With few exceptions, Tchaikovsky's romances are not his best material. Nevertheless, an integral recording of his more than one-hundred songs is a welcome development. Soprano Ljuba Kazarnovskaya renders them quite nicely-though on occasion her vocal production is less than ideal, and a number of her high notes are strained. Pianist Ljuba Orfenova's performance is idiomatic-although regrettably, the recording technique displaces the piano sound to the background, making her an "accompanist" in the old-fashioned sense.
The production values on this recording are less than desirable. The liner notes are skimpy and uninformative. Poor editing is all too prevalent. A track titled "The terrible minute" on the front cover, becomes "The fearful minute" on the back; "Fall asleep, my sad friend," is elsewhere rendered "Sleep, poor friend." The sequence of the repertoire is also questionable: I would have preferred to have all the songs under a single opus number together. On this disc, however, everything is jumbled up, for no logical reason.