This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Tchaikovsky's devotion to the Orthodox Church and its music was more emotional and aesthetic than strictly religious, though there is evidence that he thought wistfully of the consolations of a faith that gave him problems. His setting of the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom is certainly a sincere work of art, a gesture by a great composer towards a centrally Russian tradition that was as potent for him as it was for virtually every Russian. Here lay a problem, for the authorities regarded the ancient chants as inviolable truth, and any tampering with them in the form of an arrangement was taken as heretical, if not actually blasphemous. Tchaikovsky's setting was to be the subject of a famous lawsuit, which he won, though he had to endure the
denunciation of the Church, in the form of an attack by ''an old Moscow minister of the Church'' (in fact, the Metropolitan of Moscow). He was not seriously ruffled, and need not have been, for his settings are respectful and do little but enhance the chants tactfully. Very seldom is there anything in the way of counterpoint. The work's merit is that it presents some very beautiful old chants in a setting that gives them some heightened expression, and that can serve to introduce Western listeners to an unfamiliar tradition.
The Bulgarian Choir are well familiar with this style, and the performance gains from being presented in the manner of an actual celebration, with chanted prayers introducing and linking the choral works. The choral sonorities, which are the most prominent artistic feature of the work, are well caught in the recording, though there is a certain distance in the acoustic, perhaps deliberately. There is a brief but helpful note by Edward Johnson.
-- John Warrack, Gramophone [6/1989]
Reviewing Chandos 1020
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