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Magnificent. This is folk art at the highest refinement of expression, combining early and modern liturgical compositions from the greater Russian tradition with Greek-Byzantine hymns and para-liturgical songs with Moldavian religious songs, Bulgarian and Demestvenny material. If both chronology and specific tradition are mixed, even perhaps muddled, the musical logic is not. Interspersed with bell prayers and occasional applause, the whole package combines ritual and performance in an entirely logical way. The Saint Ephraim voices are muscularly plain. The guest singers – Sebestyén and Karantzi in particular – add bright overtones and a sense of community forged over centuries and continental distances. One of the choral records of the year.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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