This, the tenth issue in the remarkable series "Chants of the Russian Émigrés," sustains the high level of excellence of the previous discs, but adds the previously unheard element of an all-female choir. Such choirs are relatively rare, even in Russia, where they are typically found in convents and consist of amateur voices. The "Ozareniye" (Enlightenment) Women's Choir, however, is composed of attractive, well-trained voices. They sing a variety of hymns from Vigil, Divine Liturgy, and various feasts, as well as several selections from the Wedding Service -- another welcome addition, not heard previously. Some of the arrangements are of very familiar melodies that will be instantly recognizable to the typical Russian Orthodox listener; others range a bit father afield, drawing upon the repertory of Bulgarian, Serbian, and Carpatho-Russian chants.
Thanks to the efforts of Fr. Peter Perekrestov and all the fine choirs that participated in this project, the spirits of the composers represented here—Ivan Gardner, the Kedrovs, father and son, Maxime Kovalevsky, Boris Ledkovsky, and the many others—are rejoicing in the heavenly mansions, now that their musical creations, many of them neglected and unrecognized for years, have received a proper hearing in the homeland these men were forced to leave behind. As in previous issues, the bi-lingual booklet (Russian and English) is well-researched and highly informative. This CD will be enjoyed by all lovers of Orthodox church singing and especially, by those who appreciate the sweet sound of women's voices.--V. M.