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In a remarkable sequence of events, the score of the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom by a Roman Catholic composer from the country of Georgia, Zakaria Paliashvili (1871-1933), based on chant melodies close to a thousand years old, supplied by a Russian-American researcher to an American choir, is heard for the first time sung in Georgian on this premiere recording!*) Unlike the more common Georgian liturgical singing, which is sung in three parts by men’s voices, these arrangements were composed for six- to seven-part mixed choir, no doubt under the influences of the composers of the “new Russian choral school” of the early 20th century—Taneyev and Ippolitov-Ivanov, among others— under whom Paliashvili studied. The Capitol Hill Chorale, a non-professional chorus of 100 voices, does a fine job of negotiating the complexities of the Georgian language (which is unlike any European language), and the unusual modalities of Paliashvili’s chant arrangements. The recording makes no attempt to recreate any of the liturgical dialogues (litanies and other responses) that characterize Orthodox services, which would have undoubtedly complicated the project even further; consequently, they sing a string of “Lord, have mercy” responses simply one after another, as they appear in the score. Nevertheless, the majesty of the Georgian chant and the beauty of Paliashvili’s score emerge fully for the entire world to hear for the first time, and for that the Capitol Hill Chorale is to be thanked. The attractive booklet contains an introductory essay by Chorale founder Parker Jayne, and texts in Georgian script, phonetics, and English translation. This is unique disc, not be be missed! Recommended for all lovers of Orthodox liturgical singing.--V.M.
*)An earlier recording of this work, by the Cantus Ensemble under Liudmilla Arshavskaya (our cat. No. K07) was sung in Church Slavonic, according to a variant text underlay provided by Paliashvili.
|The Great Litany
|Bless the Lord, O My Soul
|Come, Let Us Worship
|Before Thy Cross
|As Many of You Who Have Been Baptized
|Alleluia, Glory to Thee, O Lord
|Litany After Cherubic Hymn
|Mercy of Peace
|We Praise Thee
|It Is Meet
|Praise the Lord from the Heaven)
|You Are a Vineyard
|Christ Is Risen from the Dead