The latest offering by the St. Tikhon's Seminary Choir entitled Bless the Lord, O' My Soul; Chants of Orthodox Russia, Georgia and Byzantium was recently reviewed by the internationally esteemed distributor of Russian choral music Musica Russica.
Bless the Lord, O My Soul; Chants of Orthodox Russia, Georgia, and Byzantium / St. Tikhon’s Seminary Mission Choir / Benedict Sheehan, cond. / 2011
The St. Tikhon’s Seminary Mission Choir is a new ensemble making their first sacred musical offering on CD under the direction of the talented conductor Benedict Sheehan. In a well-informed and carefully crafted fashion, the CD presents to English-speaking listeners the fruits of many “discoveries” and “re-discoveries” of chant treasures from around the Orthodox world—from Russian znamenny chant (in all its variants, Valaam, demestvenny, etc.), to Georgian polyphony, to melismatic Byzantine chant. The singing on this CD demonstrates the sensitive musical hand of the director, who elicits from his non-professional singers a good blend, a balanced ensemble, clear diction, and musical phrasing. Like the best examples of the “old-world” models whom they emulate, these singers strive for a “spiritual” manner of singing, which achieves a sense of reverence—but without “sentimentality,” and “dispassion”—but without appearing mechanical or lackadaisical. We express the hope that this CD is the first of many others to come, a harbinger of a “musical spring” in the realm of Orthodox liturgical singing in North America—V.M.
The CD is available here for $14.95 from the St. Tikhon's Monastery Bookstore.