M Steinberg: Rimsky-Korsakov: M Steinberg Passion Week

By Riley, Malcolm | Gramophone, August 2015 | Go to article overview

M Steinberg: Rimsky-Korsakov: M Steinberg Passion Week


Riley, Malcolm, Gramophone


M Steinberg Passion Week, Op 13

Rimsky-Korsakov Chant Arrangements for Holy Week

Cappella Romana / Alexander Lingas

Cappella Romana (F) CR414CD (62' * DDD * T/t)

This important and exciting release from the Portland, Oregonbased 26-strong chamber choir is a notable successor to their 'Good Friday in Jerusalem' disc (5/15). Under their inspiring director Alexander Lingas they turn their attention to a recently rediscovered choral gem, the 47-minute long Passion Week by the Lithuanian-born composer Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946). This recording closely followed what is believed to have been the premiere complete performance by these forces.

Having chosen to stay in Russia after the 1917 Revolution, Steinberg completed this piece in 1923, just one month before the ban on all sacred music and the stepping-up of persecution of the Orthodox Church. This was, effectively, the last major sacred work to be composed in Soviet Russia.

Steinberg took Grechaninov's Op 58 Passion Week of 1912 as his model, and 11 of his work's dozen movements are based on early Znamenny, Kievan and Bulgarian chants. The one original composition, 'The Wise Thief, is almost a pastiche, its idiom taking us a little further on from Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil. …

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