Metropolitan HILARION ALFEYEV (b.1966): St. Matthew Passion.
Catalogue Number: 07R071
Reference: MEL CD 10 02366
Description: This is a grand and profound telling of the Passion, combining the composer's intimate involvement with the Orthodox liturgy, his reverence for Bach, and his skill in writing music of clarity, accessibility and great beauty and originality. The Evangelist's 'narration' of the text of St Matthew is presented in the style of chant of the Orthodox church, the verses interspersed among choruses and solo recitatives and arias setting texts of the Orthodox services for Holy Week. These are in the composer's very finest neo-baroque - one might almost say 'neo-Bach', so authentic is his absorption of Bach's harmony and counterpoint - idiom, with neo-romantic opulence and an unmistakable feeling for the unique characteristics of Russian choral singing; the sequence of prayers and hymns dealing with the Crucifixion is very Russian indeed. The work is punctuated by orchestral fugues that serve as prayerful interludes in the narrative and play a vital role in the structure of the work, while demonstrating Alfeyev's contrapuntal mastery. An immensely satisfying and deeply moving work, bringing the dignity and spirituality of the Church into the concert hall as successfully as any religious oratorio of any period of music history. 2 CDs. No texts. Protodeacon Viktor Shilovsky (baritone), Naira Asatrian (soprano), Olessya Petrova (mezzo), Maxim Paster, Sergei Markelov (tenors), Dmitri Beloselsky (bass), Moscow Synodal Choir, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra; Vladimir Fedoseyev.