It may just be my own impression of current fashions, but it seems at the moment that there are lots of people releasing discs of German lieder, what with Matthias Goerne's new project of using all manner of different accompanists to do Schubert, for example (and apparently with only mixed success, from reports of live concerts that have come my way), and there don't seem to be a great many Russian discs around. Perhaps that's because large Russian bass-baritones are less sexy than lissom tenors, or it might be down to global politics. I don't know.
What is clear, is that this disc presents three fabulous song cycles, along with some other very attractive individual songs, all performed by a bass-baritone at the very height of his powers. Christoff possesses a wonderful voice: dark and expressive, capable of intense power, uncompromising. Yet he does not slip into the barrel-chested echo chamber effects of so many bass-baritones, and he maintains a keenly focused tone throughout.
The music is similarly powerful, and you shouldn't expect pretty tunes to hum along to, but it is glorious and overwhelming at times. In the works for voice and piano one senses what could almost be called an emptiness, but with orchestra the effect is majestic, and not dissimilar to his operatic works.
For anyone interested in song, this vintage recording is a cracking bargain.