Alexander Kastalsky - Requiem
Alexander Kastalsky was a student of Tchaikovsky and a mentor to Rachmaninov, becoming director of the Moscow Synodal School until the Bolshevik regime banned all sacred music, including the extraordinary Requiem for Fallen Brothers which consequently lay forgotten for over a century. The Requiem is a rich and varied mosaic that honours those who perished in the First World War, poignantly combining Orthodox and Gregorian chant with hymns from the allied nations, even including Rock of Ages. This unprecedented and peerless monument to those who made the ultimate sacrifice was acclaimed on its 1917 premiere as a ‘uniquely Russian requiem that… gave musical voice to the tears of many nations’.
Anna Dennis, soprano - Joseph Beutel, bass-baritone The Clarion Choir - Cathedral Choral Society The Saint Tikhon Choir - Kansas City Chorale Orchestra of St. Luke's - Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Alexander Kastalsky - Memory Eternal
Released in 2018, this is the world premiere recording of Alexander Kastalsky's Memory Eternal to the Fallen Heroes. The work was written in 1917 to honor those who lost their lives in the First World War. As the leader of the Moscow Synodal School of Church Singing, Kastalsky was an important influence on Gretchaninoff, Chesnokov and Rachmaninoff, among many others. This work, written at the height of his career, consists of hymns from the Russian Orthodox Memorial Service (Panihida). Memory Eternal to the Fallen Heroes and the three short sacred pieces that end the programme reveal Kastalsky’s masterful use of choral sonority and color, his weaving of complex polyphonic textures, and his graceful use of ancient chant melodies.
Kastalsky Memory Eternal to the Fallen Heroes The Clarion Choir/Steven Fox 2019 GRAMMY nominee - Best Choral Performance Gramophone - Editor's Choice (Oct 2018) BBC Music Magazine - Five Stars for Performance, Five Stars for Production (Nov 2018) MusicWeb International - Recording of the Month (Oct 2018)
'The Clarion Choir's performance is as ardently passionate as it is immaculate in its balance and pacing...[a] hugely admirable project.'
- Jeremy Pound, BBC Music Magazine, Oct 2018
'The flawless ensemble of The Clarion Choir, under the inspirational direction of Steven Fox, has been perfectly captured in this demonstration class recording. …I can think of no better advocates for this wonderful music than this superb choral ensemble. I shall have no hesitation in nominating this stunning recording as one of my choices of the year.'
- Stephen Greenbank, MusicWeb International, Sept 2018
'This is a superlative performance. Steven Fox is an exemplary leader of his forces, and all three soloists render their parts ably. The recorded sound is crystal clear…'
- James A. Altena, Fanfare, Jan 2019
Maximillian Steinberg - Passion Week
This groundbreaking recording of Steinberg's Passion Week was the second recording ever made of the work, made shortly before The Clarion Choir returned this masterpiece to Russia, where it was written in 1923. Clarion gave the New York premiere of this previously lost choral work in 2014, the Russian premiere performances in St. Petersburg's Grand Philharmonic Hall and Moscow's Church for the Immaculate Conception in 2016, and the UK premiere at the Royal Academy of Music in 2016.
2017 GRAMMY nominee - Best Choral Performance BBC Music Magazine Award Nominee, 2017 The Diapason - 5 de Diapason, 2017 BBC Music Magazine Choral and Song Choice, 2016 American Record Guide Critic's Choise, 2016
'... Clarion's handsome voices and the maestro's Slavic sensibilities honor Steinberg's intentions with grand singing and total conviction.'
- Philip Greenfield, American Record Guide, Nov 2016
'The sound here is so full, so sating, that I often forget that I’m listening to an a cappella recording, and when I realize it, I’m in awe at what a collection of human voices can pull off without any instrumental accompaniment ... it is awesome.'
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- James Bennett, WQXR, Apr 10, 2020.
'Written for the Russian Orthodox Church in the early 1920s by Shostakovich's composition teacher Maximilian Steinberg, this profoundly beautiful choral piece lay forgotten for over 90 years. Performed here with breathtaking sensitivity by an outstanding New York-based choir, it emerges as a work of equal stature to Rachmaninov's justly acclaimed Vespers. A wondful discovery.'
- BBC Music Magazine, 2017
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