernest Sanderson's Song of Love with fire and passion, perhaps more than this slightly schmaltzy creation deserves. In a way, she does the impossible with it: she makes it sound better than it actually is. She delivers lovely accounts of both Rimsky-Korsakov's Not the Wind, Blowing from the Heights and Mordechai Zeira's Layla, Layla, two numbers that might seem less consequential when sung by another less sensitive artist. In fact, the latter piece especially comes across with far greater emotional impact than in other versions I've heard. Her rendering of Poulenc's Les Chemins de L'amour may be a bit stiff in places but is mostly charming in her grasp of the composer's generally light style.

Her most convincing and powerful performances are the five of Rachmaninov, at least to my ears. But there really isn't a misfire here in any of the seventeen selections, though, to mention a technical issue, the last two or three seconds of I Got Rhythm are cut off, possibly a glitch limited to my copy of the CD only. Also, what may be of concern to some, song texts are not provided by MSR. That said, most, maybe all, of them can be readily found at various web sites.

Bella Steinbuck's accompaniment is fine throughout, as is Lenny Sendersky's in the three numbers that use (sparingly, I might add) his soprano saxophone. MSR's sound reproduction is excellent and will especially be welcomed by those listeners who like vivid, close-up miking techniques. Recommended!

Copyright © 2018, Robert Cummings