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Grechaninov: Vespers [CD]

Stephen Layton Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £6.34 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Grechaninov: Vespers + [Russian Orthodox Chant] Gretchaninov: Liturgy Of St. John Chrysostom No. 4 + The Seven Days of Passion / Strastnaya Sedmitsa
Price For All Three: £27.98

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Product details

  • Conductor: Stephen Layton
  • Composer: Aleksandr Grechaninov
  • Audio CD (31 Jan 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • ASIN: B004H2PWIM
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,941 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Nïne silï nebesnïya
2. Vo tsarstvii Tvoyem - James Bowman/Holst Singers
3. Nïne otpushchayeshï
4. Vsenoshchnoye bdeniye

Product Description

CD Description

Grechaninov was initially taught by Anton Arensky in Moscow, and then later, in 1890, he went to St Petersburg to study with Rimsky-Korsakov. It was he who influenced his style and helped him launch his professional career. After the Revolution, Grechaninov became increasingly uneasy in Soviet Russia, and in 1925 left for ever. In 1946 he took American citizenship. An unusually versatile and prolific composer, he wrote operas, symphonies, chamber music, over 250 songs, and a great deal of music for children. He has been described as the most representative composer of his generation writing for the Orthodox service. Vespers is part of the All-Night Vigil service, and Grechaninovs setting was composed, premiered, and published in 1912. This precedes Rachmaninovs setting by three years. It appears to have lain dormant for some eighty years until it was revived in America for its first performance of modern times in 1995.

Product Description

Holst Singers - Stephen Layton, direction

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding music 6 Dec 2012
By Liddon
Format:Audio CD
How strange that Rachmaninov's setting of the Vespers should be well known, while this equally towering setting by Grechaninov has yet to find a place in popular approval. Personally, I actually prefer it to the Rachmaninov, but this is a matter of taste. The almost endless variety which Grechaninov achieves from his vocal forces is astonishing. Other reviewers have commented on the outstanding performance by the Holst Singers, and I agree with all they have said, but it is the music which is breathtaking in its power, its depth, and the quality of transcendence which it achieves. There are some items here in addition to the Vespers, and I would particularly commend "Now All the Powers of Heaven", which kept me spellbound when first I heard it and has never lost its power to move me. The recording is at bargain price. Buy it, then turn down the lights, sit quietly, and explore some of the finest liturgical music to come from Russia. May this recording encourage choirs to explore the music of this composer and to sing it in our churches as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid recording - wonderful music 9 Nov 2011
Format:Audio CD
This recording is very impressive. I hadn't heard of the Holst Singers but they obviously know their business. The singing is smooth and unstrained and the essential quality of this typically Orthodox Church Music comes across beautifully. A musical delight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 21 May 2014
By kipper
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
How come this isn't better known? It's quite as good as the Rachmaninov Vespers, and this is a splendid performance. If you like the Rachmaninov, do get this. You won't be disappointed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely powerful 5 Aug 2000
By Mark Swinton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Alexander Gretchaninov, like his contemporary Sergei Rachmaninov, wrote some interesting and beautiful choral music in his time, and on this recording, the Holst Singers under Stephen Layton present a survey of that music, including his "All-Night Vigil" setting. The result is a truly breathtaking combination of unbelievably good singing and remarkable music.
According to the notes, the Holst Singers are an amateur choral society, but their performance on this (their second recording for Hyperion) could teach even professional ensembles a thing or two! The balance is superb, the tone is just right for this musical style, and there is a sense of loving attention poured into each and every note. As for the music, it is something of an acquired taste: those familiar with Rachmaninov's choral music will recognise many of the same elements, including overt and 'Romantic-sounding' harmonies and a rich texture created with heavy divisions in all four parts of the choir. Gretchaninov's setting is around twenty minutes shorter than Rachmaninov's (though there's still quite a bit on the disc, especially with the addition of two motets and a responsorial canticle). By far the most striking thing about this music is the writing for the low basses. Rachmaninov called for a handful of low B flats in his "Vigil;" Gretchaninov has low As and even what sounds like a low A flat! in addition to long sections in which the second basses never rise above a low F. For this reason, the Holst Singers are supplemented on this recording by four of Britain's deepest basses (including Jeremy Birchall, whose exceptionally low notes were used to record John Tavener's "Theophany" some years ago). I am astonished that something so guttural can also be so beautiful and moving to hear - if this doesn't haunt you, it is hard to imagine what will...
James Bowman fans may already know that he is a patron of the Holst Singers, hence he has appeared with them in concert and on record. Unfortunately, in the case of this particular record, 'appearance' really is an operative term: he is only on one track and he takes the role of a cantor, thus being limited to about four notes! Even so, it is a welcome sound, and adds even more to what is a deeply musical experience, moving and joyful.
Listeners hungry for more after having heard Rachmaninov's "All-Night Vigil" should purchase this without hesitation.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apotheosis of the Russian bass -- British style 6 Mar 2010
By Can Belto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is an utterly magnificent recording, and to me, the most amazing thing about it is its origins. As a low bass in the Western tradition, I have struggled more than once to do proper justice to the demands that Gretchaninov places on the low basses who perform his works, eventually concluding that if you're not raised in the Russian liturgical tradition, you simply can't do it. I am happy to report that the Holst Singers, on this recording, prove me completely, utterly wrong. This British group produces a lower register of extraordinary power and dynamism that very much "steals the show" here, yet does so in perfect balance with the higher voices that allows the soaring reverence of the Vespers and its companion pieces to shine through. The result is a performance that would be the envy of the basses in the finest Russian ensembles. Buy it, find a quiet place and time, crank up your sub-woofer, and rejoice in what you're going to hear.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good Vespers, performed exceptionally well by the choir 25 Dec 2013
By Eric S. Kim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Russian choral music never ceases to amaze me. This one from Alexander Grechaninov is also special. It does lack a certain sense of lyricism sometimes, which can ruin certain passages. There are very little hypnotic moments, which can be quite unusual for a religious composition. On the other hand, the technicality and sheer drama of the work is absolutely astounding. This has that Slavic flair that's found in Rachmaninov's Vespers and Tchaikovsky's Liturgy. Grechaninov's Vespers is one that Russian classical music lovers wouldn't want to overlook in their lifetime. In the meantime, the Holst Singers do a marvelous job with the text. The diction is smooth, while the heavy bass is incredibly clear (the choir's got some heavy basses). Stephen Layton is never tedious with his direct but extremely intelligent conducting. The three shorter choral works are nice additions, no poor fillers at all.

Official Grade: 8.1 out of 10
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect!!! 12 Nov 2003
By Kevin Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I love Russian Orthodox music and this is it at its finest. Stephen Layton and the Holst Singers (at Temple Church, London) do an outstanding job on this quality production. The recording comes across chrystal clear. This has become my favorite sacred choral piece. Buy it and support the arts.
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