COMPOSERS: Grechaninov,Kalinnikov,Martynov,Strokin,Tchaikovsky,Tcherepnin & Popov-Platonov,Tchesnokov,Tolstyakov
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Romantic Choral Music from Russia
WORKS: Works by Tchaikovsky, Tchesnokov, Grechaninov, Strokin, Kalinnikov, Martynov, Tolstyakov, Tcherepnin & Popov-Platonov
PERFORMER: Russian Patriarchate Choir/Anatoly Grindenko
CATALOGUE NO: 111 OPS 30-110 DDD
Recorded in a resonant church acoustic in Italy, this collection of short pieces almost entirely taken from the 19th- and early 20th-century Russian Orthodox repertoire has a similarity of style that compounds the inevitable lack of variety enforced by the use of lower male voices alone with no instrumental accompaniment. That said, the choir has an excellent attack and a voluminous but never coarse tone. Their intonation is largely clean (though the pitch sometimes fluctuates between sections of an individual piece) and they are capable of a fair amount of tonal variety.
Much of the music is nevertheless liturgical small-fry. The several works by Tchesnokov, in standard four-part Romantic harmony, are worldly in style and of no great character. The three Tchaikovsky items are better, but hardly represent him in typical personal vein. Perhaps the best piece here is the attractive Grechaninov Creed, though the choir performs it with too strict an attitude to rhythm.
More documentation would have been welcome (even the dates of the composers are not included), although there are texts in English only. George Hall