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Russian Treasures

4.3 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Conductor: Nigel Short
  • Composer: Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Gretchaninov
  • Audio CD (13 Jan. 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Bene Arte (Signum Classics)
  • ASIN: B00H7YRLMM
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,339 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Product Description

Russian Treasures is the 20th album from award-winning professional choir, Tenebrae, and the first release on new label Bene Arte, established exclusively to record the choir and associated artists. Russian choral music has been a feature in Tenebrae s concert performances since the choir s inception and over the years they have worked extensively with Russian language coaches whilst nurturing their own characteristics of passion and precision to deliver a special and heartfelt tribute to the music of these great composers. This disc was inspired by the rare manuscripts collected by director Nigel Short during his travels around Russia. The exquisite collection includes some little-known gems, rarely heard outside Russia and never before recorded in the UK, as well as some familiar favourites from this vast area of choral repertoire.

Review

5* Review: 'Tenebrae gets closer than many another Anglo- Saxon outfit in majestic interpretations with a beautiful bloom on the recorded sound'...'Here is a chance to discover the riches of Russian choral repertoire over the centuries' --Choir & Organ

An extraordinary performance --Classic FM

(4*)'This music was composed for choirs of top calibre. Tenebrae is certainly one of those.' --The Daily Telegraph

'…a beautifully blended, spaciously paced journey'... 'The basses are phenomenal... the overall sound is gorgeous.' --The Times

Nigel Short lets the Znamenny chant that underpins so much of this music breathe freely, phrasing with improvisatory freshness and sense of discovery. --Gramophone

I have hitherto unstintingly admired and praised every release from this wonderful choir that I have heard. Tenebrae sings beautifully and their artistic director and founder Nigel Short is a superb singer-musician. --Classic FM

(5/5) ***** 'The authentic voice of Russian liturgical music is a challenge for Brits to emulate; there s the unique timbre Church Slavonic an indefinable quality of melancholy and a visceral richness which only the real thing fully delivers.' --Rebecca Tavener, Choir and Organ January/ February 2014

I have hitherto unstintingly admired and praised every release from this wonderful choir that I have heard. Tenebrae sings beautifully and their artistic director and founder Nigel Short is a superb singer-musician. --Classic FM

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I feel a tad diffident about offering a review of this CD/MP3 download in view of the very erudite discussion going on following Ralph Moore's learned review. I have little more than a passing knowledge of the Russian choral tradition, but even so I was struck by the fact that this recording of these fabulous pieces by Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Gretchaninov, Golovanov, Chesnokov, Kalinnikov and Kedrov was by a supremely English (and masterly) choir of the finest English tradition. Despite the rumblings of the basso profundo (I take a more charitable view than Moore: to me it sounds musical rather than the grumblings of Johnson's dog), there is no way that this performance is Russian.

OK, so let's move on. The music itself stunned me, especially the opening piece by Gretchaninov. Having sung one or two of his pieces many years ago, I was astonished that he was capable of quite so much 'purple' harmonisation - the suspensions, added sixths and all the rest of it; I love it. Weirdly, I was reminded of Debussy, although with Russian rather than French angst (celebrating a bit of cultural diversity there!). And in many of the Rachmaninov tracks I felt that Charles Stanford might have modelled his Three Motets (particularly Justorum Animae) on them (fanciful, given that Stanford was 20 years earlier). But there we are, a very personal view.

I would recommend this to any general listener for the sheer beauty of a) the music and b) what Tenebrae do with it. And then listen to the same music sung by a major Russian choir. The latter will be 'right' for the music, the former may well still give you enormous pleasure, as it does me.

I had originally knocked one star off for coming from St Englishman's rather than from St Basil's (yeah I know that's a museum now) but this recoding has given me so much pleasure that I must restore that final star.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am not one to go into long winded and technical explanations as to why I do or do not like a specific CD, but I will simply say that regarding this one, although I am not a person of faith, listening to the glorious a cappella performance of Russian liturgical music sung by the wonderful Tenebrae, I feel my whole being, lifted from the stress of a busy day.
For me, the whole CD is achingly beautiful.....
The CD Booklet is excellent too, in that it gives the words to each piece, both in Russian and English.
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By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 16 Feb. 2014
Format: Audio CD
According to the blurb on the back of this disc, Classic FM has declared…”Tenebrae is current master of the Russian Sound.” Er, no; that’s exactly what they are not and five minutes’ comparison with genuine Russian choirs will confirm it. My touchstones are venerable past and present choirs in my collection such as the Novospassky Monastery Choir, the Russian State Symphonic Capella and the State Academic Russian Choir USSR – or even the Bulgarian National Choir, obviously non-native but still steeped in the right choral tradition.

I have hitherto unstintingly admired and praised every release from this wonderful choir that I have heard. Tenebrae sings beautifully, of course, and their artistic director and founder Nigel Short is a superb singer-musician, but he is not Polyansky or Sveshnikov and this latest issue is a bridge too far. Indeed, I began to lose interest some time before the end of the programme for three reasons: 1) no version here eclipses those performed by native choirs and indelibly burned in my memory as the immutable standard whereby any subsequent performance must be judged; 2) the interpretations are so similar and unvaried in mood that I get no sense of the spiritual conviction which should inform the text; almost every piece is redolent of the atmosphere of a devotional offering sung in the chapel of an English country house or an Oxbridge College; 3) the essential sound is that of an English choir; the basses remind me of Dr Johnson’s dog, insofar as they have the low notes but they are more groaned than resonated.

Five of the eighteen pieces here are from Rachmaninov’s famous “All-Night Vigil” and three are from his “Liturgy of St John Chrysostom”.
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Format: MP3 Download
This sublime albumn makes for a glorious start to 2014. I was fortunate to come across it while browsing online and having enjoyed so many recordings of Tenebrae before, I decided to get my hands on it straightaway.

This unique recording contains several previously unheard material which director Nigel Short collected himself while journeying around Russia, along with some other more familiar pieces. In a recent interview Nigel Short confirmed that some items come from the All Night Vigil of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Most of the pieces are sung in Russian but this does not detract from the recording, but rather adds to the atmosphere, in which one can easily imagine black-robed priests moving among the clouds of incense of Orthodoxy. Having said that, the when English is heard, it is with crystal clarity and "Legend (The Crown of Roses) is a particular pleasure to listen to.

As I listened to the various album tracks I was reminded at times (in "Glory to the Father" for example) of John Taverner's more sombre pieces, especially when hearing the lovely deep bass parts which recur throughout the album. I would think that the basses on "We Hymn Thee" have a resonance which will cause vibrations in the chest cavity of anyone who listens to it.

It is not all sobriety however - the crescendos on Rejoice of Virgin rise up in a glorious climax, descending immediately to a deeply tender conclusion, demonstrating the remarkable dynamic range of this choir. The recording is immaculate as one would expect from this new label Bene Art, set up to record the works of Tenebrae and their associates.
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