KASTALSKY Memory Eternal

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Alexander Kastalsky

Genre:

Vocal

Label: Naxos

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: 8 573889

8 573889. KASTALSKY Memory Eternal

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
From my youth Clarion
Steven Fox
Alexander Kastalsky Composer
Blessed are they Steven Fox
Clarion
Alexander Kastalsky Composer
Memory Eternal to the Fallen Heroes Clarion
Alexander Kastalsky Composer
Steven Fox
Doors of Thy Mercy Clarion
Alexander Kastalsky Composer
Steven Fox
Kastalsky’s importance in Russian music of the beginning of the 20th century was very considerable. Not only was he a fine composer in his own right but he advised and influenced many of his near contemporaries, including Chesnokov, Grechaninov and Rachmaninov. His liturgical style may be heard very clearly in the three pieces that follow the main work on this disc, Miloserdiya dveri (‘Doors of thy mercy’, a work I have always thought underrated and which here receives a performance that truly brings it to life), Ot yunosti moyeya (‘From my youth’) and the resonant Blazenni, yazhe izbral (‘Blessed are they’).

Memory eternal is not itself a strictly liturgical work, though all its texts are liturgical in origin. Following the end of the First World War, Kastalsky felt the need to write a large-scale commemorative work. It exists in a confusing number of versions, the most ambitious of which uses texts in several languages and musical references from a number of religious (not only Christian) traditions, but was not performed until many years later. Another version mixes Orthodox and Roman Catholic funeral texts and includes organ; that recorded here employs texts from the Orthodox memorial service exclusively (though not following the liturgical order exactly) and is a cappella.

It is a deeply impressive work in many ways, beginning with an elaborate setting of the Great Litany, complete here with the priestly petitions, resonantly intoned by Protodeacon Leonid Roschko (the Triple Litany, the work’s 10th movement, is also done this way). In the following movements, Kastalsky gives free rein both to his considerable melodic gifts and to his talent for ‘choral orchestration’, perhaps combining them most impressively in the second movement, ‘Alliluya i Glubinoyu mudrosti’. One of the highlights of the work is the fifth movement, ‘Molitvu proliyu’, a brief but heartfelt personal plea for salvation, though the closing ‘Vechnaya pamiat’, a setting of ‘memory eternal’ dedicated to the ‘warriors killed in battle for their fatherland’, is also deeply moving.

The Clarion Choir, under the sure direction of Steven Fox, turn in a thrilling performance, recorded with clarity and not too much resonance in St Jean Baptiste Church in New York. This recording (together with its publication by Musica Russica) represents the rehabilitation of a major work, which nobody interested in Russian music of the 20th century should miss.

Gramophone Print

  • Print Edition

From £67/year

Subscribe

The Gramophone Digital Club

  • Digital Edition
  • Digital Archive
  • Reviews Database
  • Events & Offers

From £90/year

Subscribe

Gramophone Reviews

  • Reviews Database

From £67/year

Subscribe

Gramophone Digital Edition

  • Digital Edition
  • Digital Archive

From £67/year

Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.