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For some, the All-Night Vigil is a pinnacle of Russian church music. For others, taking a cue from the composer, it consists of ‘counterfeits’, got up in plainchant forms by a composer who no longer believed, or was no longer observant. Exactly as she should, Violetta Bielecka leaves the question open, as one must always leave the question open when performing Shostakovich. Rachmaninov’s work was first performed to help the Russian war effort in 1915 and it has an intriguingly bracing air in this new interpretation, which won’t be to every taste but which scores high for bright, accurate singing (full marks to the soloists) and sympathetic accompaniment.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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