Home » Stories » PaTRAM Institute Male Choir - More Honourable than the Cherubim is a magnificent release, beautifully conducted, flawlessly sung and incredibly well recorded / MusicWeb

Top 10 for Sep

PaTRAM Institute Male Choir - More Honourable than the Cherubim is a magnificent release, beautifully conducted, flawlessly sung and incredibly well recorded / MusicWeb

Bookmark and Share

MusicWeb writes.....Once the preserve of Russia's Orthodox churches, this rich choral tradition has now found some fine exponents further west. Several conductors/ensembles spring to mind, among them the Phoenix and Kansas City Chorales, led by Charles Bruffy. I first heard them in Gretchaninoff's Passion Week, a much-cherished Chandos release that was also one of my top picks for 2007. They followed that up in 2014, with a similarly successful account of Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil. (My comparative review was headlined by a 2012 BIS recording of the same work, featuring Kaspars Putniņš and the Netherlands Radio Choir. This is yet another partnership that excels in this repertoire.) Staying Stateside, there's Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare, whose 2013 album, The Sacred Spirit of Russia, was ‘a joy from start to finish' (Harmonia Mundi). And one mustn't overlook Alexander Lingas and his Oregon-based Cappella Romana, whose own-label recording of Maximilian Steinberg's Passion Week so impressed John Quinn back in 2015.

Nearly all the works in More Honourable than the Cherubim are new to me, but, as I soon discovered, there's so much to enjoy here. Indeed, the opener, Petar Dinev's ‘It Is Truly Meet' has a purity of tone and certainty of line that augurs well for what's to come. One of the most striking things about Chesnokov, as revealed in Teach Me Thy Statutes, is the sheer strength and consistency of his work. That's borne out by ‘O Theotokos, We Shall Never Cease Proclaiming', the first of several contributions to this new collection. Its thrilling weight and amplitude are a pleasing foil to the Dinev; that's a sign of astute programming. Different again is Gretchaninoff's ‘Let us Hasten with Fervour', the burnished, gold-leaf loveliness of this choir sure to ravish the ear and batter the heart. (Such epiphanies move me to say that as much as I admire Pavel Grigorievich's output, that of Alexander Tikhonovich occupies a very special place in my affections.)

A magnificent release, beautifully conducted, flawlessly sung and incredibly well recorded; indeed, it's sure to be one of my Recordings of the Year.

READ THE FULL MusicWeb REVIEW