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  • Rakhmaninov: Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Op. 31
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Rakhmaninov: Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Op. 31

17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 15, 1996
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Rakhmaninov: Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Op. 31 + Rachmaninoff: All-night Vigil
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Editorial Reviews

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You might not expect to find an outstandingly well-sung and idiomatic recording of so profoundly Russian a work as Sergey Vassilyevich Rachmaninoff's Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom emanating from the Heartland and a group called the Kansas City Chorale, but you would be limiting yourself and your expectations unnecessarily. This is a beautifully realized performance of a spiritually moving and harmonically lovely score. It is a more complete version than that recorded by the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir, and for that reason is the first choice in CDs of this music. --Sarah Bryan Miller


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. No. 1, The Great Litany 7:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. No. 2, Bless the Lord, O My Soul 3:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. No. 2, The Little Litany 1:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. No. 3, Glory to the Father...Only Begotten Son 2:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. No. 3, The Little Litany 1:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. No. 4, In Thy Kingdom 4:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. No. 5, Come, Let Us Worship 1:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. No. 6, O Lord, Save... Holy God 4:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. No. 7, The Augmented Litany 6:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. No. 8, The Cherubic Hymn 6:35$0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. No. 9, The Litany of Supplication and Father, Son... 5:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. No. 10, The Creed 6:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. No. 11, A Mercy of Peace 5:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. No. 12, We Hymn Thee 3:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. No. 13, It Is Truly Fitting 4:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. No. 13, The Litany Before the Lord's Prayer 3:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. No. 14, Our Father 5:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. No. 15, And to Your Spirit... Only One is Holy 2:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. No. 16, Praise the Lord from the Heavens 2:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. No. 17, Blessed Is He and We Have Seen 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. No. 18, Let Our Mouths Be Filled 5:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. No. 18, The Little Litany 1:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. No. 19, Blessed Be the Name of the Lord0:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. No. 20, Glory to the Father and Many Years 2:21$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Kansas City Chorale
  • Conductor: Charles Bruffy
  • Composer: Sergey Rakhmaninov
  • Audio CD (October 15, 1996)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Nimbus Records
  • ASIN: B0000037H6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,271 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Gabe Monforte on January 18, 2000
Format: Audio CD
How do you get an an American choir from the midwest to make a superior recording of the most recorded major work in Russian Church Music? First, they use an actual Protodeacon (Fr. Andre Papkov) for the exclamations. Most recordings don't even use a deacon (which during the litanies is like listening to half of a conversation), and those recordings that do have a deacon, usually have some non-Orthodox singer come in and sing the part. This makes for a superfluous and mediocre performance by the "deacon," who usually has absolutely no knowledge of how a deacon in the Russian Orthodox Church sould sound. Second, the choir is coached by experts who specialize in the field of Russian Liturgical Music. Other recordings don't even come close to what a Russian choir should sound like. This choir has REAL "Russian" basses who are mellow and the foundation of the choral sound, and not those loud, out-of-control baritones. The sound is beautifully blended and doesn't feature the sopranos screaming above the rest of the choir, like on other recordings. Their diction is perfect and crystal clear, which makes them sound like Russians. Thus, it is no wonder why Nos. 8 (Cherubic Hymn), 12 (We Hymn Thee), and 14 (Our Father) sound like you've entered the heavenly realm.
