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Two vocal coaches are prominently credited on this and Xenia de Berner and Viktorija Morozovaite have done a remarkable job, for this is a thoroughly idiomatic reading of Rachmaninoff’s passionate choral masterpiece, which was run off in a mere two weeks during a concert tour in 1915 to support the Tsarist war effort. There’s no forced ‘Russianness’ and Peter Broadbent has a sure grasp of the detailed ‘choral orchestration’ that was one of the gifts to Russian music of the piece’s posthumous dedicatee S.V. Smolensky. The basses are strong, but not overpushed and the resulting balance of voices makes the most of the warm, unclattery acoustics in St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead. There are other recent Vigils around, but this one is warmly recommended.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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