Rachmaninov: All-Night Vigil (Vespers) - Hillier
Harmonia Mundi HMU 807384
Classical - Vocal
Rachmaninov: All-Night Vigil (Vespers & Matins Op. 37)
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil - widely regarded as the pinnacle of Orthodox church music - deftly deploys "choral orchestration", an array of timbral and harmonic effects, and a variety of compositional techniques, building to a joyous affirmation of religious faith. Paul Hillier leads the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in a sumptuous performance.
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Review by John Broggio - March 29, 2006
An entrancing and hypnotic disc. This is a great outing for Hillier's Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir & on the basis of this disc I shall certainly be looking out for their Baltic Voice series.
This is not the most passionate nor refulgent version I have ever heard but Hillier ensures that the score is scrupulously followed whilst combining this with an audible sense of devotion. A nice touch is that the chants from the (one) Basso Profundo are included which gives more atmosphere than those recordings that omit them. The phrasing is at once musical and involving and it really sounds like a religious experience; the tone is also glorious, quite exceptionally fine, exhibiting some of the nicest sounds I have heard from a chorus outside of Renaissance music.
The alto and tenor soloists are very good too and blend nicely with the choral body around. Tuning is almost always impeccable, although there are one or two small moments that upper voices appear under a little stress. It should be observed though that this does not detract in any serious manner from the overall execution of this work.
The sound is as rich as the harmonies that Rachmaninov composed and overall I cannot fault anything in either stereo or MCH. Recommended.
Copyright © 2006 John Broggio and HRAudio.net