Victor Ivanovich Nikitin (Виктор Иванович Никитин) sings “Winter Evening” (Зимний вечер) with the Alexandrov Ensemble, conducted by Boris Alexandrovich Alexandrov. Words by P.B. Terentev, music by M. Isakovski. Recorded at the Domovina Studio, Prague, 20 June 1951.
This is an interesting crossover song, in that Ensemble soloists had exclusive repertoires, so when one left, another would inherit. Here, Nikitin interprets Winter Evening quite differently from Vinogradov who “had” it previously, but in Nikitin’s performance you can hear shades of Vinogradov’s careful style, which was quite different from Nikitin’s natural approach. You can also hear charming inflections in Nikitin’s tone, which Belyaev – the great mimic and inheritor of Nikitin’s repertoire – would later use to great effect in other songs, even though Belyaev’s own voice lacked the sweetness of Nikitin’s. To understand these soloists, it is essential to be aware of the recordings of their predecessors.
. . . Then there is Lemeshev, who recorded an interpretation of Winter Evening similar to Nikitin’s in 1966, but by then he was 64 years old. So, was Nikitin influenced by an earlier performance by Lemeshev?