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The Sacred Spirit of Russia

Various Composers

Craig Hella Johnson
Harmonia Mundi
CD Price: $19.98


The beautiful music of Russia by kmfron@sbcglobal.net

Posted on March 24, 2015 20:44

Since my choir director is one of the singers, all I can so is wonderful. Great job Cecilia Shinn
Winner 2015 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance! As a prelude to this review a disclosure needs to be made: my company, Musica Russica, and I were intimately involved in every detail of this production, from selecting the repertoire, to consulting with Conspirare's Music Director, Craig Hella Johnson, to on-site coaching of the choir, to sitting in the recording booth listening for minute details of diction, to writing the program notes. None of this, however, changes the fact that this is an outstanding recording of fine repertoire by an extraordinary choral group. The artistic conception is to present "The Sacred Spirit of Russia" through the medium of a festive, Russian cathedral-style Divine Liturgy, assembling musical settings by a variety of composers, in much the same way this is done in most Russian Orthodox churches on a given Sunday or feast day. For this recording, some of the changeable propers were selected for the feast of the Nativity of Christ, although the feast-day rubrics weren't followed in every detail. While much of the program was selected from well-known settings by Chesnokov, Ippolitov-Ivanov, Gretchaninoff, and Rachmaninoff, also featured were lesser-known works by Kastalsky, Sviridov, Martynov, and Ilyashenko; several pieces were world-premiere recordings, even though they were written a century or more ago. The overall results manifest the richness, color, and subtlety of nuance and musical gesture that have given Russian sacred choral repertoire its well-deserved reputation as one of the most sublime forms of human vocal expression ever developed in history. The high professional artistry of Conspirare fully measures up to the task of interpreting and bringing to life the sacred words and their musical embodiment. The lavish packaging presentation by harmonia mundi offers a booklet with introductory notes and translations in English, French, and German, in addition to the original Church Slavonic text in Cyrillic. No collection of great choral music in general or Russian Orthodox sacred music in particular will be complete without this CD.--Vladimir Morosan


No. Composer Title Sheet Music Time Buy
1 Alexander Kastalsky The Great Doxology No. 2, Op.57 Ks123 7:38
2 Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov Bless the Lord, O My Soul Ip004 2:40
3 Alexander Gretchaninoff Glory/Only Begotten Son Gr026 2:35
4 Vladimir Martynov The Beatitudes CMR011 5:16
5 Pavel Chesnokov Come, Let Us Worship, Op. 8, No. 2 Cn015 1:47
6 Georgy Sviridov Christmas Troparion CMR009-4 1:23
7 Alexander Kastalsky Today the Virgin, Op 7b Ks008 1:54
8 Alexander Kastalsky As Many as Have Been Baptized, Op. 18c Ks024 2:14
9 Pavel Chesnokov Cherubic Hymn, Op. 7, No.1 Cn009 4:35
10 Alexander Gretchaninoff The Creed Gr034 4:30
11 Alexander Kastalsky A Mercy of Peace, Op. 6 Ks006 7:44
12 Anonymous Znamenny Chant Hymn to the Mother of God for the Nativity 2:28
13 Alexander Gretchaninoff Our Father Gr037 4:43
14 Pavel Chesnokov Praise the Lord from the Heavens Cn249 2:07
15 Georgy Sviridov A Wondrous Birth CMR010-7 3:57
16 Andrei Ilyashenko We Should Choose to Love Silence Il001 3:03
17 Alexander Gretchaninoff Now the Powers of Heaven Gr049 5:08
18 Pavel Chesnokov Do Not Cast Me Off in My Old Age, Op. 40, No. 5 Cn227 4:48
19 Sergei Rachmaninoff Let Our Mouths Be Filled Ra020 4:31
20 Sergei Rachmaninoff Blessed Be the Name of the Lord Ra021 0:46
21 Alexander Gretchaninoff Preserve, O Lord, for Many Years 1:05
22 Nikolai Kedroff Sr. Our Father Ke001 2:57

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