Notes and Editorial Reviews
This wonderful recording, originally issued in the 1980s on Erato, is back—and returns to its place among the best performances. Not all listeners will agree with some of Rostropovich’s emotive expression—a little too much energy here; the tempo a bit stretched there, a bit too “dance-like” there—but there’s no doubt as to the presence throughout of a reverence for and deeply-felt understanding of the work’s spiritual essence. And you can’t but appreciate this American choir’s mastery of the Russian, nor the full-bodied, warm-toned choral sound that fairly captures an appropriate “Russian” character without sounding the slightest bit contrived. Of course, Rostropovich’s artistic hand and native-expertise in the language and musical
tradition had a lot to do with the success of the performances, and the first-rate Choral Arts Society of Washington responded wholly and enthusiastically. The acoustics of Washington Cathedral cast the choir’s beautiful sound in a naturally vibrant atmosphere that is a bit too resonant for me, but somehow just seems to enliven the textures and harmonies.
-- David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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