For those of you who share an interest in Russia’s last emperor and tsar, I highly recommend these CDs, both of which feature music honouring his life and reign.
The first, God Save the Tsar. Military Band Music of Imperial Russia (2013) features 25 archival recordings from 1900 to 1912. Of particular note are 2 versions of ‘God, Save the Tsar!’ assorted regimental marches which include ‘Tsesarevich Nikolai Alexandrovich March of 6 May 1892’, among others.
This CD includes an illustrated 36 page booklet, which includes the following 3 essays: The Last Tsar; Military Music in Imperial Russia; Russian Military Music in the Reign of Nicholas II; as well as notes on each of the 25 recordings featured on this excellent CD.
The second, Царь Николай / Tsar Nikolai (1999) features 12 recordings by the prominent Russian singer and folk musician. Zhanna Bichevskaya (born 1944).
Her voice, her words touch one’s soul. Some critics have dubbed her the Russian Joan Baez. Her unique style of music is often described as Russian country-folk. She performed a series of White Guard officer’s songs, as well as a series of patriotic, monarchist and religious songs, including songs dedicated to the Romanov Holy Martyrs. One does not need to understand Russian to be touched by these beautiful songs.
NOTE: this CD can also be ordered from online shops that specialize in CDs imported from Russia, some of which are located in the United States.
Of particular note on this CD is the haunting title track Царь Николай (Tsar Nikolai) – click on the video below to listen to his beautiful melody. The video features vintage film footage of Nicholas II and his family.
© Paul Gilbert. 29 June 2020