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In 2009, the venerable Valaam Monastery celebrated 20 years since its re-opening and revival in post-Communist Russia. During those 20 years, the monasterys musical traditions have been uniquely shaped by the vision and activity of its choir directors, first Hierodeacon Gherman (Ryabtsev) and more recently, Hieromonk David (Legeida). Taking the ancient local Valaam chant variants and other melodies, they have wedded it to the Byzantine manner of liturgical chanting by adding an ison (drone) that is not apparent in the notation. In this respect, they follow the direction of chant scholar Anatoly Konotop, who has suggested that certain heretofore uninterpretable markings in the manuscripts are indicators of the ison. From another direction, the Valaam Brethren Choir have taken traditional Greek Byzantine melodies and adapted them into Church Slavonic, thus retracing the process that had occurred centuries earlier. The hymns on this CD are all new recordings, free of the sometimes heavy-handed electronic studio enhancement that characterized some of Fr. Ghermans earlier efforts; refreshingly, the ison is sung by real voices, rather than rendered by an ison machine. The beautiful booklet of this French edition contains an introduction and text translations in French and English. This is a must-have recent recording for all who have enjoyed previous releases from the Valaam Monastery Brethren.--V. M.