Orthodox Music (79)
This is the second Choral Masterworks recording of Russian liturgical music (actually the third in the series), and is another collection of magnificent recordings in the tradition of Russian choral singing. The hymnology ranges from the Divine Liturgy to the Lenten Bridegroom Service to the All-Night Vigil. Composers include Komitas, Rachmaninov and Rimsky-Korsakov. Liner notes include a complete description of each hymn, but no text. Sung in Church Slavonic.
The Akathist Hymn is a Service of the Orthodox Church that invites the faithful to rejoice in the unique and sublime role the Virgin Mary played in the salvation of mankind. The Divine Incarnation is at the heart of this glorious telling in the form of hymns and prose, for it in the Virgin`s own womb that God became man. In extolling the Blessed Virgin, the Church is fulfilling the Scriptures of her own prophesy which states that "henceforth all generations shall call me blessed" (Lk. 1:48), and in the words of the inspired Elizabeth, "blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb." (Lk. 1:42).
This album is a tribute to the splendors of Byzantine music, source of the oldest Christian traditions. This is one of the greatest recordings of Byzantine music that exists in the world; a true and internationally recognized masterpiece. This CD has been conceived as a subtle dialogue between two outstanding artists representative of this renowned repertoire: a legend and an up-and-comer.
The Elevation of the Cross, celebrated on September 14th, commemorates the fourth-century discovery of the miracle-working Cross of Christ by Saint Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine. It also commemorates the recovery of the Cross from the Persians by the emperor Heraclius in the seventh century. At that time, it was “elevated” in the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem, which Saint Helen had built in its honor. To this day, bishops and priests in the Orthodox Church raise up the Cross on the feast day as the faithful continually chant “Lord have mercy” (Track 19). The Cross is raised as our symbol of victory over death, strength and healing for the faithful, and our reminder that we find eternal life through self-denial in this life.
Sung by the finest Russian and Bulgarian choirs, this extraordinary collection of transcendent prayers and hymns highlights the timeless Russian tradition of devotion to masterfully-composed Church music. Litrugical music by Russian composers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, such as Rachmaninov, Tchsikovsky, Bortniansky, and Kedrov, is performed by large, mixed choirs with an incredibly wide dynamic vocal range.
The hymns on this CD are sung in various Russian chant forms (Znammeny, Valaam, Carpatho-Russian, etc.) by an all male choir, but almost as many are sung in either Byzantine chant or related chant forms. It is a terrific cross section of the Eastern Orthodox chant expression in English that is happening in many parishes today. The hymn selection is both festal and is principally from the Lenten-Paschal cycle. Liner insert includes the entire text in English.