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Posted October 1, 2010
Rachmaninoff's Vespers has recceived many recordings over the years, but
this new Telarc CD with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers is one of the best to date.
The work was composed to accompany the all-night vesper service in the
Russian Orthodox Church and as such is sung a capella (unaccompanied).
Composed in several short but continuous movements and taking over an hour on average to perform as the present account does, it is a complex
and challenging work for any chorus both technically and interpreti- vely. But Shaw's chorus, comprised of vocal students based at an annual
workshop in the French countryside, are more than up to the demands that the Vespers present. On the technical level, their intonation and
blend are faultless and their Russian is about as good as it can be
(at least to this non-Russian's ears). As a performance, Shaw and com-
pany keep the large work flowing without once letting it sag. I also
favor their lean tone with minimal vibrato to the heavy, wobbly sound
that many of the other performances contain. The leaner tone adds to the austerity and beauty of the Vespers without minimizing the impact of it at all.
The Rachmaninoff Vespers are admittedly not to everyone's taste due to
its solemn nature but I urge you give this recording a try. It is about
as persuasive an account of this beautiful, rarely performed gem as you
will get, and offers another side to Rachmaninoff besides his instru- mental and orchestral music that one does not usually hear. The record-
ing quality is superb, (done in a small Gothic church as per the liner
notes) with just enough reverb and ambient acoustic to augment the
work's lovely harmonies. As said above, a gem. Try it.
Posted October 1, 2010
This is hands-down the most incredible recording of this piece that I've found. Spectacular vocal performances, great direction, and Telarc's amazing recording techniques combine to make this a wonderful album. And, of course, Rachmaninoff's brilliant compositional skills need no mention.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 10, 2009
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