- Performer: Harmonia Sacra, Peter Leech (conductor)
- Conductor: Peter Leech
- Composer: Dimitry Bortnyansky, Giuseppe Sarti, Baldassare Galuppi, Aleksandr Varlamov, Mikhail Glinka, et al.
- Audio CD (9 April 2012)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Nimbus Alliance
- ASIN: B007PEC86I
- Other Editions: MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 314,222 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Cherubim & Seraphim - Russian Orthodox Choral Works
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In Russia, despite the westward vision of Tsar Peter the Great by 1700 the repertory of the St Petersburg Imperial Chapel Choir was still dominated by a style heavily dependent upon homophony. Stronger Western influences would be felt when central European musicians flocked to take up opportunities in Russia during the first decades of the eighteenth century. A courtly preference for Italian music grew, reaching a high point during the reign of Catherine the Great (1762-96), influencing two centuries of ethereal and spine-tingling Orthodox choral works.
About the Artist
Harmonia Sacra were formed by Peter Leech in 2009 specifically for the performance of late-Renaissance and early-Baroque music, and received critical acclaim at their inaugural 2009 Advent Reflections concert as a fine body of singers (Bristol Evening Post). They have gone from strength to strength, delighting audiences with fresh and uplifting performances. An international award-winning conductor, Peter has directed a wide variety of professional and amateur European and Australian ensembles with consistent critical acclaim. A specialist in music of the late enaissance and early Baroque periods, his many interests include seventeenth-century English court music, Russian Orthodox choral music and Iberian polyphony from 1500-1700. He is also a composer and passionately committed to contemporary music.
Top customer reviews
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Here is a collection of Russian Orthodox choral works from the reigns of Catherine the Great and Tsar Nicholas II. Nothing unusual in that, I suppose, but these works are sung by an English choir, Harmonia Sacra, which is completely new to me. They were formed in 2009, by their music director, Peter Leech, for the performance of late Renaissance and early Baroque choral music. All these Russian songs are sung without instrumental accompaniment, as was the tradition in those times. I cannot pretend that Harmonia Sacra sound like a Russian choir, they do not, as there is a complete absence of the strong, warm, deep, resonant Russian bass sound that one hears in Russian folk and classical ensembles and in works such as Rachmaninov's Vespers. Nevertheless, this is a very good choir, well recorded and I'm sure that many lovers of choral singing will be thrilled at the standard achieved by Harmonia Sacra on this CD. Many of the items sung are by Dmitri Bortnyansky (1751-1825) but there are also single pieces by better known composers including Glinka, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. A number are described as 'Cherubic Hymns', hence the CDs title. Overall, I have to recommend this CD to you as a fine example of the broad category of choral works that English choirs are including in their repertoires in recent times. The booklet notes, written by Richard Leech, give a fine account of the items recorded. A very worthwhile disc to add to your collection.
The sleeve notes are extremely interesting and comprehensive written by Peter Leech, the conductor of the CD's performers, Harmonia Sacra, the ensemble he founded in 2009 especially to perform later Renaissance and early Baroque music. Again, it surprised me to see that there are 10 sopranos and only 4 tenors, 8 altos and 7 basses, with Peter Leech himself as the cantor. The sound is exquisite. Try it! It's lovely.
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