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Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil, Op. 37 / Julia Scozzafava, mz; Frank Fleschner, tenor; Phoenix Chorale

Album Summary

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Vespers (All-Night Vigil), for alto, tenor & chorus, Op. 37
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Gramophone Magazine, May 2015
The combined 56 voices are beautifully balanced balanced...Intonation is spot-on throughout this taxing work and there are no audible edits...In addition to coaxing an ultra-smooth blend to the choral sound Bruffy has also...rubbed off some of the crispness of articulation...[Scozzafava's] alto osolo sounds like the genuine article.

The Guardian, 13th March 2015
Charles Bruffy and the Phoenix and Kansas City Chorales have long been outstanding interpreters of this repertory and their performance has a devotional intensity that is often overwhelming. The recording itself is on the reverberant side. But by the end, you know exactly why it one of Rachmaninov's favourites among his own works, and why many consider it his greatest.

The Grammy-Award-winning conductor Charles Bruffy brings together his two professional choirs, the Kansas City Chorale and Phoenix Chorale, for this recording of Serge Rachmaninoff's All-night Vigil, a work that stands as the crowning achievement of the 'Golden Age' of Russian Orthodox sacred choral music. The recording follows live performances of the work by the combined ensembles in April and May 2014. The Phoenix Chorale and Kansas City Chorale are regarded as among the finest professional choral ensembles in the world. Their recordings have earned a combined total of ten Grammy® nominations and four wins. Building on the success of previous collaborations, these performances marked the seventh time that the two choirs have performed together. Of a 2009 joint performance at Alice Tully Hall in NYC, The New York Times' Vivien Schweitzer wrote that the choirs 'performed with a buoyant pulse and energetic finesse', and praised 'the choirs' refined sound and elegant phrasing'.

International Record Review, May 2015
There will be purists who will object on principle to a non-Russian choir in this work, but previous recordings have demonstrated beyond doubt that this combined chorus possesses the style to an admirable degree, and I very much hope that this first-rate recording will do more to bring this masterpiece to a wider listening public - it certainly deserves to.

BBC Music Magazine, June 2015
No doubt about it, these are two very fine professional choirs, unique in an unparalleled lower-register smokiness and resonance. The basses can reach the famous bottom notes: the C at the end of 'Blessed is the Man' is a wonder... any claim to Russian Orthodox authenticity, though, is cancelled out with the cowled sound of the sopranos.

MusicWeb International, 27th March 2015
It's been a long time since I've heard choral singing of this quality. This is a very beautiful and inspired reading of Rachmaninov's wonderful settings and I found it very rewarding indeed.

American Record Guide, November/December 2015
This lush and lovely recording of Rachmaninoff's Vespers by the combined forces of the Phoenix and Kansas City Chorales brings the total number of accounts I've reviewed for ARG to an even dozen since 2002. In my most recent review of the piece (S/O 2014) I recapped much of my coverage up to that point, discussing some of the varied interpretive approaches to this glorious masterpiece as well as the wide variances in size of the ensembles and their different modes of vocal production, timbres, and styles.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Cathedral of St Peter the Apostle, Kansas City, Kansas (05/24/2014-05/26/2014).


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Works Details

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Vespers (All-Night Vigil), for alto, tenor & chorus, Op. 37
  • Performers: Paul Davidson (Tenor); Bryan Taylor (Bass)
  • Conductor: Charles Bruffy
  • Ensemble: Phoenix Chorale
  • Notes: Cathedral of St Peter the Apostle, Kansas City, Kansas (05/24/2014-05/26/2014)
  • Running Time: 44 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1915