In the charged political climate between the United States and Russia, it is easy to forget that the two countries share a very close relationship in the fields of music, art and culture, and that in fact, one of the great recording efforts commonly undertaken by American choirmasters and symphony conductors is the faithful rendering of musical compositions by the great Russian composers.
It is therefore worthy of note that on May 18, a joint project of Russian and American singers, a CD consisting entirely of liturgical works composed by Pavel Chesnokov, was released.
This recording, entitled “Teach Me Thy statutes / Научи мя оправданием Tвоим” features a forty-one voice male choir, conducted by Maestro Vladimir Gorbik, one of the finest choral and symphonic conductors in the world, who has recently become known in venues outside the Russian Federation. The recording took place at the Saratov Orthodox Theological Seminary in the city of that same name, along the banks of the beautiful River Volga.
Reference Recordings offers this information about the CD in their advertisment:
We are very pleased to present our first release in a new series from the PaTRAM Institute. The music performed on this recording of Orthodox choral music in the Slavonic language was written by famed Russian composer Pavel Chesnokov (1877-1944). Teach me Thy Statutes is performed by the PaTRAM Institute Male Choir, a highly professional group which is a collaboration of Russian and American singers. The male choir is considered by many to be the mainstay of traditional chant and Orthodox monasticism.
PaTRAM Institute Singers and Reference Recordings are planning several more CD releases over the next 5 years with Dr. Peter Jermihov as artistic director and conductor.
Alexis Lukianov, Founder, Chairman and CEO of PaTRAM Institute states: “I am very pleased that PaTRAM Institute Singers has partnered with one of the top labels in the classical music industry. We are excited about our newest prospects and opportunities to produce and distribute world-class orthodox liturgical music.”
Teach Me Thy Statutes was recorded in Russia in July of 2016 in the Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian Orthodox Church, at the Saratov Orthodox Theological Seminary. PaTRAM’s objective was to immerse the listener in the beautiful Russian monastic style of singing through its fullness and richness of sonority.
Highly-esteemed conductor Maestro Vladimir Gorbik, whose pedigree is from the Moscow Conservatory and as choirmaster of the Holy Trinity—St. Sergius Lavra Representation Choir (monastery), skillfully unites strong musicianship with superb diction to a degree that is seldom heard outside of Russia, but which epitomizes the best traditional culture of singing in the Russian Orthodox Church.
The effort was truly international in scope, with singers present from all over the Russian Federation, as well as a contingent of singers from the United States and Canada. The recording was made by Sound Mirror, who are the among the finest recording engineers and producers in the world, having already received over 100 Grammy awards and nominations in their forty-year history.
The recording garnered impressive reviews right out of the gate, with this a segment from MusicWeb International:
Really, this is a remarkable recording… Is there nothing this choir can’t do, no challenge to which they can’t rise? Of course, so much credit is due to Gorbik’s inspiring leadership, his devotion to, and affinity for, this music laid bare in every bar. In short, a fine start to what promises to be a most valuable and rewarding project. Intensely beautiful singing and sound; quite simply, choral albums don’t come much better than this.” —Dan Morgan, MusicWeb International
The recording is available through iTunes and Amazon, in either digital download (stereo) or SACD (Super Audio CD, a five-channel surround-sound format).