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Here’s a fine conspectus of the Russian choral tradition; its ancient hymns and offices, given new and rich harmonic robes by great Russian composers, and sung by ensembles who have this music in their blood, as indeed they must if its peculiar timbres are to make their haunting effect upon the listener. Clouds of incense swirl around our listening room as we are transported back centuries – whether two or ten – to a style of worship in which beauty is offered to God as an end in itself.
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All-Night Vigil, Op. 59 "Vsenoshchnoye bdeniye"
Vespers, Op. 37
Olga Borusene (soprano), Yuri Korinnyk (tenor) & Mykhaylo Tyshchenko (tenor)
The National Academic Choir of Ukraine ‘Dumka’, Yevhen Savchuk
Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op. 31
The Russian State Symphony Capella, Valery Polyansky
Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op. 41
The National Academic Choir of Ukraine ‘Dumka’, Yevhen Savchuk

The Rachmaninoff Vespers—more properly, the All-Night Vigil —is far and away the best-known piece here; stunningly beautiful, it is justly esteemed the greatest musical setting ever written of an Orthodox liturgy. (Ironically, it has never been officially approved by ecclesiastical authority for liturgical use in the Orthodox Church, due in part to the composer’s de facto excommunication for marrying a distant cousin within ecclesiastically forbidden degrees of consanguinity, and in part to deviations in the composition itself from the strict traditional rules governing the treatment of traditional znamenny chant melodies.) This is one of the better recordings, with three fine soloists

Brand New /sealed 5CD Box
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