Search - Dimitry Bortnyansky, Giuseppe Sarti, Russian Anonymous :: The Powers of Heaven: Orthodox Music of the 17th & 18th Centuries

The Powers of Heaven: Orthodox Music of the 17th & 18th Centuries
Dimitry Bortnyansky, Giuseppe Sarti, Russian Anonymous
The Powers of Heaven: Orthodox Music of the 17th & 18th Centuries
Genres: Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

No Description Available. Genre: Classical Music Media Format: Compact Disk Rating: Release Date: 9-SEP-2003

      
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No Description Available.
Genre: Classical Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Rating:
Release Date: 9-SEP-2003

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CD Reviews

Russian music but heavily westernized...
Boileau0663 | Tournai, Belgique | 12/02/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Lovers of Russian choir music with a deep, mystical atmosphere will be sorely disappointed by this music. Although the lyrics are Russian and Orthodox, the melodies and vocal arrangements are Italian and some of the pieces sound like a parody of Monteverdi's Vespers of the Virgin Mary.
This is explained in the booklet that comes with the cd. It has apparently a lot to do with Peter the Great's westernization drive. He had Italian composers come over from Venice to alter the traditional church music, which he apparently deemed backwards. The result is beautiful but devoid of depth, except maybe for the fourth track, a hymn to the Virgin Mary, which sounds like a litany and is quite soothing and religious in tone.The rest is for me pure profane music only intended to please the ear."
Exquisite Singing - Interesting Music
Martha Ainsworth | New York City | 09/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The music on this CD is a fascinating time capsule. In 1712 Peter the Great moved the Russian capital to St. Petersburg. Opening Russia to the influences of the West, he invited European artists and craftsmen, including Italian composers, to come to Russia, and sent Russian composers to study in Italy, to learn modern techiques. Thus, this 18th century music is recognizably Italian, even that written by the Russian composers like Bortniansky. And yet, the evocative Russian Orthodox texts have inspired a uniquely spiritual depth of expression. The title work, "Now the powers of heaven" by Giuseppe Sarti, is lush and beautiful, and reminded me of the Lotti "Crucifixus".

The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is wonderful. I don't normally enjoy music from this period, but their singing was so perfect it captivated me totally. Sopranos had a full sound but not much vibrato; intonation was flawless; expressive but still precise. This is the first recording of theirs I have heard. It won't be the last."
The musical splendour of St Petersburg
Sator | Sydney, Australia | 06/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"St Petersburg is famous for the magnificance of its architecture and this CD explore that splendour in music terms. Peter the Great drove Russia into the modern world with his modernisation drive, and without this Russia may have remained in the middle ages and certainly no match against the onslaught of tyrants such as Napoleon and Hitler.

With his modernisation drive Peter the Great brought in Western composers, mainly from Italy where the latest musical fashions were being wrought at the time. Teachers of composition would likely have used examples such as Palestrina, Lassus, Gabrielli and Josquin as examples. The teachers must have been highly conservative for Vasily Titov writes 12-part counterpoint late in the 1600's when this sort of multi-part polychoral writing was going right out fashion - clearly his Italian teachers had little time for the more avant garde trends set by the likes of Monteverdi, fadish madrigalian trends being thus noticeably absent. The results are an extraordinary mixture of Russian Orthodox stylistic tendencies with the compositional principles of the Seconda Prattica, where despite the importation of Western techniques, the very Russian compositional character comes through strongly. Titov is arguably a good a composer as Russia has ever produced.

With later composers such as Bortniansky, there seems to be a greater awareness of the latest Western trends, perhaps even those of the up-and-coming Viennese group of composers such as Haydn, although Italian composers such as Durante were still highly dominant amongst conservative circles at the time. There is certainly a hint of the gallant style entering into the writing.

This is all very rewarding music - except for those who are want to walk through the magnificant architecture of St Petersburg - such as the Hermitage, and the Petershof, bemoaning the fact that Russia didn't remain in the Middle Ages. Some of the comments seen below seem almost reminiscent of those of the oppressive Council of Trent in their Papal condemnation of gloriously rich multipart contrapunctal writing. The importation of the Spirit of the Renaissance and the new Humanism had clearly ushered a new age for Russia.

The choral singing here is truly wonderful with fine tone and intonation throughout, as you would expect with Paul Hillier in charge. The recording is good - clean and clear.

This is a highly recommendable recording."