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Ten years after Berkofsky's life-changing smash Moscow radio journalist Dimitri Morozov left his job and founded the Kitezh partnership of foster families. He inspired others to join him in the countryside to build a developing community for the education and care of orphans and traumatized children.

For the first Kitezh village in Kaluga Region, 300km south west of Moscow the local administration alloted 100 hectares of land left vacant since the collapse of Soviet collective farming. Houses were built, vegetable gardens planted, a school, farm and church constructed and ongoing developments continue to this day.

Over the years, Kitezh has received input, training and advice from British and American psychologists and child welfare professionals and in 2003 it became the first international associate member of the Charterhouse Group of Therapeutic Communities in Great Britain.

A second village, Kitezh-Orion, located 60 Km in the same direction, was opened in 2005 and today the first Kitezh children are studying at university, serving with the military or having families of their own. Altruistic virtuoso Martin Berkofsky first heard of Kitezh while giving concerts in Moscow. His curiosity was immediately aroused. Now, through his Cristofori Foundation, this benefit CD finds Martin in the Beethoven Fantasy while his Icelandic colleague, clarinettist Einar Jóhannesson, performs works of Brahms and Schumann.

At the start of Beethoven's Choral Fantasy (1808) [listen -- track 1, 0:00-1:29] Berkofsky launches into the powerful, extended, improvisatory introductory solo with fierce, steely resolve, after which conductor Krimets throttles back somewhat for the central theme, with its unmistakable pre-echoes of the Choral Symphony, completed sixteen years later. The ensuing variations and development are accomplished with brisk, satisfying clarity while the Globalis Orchestra (best known for film scores, cartoons, advertising and computer games) and Moscow Conservatory Chorus tackle the denouement with a burst of highly charged energy [listen -- track 1, 16:44-17:55].

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Copyright © 25 June 2007 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


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