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Sacred Treasures; Chorale Mast

4.8 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Words cannot describe poignantly enough the exquisite, angelic voices that permeate the heart and exalt the soul on Sacred Treasures. The most highly regarded Russian and Bulgarian choirs sing the hymns of Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Lvovski, and other composers in the Russian Orthodox Church's tradition of "Divine Worship" (worship through chant). From the first tolling bells that open the CD with a willowy, floating piece from Rachmaninov's Liturgy of St. John, to the final bells closing the door on "Hymn of the Cherubim" (Grigory Lvovski), this CD creates a gentle, distinctly Byzantine glory. The rhythms slowly wisp along while the choirs' baritones, tenors, and sopranos mesh into one expansive blessing. Meant to comprehensively gather not all Russian liturgical pieces but rather hymns that emote an inner tranquility and celestial grace, Sacred Treasures plays like a piece of heaven on Earth.

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Words cannot describe poignantly enough the exquisite, angelic voices that permeate the heart and exalt the soul on Sacred Treasures. The most highly regarded Russian and Bulgarian choirs sing the hymns of Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Lvovski, and other composers in the Russian Orthodox Church's tradition of "Divine Worship" (worship through chant). From the first tolling bells that open the CD with a willowy, floating piece from Rachmaninov's Liturgy of St. John, to the final bells closing the door on "Hymn of the Cherubim" (Grigory Lvovski), this CD creates a gentle, distinctly Byzantine glory. The rhythms slowly wisp along while the choirs' baritones, tenors, and sopranos mesh into one expansive blessing. Meant to comprehensively gather not all Russian liturgical pieces but rather hymns that emote an inner tranquility and celestial grace, Sacred Treasures plays like a piece of heaven on Earth. --Karen Karleski
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 1, 2011)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Valley
  • ASIN: B000000X8J
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,715 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There are 3 different CD's about Russian Choir "A Cappella" music which can be discussed & reveal a certain enjoyment to different people with different needs or means:
"Ikon" sung by the Holst Singers on Hyperion is the middle ground that gives a well balance & beautiful music from an English choir group. If you did not know they were English, you would think of them as Russian. Most songs are Russian classics from Sviridov, Gretchaninov, Kalinnikov, & Tchaikovsky with modern versions from Part, Gorecki, & Nystedt. The highlight is from the female sopranos which give an angelic & awl inspiring spiritual uplift that must not be missed.
"Sacred Treasures" sung by several groups including The Russian State Symphony Cappelle, The Leningrad State Academic Choir, The Bulgarian National Choir, & a few other groups on Hearts of Space give the most authentic Russian that to English ears may sound slow & uneventful. Yet to a person that knows Russian, this CD will cause the most goose bumps due to its rightful intensity with music from Rachmaninov, Bortniansky, Kedrov, Gertchaninov, Tchaikovsky, Christov, Turchaninov, & Lvovski.
"Ancient Echoes" sung by the Chorovaya Akademia on RCA Victor may give the best first impression due to its well made production that will give a serious work out to any professional stereo system, yet with further study will reveal an over dramatized style that may get in the way. Songs from the composers Sheretiev, Nikolsky, Golovanov, Strokin, Bortnyansky, Grechaninov, Riutol, Tchaikovsky, & Chesnokov.
If your into Russian "A Cappella" music, give these 3 CD's a try & decided for yourself.
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By A Customer on December 31, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Back in the 80's I recorded a Hearts of Space program on NPR called "Russian Cathedral" Since then, I've kept recording it to new tape every year to save it, because I could never find it again. I was in a music store the other day and froze in my tracks when I was astonished to hear parts of this same program coming over the store speaker. It was on this CD! This is without doubt, the most powerful, the most emotionally moving and healing music that I have heard in the last 30 years. This will never happen again. Religious or not, you want it.
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I am the producer of this CD and also of many others on Amazon: "SACRED TREASURES III: Choral Masterworks From Russia and Beyond" , "SACRED TREASURES IV: Quiet Prayers", "SACRED TREASURES V: From a Russian Cathedral", "CELTIC TWILIGHT 7: Sacred Spirit", "MUSIC OF GRACE: Amazing Grace", "SACRED SONGS OF MARY", "SACRED SONGS OF ANGELS", "SACRED SONGS OF HOPE", "SACRED SONGS OF THE RENAISSANCE" and "SACRED SONGS OF MARY 2".

In each case, my intention was to bring together the very best performances of exceptionally beautiful, slow and peaceful sacred music. Most of the pieces on this compilation (as on most of the other compilations mentioned above) are filled with lush harmonies sung by large mixed choirs. All the selections are deeply nourishing to the soul.

Many albums also include one or more solo vocals and small choral ensembles, as well as solo and group instrumental pieces.

On this particular album, I often chose excerpts from longer pieces, omitting the exultant huge crescendos and very fast sections that are typical of Russian sacred music, presenting only the slow and quiet verses. One reviewer complained about the omission of the final (loud and fast) part of the Cherubic hymns, saying this is the best part, but I completely disagree! I feel that the slow "adagio" sections are by far the most beautiful parts, and that is what you will hear on this CD.

Different types of music serve different needs, and in today's stressful and fast-paced world, one of the most important and often neglected needs is for time out from that world--to "lay aside all earthly cares" (as the "Cherubic Hymns" on this CD prescribe) and to rest in a magical, quiet space of slow, peaceful, beauty. That peaceful beauty is available to you on all of the albums named above, as well as on this one, "SACRED TREASURES: Choral Masterworks from Russia"!
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Format: Audio CD
Enveloping, uplifting, soaring, angelic music that lends a sense of serene ecstasy to one's activities. This is the sound of worship in the Holy Orthodox Church. What a joy to be able to have such great choirs and such great expression of the sacred in one's own home.
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Format: Audio CD
My opinion of this disk is easily stated. If I were allowed to keep only one of all the disks of all the types and styles of music I have in my collection, this is the one I would keep.
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I admit to some strong bias here, having sung on the recording of Tchaikovsky's Liturgy available here from the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York. I was in that choir for five years, and our conductor's view of how to properly interpret Russian music became my own.

Because of Stalin's efforts to cleanse the country of the influence of religion, many musicians and composers were sent to Siberia. They were replaced with those from peasant backgrounds. The result was a huge change in how classical Russian music was performed, becoming less subtle, more interested in brute power and flash.

This recording features a massive and powerful choir. But the listener mostly hears a series of vowel sounds, with the consonants lost in the shuffle. Dynamic range is not as large as it could be. Phrasing is largely absent and we hear a steady wall of sound instead. Precision of rhythm is spotty, what consonants we do hear are frequently smeared. Pitch and richness of tone are good, but on high notes, inevitably given the size of the choir, some members strain.

Having performed and recorded Tchaikovsky's Liturgy I am very familiar with the piece. But listening to this recording of excerpts from it I sometimes barely recognized it as the same work. Tchaikovsky gives us great artistry, frequently crecendos and decrecendos on a single phrase. Each choral voice comes and goes like a wave, not all together like a tsunami in all but a few places. The balance of voices is constantly moving.

I encourage you to listen to the samples available here of the Russian Chamber Chorus's recording of Tchaikovsky's Liturgy, compare the same pieces. This recording is more a Vegas neon version of this great artwork than the fine art it deserves to be shown as.
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