These are some of the best performances of this repertoire to be found on CD. The album would make a great gift for any lover of choral music, but particularly those who appreciate traditional Russian sacred music and the rich legacy which it fosters in our current times.
The Credo Chamber Choir, featured on Track 7, Sviridov's "Holy God," is excellent. The piece, which is lush and tonal, sounds more modern than some of the other works, and the choir displays amazing breath support, with beautiful cadences and a sense of phrasing that would put many choirs to shame.
Other standout performances include those of the Eva Quartet, which is the Anonymous 4 of the Bulgarian music tradition. Their offerings (Track 2 and Track 8) help to break up the deeply beautiful, but cavernous singing in most of the selections, with a poignantly innocent and brighter sound.
The album contains pieces from a variety of traditions: Bulgarian, Georgian, Estonian, the Orthodox liturgy, and even a piece by American composer Georgia Kelly, performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale (Track 6). In this work, one can hear the synthesis of some of these musical traditions as presented by the American choral voice. Track 10, Urmas Sisask's Dombinus Vobiscum, sung by The Chamber Choir Eesti Projekt, is heavily influenced by orthodox chant, and passes the text through the different voices, finally fading back into the shadows with the basses.
This is a great CD and a must-have for any serious collector.