Notes and Editorial Reviews
Matthew Best and the Corydon Singers received great acclaim for their recordings of Rachmaninov's choral music, and now they turn to two of Tchaikovsky's infrequently aired choral works. The English choral tradition frequently gets criticized for a white, cool sound, but in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, there is certainly nothing staid about these performances. The Corydon Singers' vigor and commitment is anything but reticent, nearly overwhelmingly so in the rhapsodic vocal writing of the Cherubic Hymn section. This is dramatic, full-blooded, and unapologetically emotional singing that fully demonstrates the operatic elements that so discombobulated the Orthodox Church authorities.
The Nine Sacred Choruses are even
more impressive, offering atmospheric, beautifully blended singing. Perhaps in the English tradition the balance tends to favor the high voices at the expense of the low end of the spectrum, and though the subterranean Russian basses are missed at times, the refined commitment of the Corydon Singers under Best's skillful direction is both dynamic and idiomatic. The lovely miniature setting, The Angel Cried, makes an offbeat and worthy centerpiece.
The recorded sound is atmospheric; but, oddly for this label's usually supremely conscientious annotation, the venue is not named. Though Russian choruses claim a certain authenticity with a dark, mellow quality that Western choirs cannot quite match, nonpurists looking for the two main works on this disc will be satisfied with these fine, committed performances.
-- Lawrence A. Johnson, Fanfare
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Works on This Recording
An Angel crying by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Written: 1887; Russia
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