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For the second track we move to Russian Orthodox church music, Nikolai Kedrov senior's setting of The Lord's Prayer sung by the KITKA Womens' Vocal Ensemble. This is an American group specialising in music rooted in the Eastern European vocal traditions. The result is fascinating, if a little curious; Russian Orthodox church music sung by an all female choir in the style of Bulgarian folk music, with a strong feel of barber shop like close harmony [listen -- track 2, 0:03-0:37].

This is followed by Vittoria's motet Jesu, Dulcis Memoria. Sung by Voices of Ascension, an American professional choir. This is a confident performance with nice warm tone, but I would have preferred a stronger sense of line and the feel of austerity that boys voices can bring.

Morten Lauridsen's Contre Qui, Rose is a setting of a Rilke poem. Whilst not strictly sacred, it is in Lauridsen's typical rich, sacred-feeling style. Perhaps the Nordic Chamber Choir's French pronunciation could have been more idiomatic, but with a setting by an American composer that hardly seems like the point.

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Copyright © 29 January 2007 Robert Hugill, London UK


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