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Maximilian Steinberg was the favourite pupil, editor and son-in-law of Rimsky-Korsakov. He took the unlikely step of writing a major liturgical piece just as the new Soviet regime began to clamp down on the church in 1920. Finished three years later and published in 1927, Steinberg’s Passion Week pretty much disappeared from view and has only been revived thanks to his daughter Barbara Mouk and niece Tamara Skvir, who brought it to Steven Fox’s attention. The Clarion Choir delivers the work’s harmonic complexity and richness with a full palette of vocal colour and a confident approach to Church Slavonic. The material is mostly drawn from old chant-books, but the work as a whole is original, penetrating and darkly moving. A model performance of a lost masterpiece.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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