The Yale University Russian Chorus will soon release its first CD for international distribution. "Chants and Carols," on Epiphany Recordings, will be available at HMV, Tower Records, Borders, Barnes and Noble, and other major outlets later this month.
"Chants and Carols" contains liturgical and folk music from the Russian Orthodox church and the religious heritage of Greece, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Poland, plus more recent works that reflect traditional styles. The 25 pieces on the album range from the 12th to the 20th centuries. Rachmaninov's "Virgin Mother of God, Rejoice" and Tchaikovsky's "Holy God" are among several modern adaptations of ancient unison and harmonized chanting. Other works include Kovalevsky's "Alleluia Antiphon," Glazunov's "Having Fallen Asleep in the Flesh," and music by Kiriac, Diletsky, and Turenkov. The recording was made in Dwight Chapel last spring under the musical direction of Mark Bailey.
An early review of the recording from "inTune Magazine," an English/Japanese classical music monthly, says "Chants and Carols" is "a major collectable," and notes, "In balance, timbre, and intonation, the...choir is stunning." The review continues, "As music, performance and production, this release has very little competition," and cautions that "Finding a copy will not be easy, once the market gets wind of this." Epiphany Recordings is an audiophile label that records directly to glass optical disc masters and issues copper CDs in numbered, limited editions instead of the standard aluminum disc. The resulting album, according to "inTune Magazine," is "a revelation of...just how magnificent artistic attainment in sound can be."
The Yale Russian Chorus is an a capella vocal ensemble of 20 tenors and basses, originally established by the Russian Club in 1953. The chorus made its first trip to the USSR in 1959 in the depths of the Cold War. Since then, they have traveled to Eastern Europe 15 times and performed at Carnegie Hall and the White House, most recently for President Clinton when he hosted Boris Yeltsin in September, 1994.
If you missed them at the White House, it will be possible to hear the Yale Russian Chorus in live performance in New Haven on Sunday, October 6, at 2 p.m. They will sing at the Yale Center for British Art, in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition, "British Art Treasures from Russian Imperial Collections in the Hermitage." The concert is free and the public is welcome.
The chorus's forty-third annual Anniversary Concert will be held on Saturday, November 2, at 8 p.m. in Woolsey Hall. This performance will be a festival of Russian choral music featuring the Yale Russian Chorus and the Yale Slavic Chorus, a women's ensemble, joined by alumni of the choruses.
"Chants and Carols" is currently available at Cutler's in New Haven and can be purchased directly from the Yale Russian Chorus at Yale Station, Post Office Box 202032, New Haven, CT 06520, or by phone at 432-4776.