Publisher: Musica Russica
This CD opens and ends with fascinating examples of Paschal bell-ringing from the Pochaev Monastery of the Dormition. In between, the Pochaev Monastery Choir and clergy offer a resonant rendition of the Paschal Matins service, featuring a number of familiar musical settings (Archimandrite Feofan, Vedel), as well as some lesser-known compositions by such composers as Davidovsky. Also featured are some harmonized chants indigenous to the Pochaev Dormition Lavra. Altogether, the CD presents an excellent and authentic document of the joy and exuberance of the Paschal celebration as it can only be experienced in a large and well-established monastery. The musical traditions of the Pochaev Lavra tend to have more of a Western-classical orientation, typical of the “St-Petersburg/Kievan School,” rather than the “Moscow School,” which is understandable, given that the venerable Pochaev Lavra is located in present-day Western Ukraine, just two hours east of L’viv. The singing is more emotional and dramatic. While this style of church singing was rejected in some quarters of the Orthodox Church, in favor of a more austere, chant-based style, the singing on this CD reflects the mainstream experience for many Orthodox churchgoers and, as this 2012 release indicates, continues to endure, even in a monastic setting. The titles are given in Russian only, and there are no text or translations given. Nonetheless, like it’s Gret-Lenten counterpart, this CD offers an important dimension to the full scope of Orthodox liturgical singing and will be enjoyed by those interested in this perspective. --V.M.