Publisher: Musica Russica
This welcome new addition to the array of recordings of Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil comes from the city of Saratov, Russia, which is becoming established as a new center of excellence in the area of Russian Orthodox liturgical singing. Five choirs, totaling approximately 80 singers have combined to tackle Rachmaninoff’s monumental masterpiece. Clearly these aren't rank-and-file amateur church choir singers: they achieve impressive levels of intonation, ensemble, and nuance. Most impressive is the clarity and transparency of the choral texture, which likens the sound of this choir to that of the Moscow Synodal Choir of men and boys who premiered the All-Night Vigil. As Dr. Marina Rakhmanova points out in the liner notes, this recording represents "a completely different era [in the realm of Russian church singing], a sign of life and rebirth...a young, radiant, and transparent sound." The tempos on this recording are conservative, but as a result, one hears the most amazing vertical combinations of harmonic and timbral color, which are often lost at more vigorous tempos. The titles and Dr. Rakhmanova's fine notes are in Russian and English.--V.M.