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The one-word title says it all. This glorious set breathes Russia, not in the usual two-dimensional way but in all her rich perversity and contradiction. The climax is Tchaikovsky’s hymn of the cherubim from the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, and the surprise package is the opening sequence of hymns by Schnittke, written in a plain but passionate style that doesn’t immediately suggest that composer. Gubaidulina’s Hommage an Marina Zwetajewa for unaccompanied mixed choir (and some non-canonical singing) is the most challenging piece technically, but the SWR ensemble carries it all off with great precision and unaffected beauty.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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