Russian Orthodox church music did not disappear after the 1917 revolution but continued to exist in a semi-underground state, partly because Stalin kind of liked the stuff and was in any event more worried about persecuting Shostakovich and other more potentially critical composers. Nevertheless, the composers represented on this collection all faced substantial danger at one time or another as a result of having remained in the Soviet Union. The music resembles that of earlier Russian religious music in the Romantic tradition, perhaps denatured a bit in the works of some of the composers by the mainstream of secular Romanticism. Sample the Cherubic Hymn of Pavel Chesnokov, which is not so much cherubic as stentorian, but which is a truly stirring work. The Moscow Patriarch Choir of Christ the Saviour Cathedral under Ilya Tolkachev is exceptionally strong, but the real standouts here are the Christophorus engineers, who obtain a deeply resonant, but perfectly clear sound in that structure. Highly recommended for lovers of the Russian choral sound.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
St Simeon's Prayer "Lord, Now Lettest Thou Thy Servant Depart in Peace", Hymn from the All-Night Vigil