Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

The Testament of Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (19??)
The Greater Choir of the Academy of Choral Art/Viktor Popov
BOHEME CDBMR 911109 [57.25]

Boheme's earlier disc (of orchestral music) prepared the ground. That disc spoke of a confident-voiced composer - bleak but never somnolent with a taste for blocks of vivid orchestral sound.

The Gogol Testament takes us into another dimension of Dmitriev's achievement. This hour long work is for reader, soloists and mixed unaccompanied choir. The texts, given in full, in the Cyrillic and English booklet, alternate the words of Gogol with various canonical texts. Each section (there are 11) begins with the reader and then follows the mixed chorus. This music is not at all 'difficult'. If you can manage John Tavener or the Rachmaninov Vespers there will be no obstacles to enjoying this music and the rolling, dark, tenor of Nikolai Burayev's voice. The very sound of spoken Russian raises the hairs on the back of the neck. Burlayev (familiar from his role in Tarkovsky's Andrey Rublev and as director of the 1986 film Lermontov) is dedicated, sincere, serious - a voice reflective of suffering humanity. That great voice is heard amid the consoling cradle of choral writing not that dissimilar to the ecstatic rafts of sound in Janacek's Glagolytic Mass. The great calls of 'veruju' from the Glagolytic have their spiritual counterpart in Dmitriev's vocal armoury.

Spectacular and powerful recording complemented by a high order of artistry and intelligence from the performers - all in a cathedral acoustic. The artists are the same ones who premiered the work in 1999.

A splendid addition to the shelves of admirers of Russian vocal art alongside the Rachmaninov Vespers and St John Chrysostum, the Tchaikovsky St John and any number of CDs of Russian Orthodox chant.

Rob Barnett

Return to Index

Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: - The UK's Biggest Video Store Concert and Show tickets
Musicians accessories
Click here to visit