Tenebrae / Nigel Short

Russian Treasures

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British choir Tenebrae and its leader Nigel Short have already recorded Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil, and here they offer a large selection of short pieces from the same tradition of Russian Orthodox church music, the ones not by Rachmaninov (or in one case Tchaikovsky) pretty much unknown outside of Russia. As with the earlier release, overall reactions to this one are likely to be determined by how much the music is associated with the peculiar timbre of Russian choirs, whose vocal thickness and deep vibrato Short does not attempt to duplicate. For those who enjoy this somewhat paler but very carefully wrought sound, there are some lovely pieces by the likes of Pavel Chesnokov, Nikolay Golovanov, and Alexander Gretchaninov that seem to create unique static worlds. Most of these works are not as dependent on the ultra-low bass parts as are the established hits of this repertoire, and the program is logically arranged and, as far as it can be in this restricted medium, quite diverse. Definitely an album for choral music fans, and very well recorded at the Church of St. Augustine, Kilburn, England. Other commentators will have to determine the accuracy of Tenebrae's Old Church Slavonic pronunciation.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
1 5:40
All-Night Vigil
2 3:33
3 4:35
All-Night Vigil
4 2:07
Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
5 4:28
6 2:20
7 3:58
8 2:50
9 3:38
10 2:24
All-Night Vigil
11 3:06
12 5:37
Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
13 3:53
14 2:24
15 3:29
16 2:54
17 2:34
All-Night Vigil
18 1:46
blue highlight denotes track pick