Rachmaninoff: Vespers (All-Night Vigil), Op.37 - Nikolai Korniev, Olga Borodina, St. Petersburg Chamber Choir & Vladimir Mostovoy User Reviews
Shaw vs. St. Petersburg
The Rachmaninoff Vespers is my favorite choral work. So it is with some trepidation that I dare to compare this and the Robert Shaw recording. There are some absolutely gorgeous tonalities here, and I find this to be a bright, joyous rendering of the work. Whether due to voicing, recording environment, or microphone placement, there are some far clearer, more articulated areas of text in the St. Petersburg offering. And yes, there is a richer bass quality at times in the St. Petersburg choir. (I'm told by an insider that Shaw augmented some of the lower bass sustained notes with a cello during the recording, but I can't independently confirm it). All in all, this is a splendid recording.
Yet, I find that the more rapid tempos throughout the work in this version cause it to be a somewhat less meditative, less introspective Vespers. The mood is not changed by much, mind you, but enough to distinguish itself from the mood created in the Shaw. And so, because these meditative qualities are what I value most in this particular work, I must lean my preference toward the Shaw. I don't find fault with either interpretation... I think they both form gorgeous cohesive works, and, like any recording of any work, the listener will decide for himself which version he prefers, and what he most gains from his recording of choice. You would not be remiss in adding both recordings to your choral library, and exploring them for yourself.
My first vesper recording
This was the first recording I bought and am glad. There is just something about listening to a Russian Chamber Choir singing this music that seems right. Lots of colors and the basses are awesome. You can feel that they know what they are singing. I do also have the Robert Shaw version, which is good, but this, personally, sits right above it for cultural value.
What Heaven will sound like
I beleive this is the most beautiful choral music ever conceived. This particular album is an excellent recording and representation of some of the greatest works of one of the greatest Russian composers. Track two with Olga Borodina brought tears to my eyes, and there are many others on this album that are equally as moving. In general, however, as a protestant I have been finding that the Russian Orthodox church has, through music such as this, given us a glimpse into what we will hear from the voices of the angelic host in heaven. Listen to this music--you will truly be enriched and blessed.
Nikolai Korniev, Olga Borodina, St. Petersburg Chamber Choir & Vladimir Mostovoy Photos