Finally, the CDs are packaged with beautiful and informative liner notes, and a complete translation of the entire liturgy, in both English and in the Slavonic phonetic.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Laurie Hall on January 15, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Don't jump to conclusions and assume that a group that calls itself the "Kansas City Chorale" can't perform the Rachmaninov "t. John Chrysostom Liturgy" the way it should be. I nearly missed out on what is a truly amazing and gorgeous recording because of musical snobbery. 'What could people in Kansas possibly know about Russian?' Apparently, quite a lot. And with the aid of the sumptuous, golden voice of Father Andre Papkov, a singer from the New England Conservatory who has made it his business to become a definitive voice in Russian liturgical singing, you get the full sense of this most gorgeous mass. I actually preferred it over several Russian recordings, sad to say, because the Kansas City Chorale was better able to capture the idiomatic style that is central to this type of singing - seamless and blended, with huge architectural harmonies and extremely effective dynamics that bely their small size (only 30 singers although they sound like at least double that). Buy this one and you won't be sorry!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Who would ever have guessed that such an authentic-sounding performance of this quintessentially Russian choral music would originate from Kansas City? The Kansas City Chorale, surely one of the finest groups currently singing in the US, is augmented by several extra basses (who sing those low C's with apparent ease) and by a US-based Russian orthodox priest singing the celebrant. It's no surprise that a New York Times music critic nominated this recording for record of the year.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bradley Hilderbrand on February 23, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I agree with all the reviews. The quality of the performers is just astounding. The one thing that I would add, which keeps me from giving this CD a 5 star rating, is that the level is so low that I have to turn up my CD player all the way to hear some of the softer sections, and even then I have to strain to hear it. I've tried it on several players, from a Car CD player to my huge home theater, and the result is the same. Other than that, it is a great piece.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Chris Johnson on June 1, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This Protestant loves beautiful church music whereever he can find it. And Russian Orthodox church music is just about the most beautiful in the world. As a Protestant, I obviously do not how this SHOULD sound. I only know that some of this music is so hauntingly lovely it's scary. I also know that the choir is outstanding here and that the sound quality of the CD is extraordinary.
Buy this. You won't regret it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Timothy ( xerxer69@yahoo.com) on July 23, 2001
Format: Audio CD
For all the years,I've been looking for some kind of inspirational music to help ease and soothe the tension and all the problems of the world that I have been having.I have collected many religious songs,choral work,instrumental and so on.This one I have found while browsing on the net and someone accidentally or maybe proposedly put it in my e-mail through "beliefnet.com".When I listened it,I said to my self this is what I have been looking for.The music and the choir is so beautiful,I wondered how the choir can make such a wonderful arrangement.Sometimes I wish I could bring this CD to the next world if I'm allow to.Try it,I'm sure you will love it....
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stratiotes Doxha Theon VINE VOICE on November 1, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is the definitive version of the definitive Russian liturgy. Sweeping, powerful chorals led by a booming bass make this exactly what one would expect from a Russian choir. Only, it is not a Russian choir; it is the Kansas City Chorale that has produced this stunning work of choral magic. You must have this version of St. John's glorious liturgy or you are missing the best. Too much praise for these heavenly voices would not be possible.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TomCZorn on May 9, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have three versions of Rachmaninoff's Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. The earliest of the three is conducted by Mikhil Milkov with Ivan Petrov (bass), Vassil Stoytsov and Yordan Vidov (tenors), Veselina Zorova (alto), and Emilia Maximova (soprano) with the Chorus of the Bulgarian Radio (Sofia). This performance is (was?) available on Angel SB-3864 and runs about 94 minutes. In my opinion the quality of the singing is the best of the three. The second of the three is the performance by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, and the CD --- EMI 7243 5 57677 2 1 --- runs a little over 75 minutes but has extensive notes (including translations in French, English, German, and [I think] Russian). The director is Stephen Cleobury and the performance is excellent. The last, a performance by the Kansas City Chorale, conducted by Charles Bruffy, is the performance reviewed here, on Nimbus 5497/8, and runs about 95 minutes. I found the performance here to be the most realistic, and the notes enclosed with the CD give the English translation. This is the performance that seemed the most like what Rachmaninoff probably intended, with the religious atmosphere quite pervasive throughout the performance.

Well, they are all excellent, and I think you should own at least one of the three. I doubt that the Angel Audio LP is readily available, but the two performances on the CDs are both excellent. The Liturgy is one of Rachmaninoff's least-known and most rarely performed works, but its very existence should alter your opinion of Rachmaninoff's music (for the better, I sincerely hope).
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Rakhmaninov: Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Op. 31
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