Released 14th April 2012
Cherubim & Seraphim Track Listing
1. Priiditye vospoim (Come and Sing, O Ye People) Dimitri Bortnyansky (1751 - 1825)
2. Da ispravitsya molitva (Let My Prayer Be Set Forth) Dimitri Bortnyansky (1751- 1825)
3. Raduitesya lyudie (Rejoice, O Ye People) Giuseppe Sarti (1729 - 1802)
4. Kheruvimskaya pyessn in D Dimitri Bortnyansky (1751 - 1825)
5. Plotiyu usnuv (In the Flesh Thou Didst Fall Asleep) Baldassare Galuppi (1706 - 1785)
6. Oslavi mi da pochiuy (Remove thy gaze from me) Dimitri Bortnyansky (1751 - 1825)
7. Kheruvimskaya pyessn in F (Cherubic Hymn) Dimitri Bortnyansky (1751 - 1825)
8. Kheruvimskaya pressn in G (Cherubic Hymn) Aleksander Varlamov (1801 - 1848)
9. Ekteniya pervaya (Kyrie) Mikhail Glinka (1804 - 1857)
10. Kheruvimskaya pyessn, No. 2 (Cherubic Hymn) Aleksei Fyodorovich Lvov (1798 - 1870)
11. Kheruvimskaya pyessn in G (Cherubic Hymn) Grigory Lvovsky (1830 - 1894)
12. Dostoino yest (Blessing of the Virgin Mary) Piotyr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893)
13. Kheruvimskaya pyessn, No. 9 (Cherubic Hymn) Gavriil Yakimovich Lomakin (1812 - 1885)
14. Bogoroditsye dyevo (Ave Maria) Sergey Rachmaninov (1873 - 1943)
This disc is precisely a collection of choral works composed by Italian and Russian composers between 1765 and 1915; 150 years of spine-tingling creations of sheer uplifting beauty. The programme includes 14 short pieces that vary from the profound to the prayerful, from the thankful to the rejoiceful, but each composition has that inescapable human yearning of wanting to be entwined with the divine. Harmonia Sacra under Peter Leech present this music in performances that are skilful, stylish and hugely attractive to the ear. The air is consistently tender rather than forcefully dramatic, and the great attention to detail readily discloses all the subtleties of these quite inspiring gems. Sound and annotations are first-rate, but the 50 minutes playing time might induce some reservations. But this is only a minor glitch in what is a very fine issue that should be snapped up without hesitation.
Gerald Fenech - Classical.net
If you were expecting the typical Orthodox Church plain-chant with basses rumbling away, this CD is not that. Instead, you would have a very interesting musical portrait of more Italianate-sounding religious music, composed from the time of Catherine the Great in the mid-eighteenth century to a piece by Rachmaninov from 1915.
The sleeve notes are extremely interesting and comprehensive written by Peter Leech, the conductor of the CD's performers, Harmonia Sacra, the ensemble he founded in 2009 especially to perform later Renaissance and early Baroque music. Again, it surprised me to see that there are 10 sopranos and only 4 tenors, 8 altos and 7 basses, with Peter Leech himself as the cantor. The sound is exquisite. Try it! It's lovely.
By Butetown Billboard - Amazon
Here is a collection of Russian Orthodox choral works from the reigns of Catherine the Great and Tsar Nicholas II. Nothing unusual in that, I suppose, but these works are sung by an English choir, Harmonia Sacra, which is completely new to me. They were formed in 2009, by their music director, Peter Leech, for the performance of late Renaissance and early Baroque choral music. All these Russian songs are sung without instrumental accompaniment, as was the tradition in those times. I cannot pretend that Harmonia Sacra sound like a Russian choir, they do not, as there is a complete absence of the strong, warm, deep, resonant Russian bass sound that one hears in Russian folk and classical ensembles and in works such as Rachmaninov's Vespers. Nevertheless, this is a very good choir, well recorded and I'm sure that many lovers of choral singing will be thrilled at the standard achieved by Harmonia Sacra on this CD. Many of the items sung are by Dmitri Bortnyansky (1751-1825) but there are also single pieces by better known composers including Glinka, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. A number are described as 'Cherubic Hymns', hence the CDs title. Overall, I have to recommend this CD to you as a fine example of the broad category of choral works that English choirs are including in their repertoires in recent times. The booklet notes, written by Richard Leech, give a fine account of the items recorded. A very worthwhile disc to add to your collection.
Mr. R. Saunders "Rosound" (Hampshire, UK) - Amazon