Leonard Slatkin
Leonard Slatkin on
Kastalsky’s Requiem

‘When recording producer Blanton Alspaugh brought to my attention the composer Alexander Kastalsky and his Requiem, I was intrigued by the nature of the composition as well as the musical setting itself. As a tribute to those in the Allied nations who perished during the First World War, the composer tried to bring together diverse languages and musical thoughts to express universal loss. Two years after Kastalsky completed the work in its initial version, three more countries entered the fray, and he added movements to depict the contributions from Japan, India and the United States. Among the more intriguing musical aspects of the entire work is how the composer integrates various stylistic elements of those nations into the whole.

The forces on this recording gave the world premiere of the complete work at Washington’s sublime National Cathedral. Performing in front of a full house, with dignitaries from the sacred and secular worlds in attendance, was an extremely moving experience. With this release of Memory Eternal to the Fallen Heroes,an important historical document will now be available for the world to listen to.’

Leonard Slatkin

A First World War Remembrance
Kastalsky’s Requiem for Fallen Brothers

Alexander Kastalsky was a student
of Tchaikovsky and a mentor
to Rachmaninov, becoming
director of the Moscow
Synodal School until the Bolshevik
regime banned all sacred music,
including the extraordinary Requiem for
Fallen Brothers
which consequently
lay forgotten for over a century. The Requiem is a rich and varied mosaic that honours those who perished in the First World War, poignantly combining Orthodox and Gregorian chant with hymns from the allied nations, even including Rock of Ages. This unprecedented and peerless monument to those who made the ultimate sacrifice was acclaimed on its 1917 premiere as a ‘uniquely Russian requiem that… gave musical voice to the tears of many nations’.
Listen to an excerpt from Requiem aeternam
World Premiere Recording
8.574245 | 747313424573
Playing Time: 63:57
Price Code: NXP
Release Date: 28 Aug 2020

A First World War Remembrance
Kastalsky’s Requiem for Fallen Brothers

Requiem aeternam
Kyrie eleison
Rex tremendae
Ingemisco: Guilty, Now I Pour my Moaning
Confutatis: Средь груды тлеющих костей
(‘Among the Piles of Smouldering Bones’)
Domine Jesu – Now the Labourer’s Task is O’er
Beati mortui
Sanctus: Holy, Holy, Holy...
Blessed is He
Agnus Dei
Какая сладость (‘What Sweetness in This World’)
Rock of Ages
Kyrie eleison – Absolve, Domine
Interludium: Hymn to Indra
Requiem aeternam – Вечная память (‘Memory Eternal’)

The Composer
Alexander KASTALSKY (1856–1926)

Alexander Kastalsky

Alexander Kastalsky was a seminal figure upon the national musical landscape of Russia in the first two decades of the 20th century. As a composer, conductor, folklorist, and administrator, by nature inquisitive and innovative, he moved freely among the spheres of church, classical, and folk music in a way very much his own. His compositional techniques were emulated and developed by a host of composers, including Pavel and Alexander Chesnokov, Alexander Grechaninov, Viktor Kalinnikov, Alexander Nikolsky, Konstantin Shvedov, Nikolai Tcherepnin, and Sergey Rachmaninov: the latter would send pages of his manuscripts to Kastalsky for comment and approval. Kastalsky’s compositional output was largely limited to miniature forms – sacred choruses, some 175 of them, and choral folk song arrangements.

The Artists

Soloists Choirs Orchestra Conductor
Anna Dennis

About Anna Dennis, Soprano

Soprano Anna Dennis studied at the Royal Academy of Music. Her performances have taken her to the English National Opera, La Scala in Milan, the Philharmonie Berlin, the Nuremberg Opera House, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, La Fenice in Venice and the Sydney Opera House, among others. Her repertoire ranges from Monteverdi and Mozart to Berlioz and Boulez, and she frequently performs world premieres.
Joseph Beutel

About Joseph Beutel, Bass-baritone

Highly praised by Opera News, Joseph Beutel is renowned for his striking tone and versatility on stage. Some notable new roles include British Major in Kevin Puts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night, and most recently Sir in Eli Marshall’s Mila. Beutel has performed across five continents with many prestigious companies and ensembles, including Santa Fe Opera, the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Opera, Minnesota Opera, and Sarasota Opera.
Cathedral Choral Society
Cathedral Choral Society

About the Cathedral Choral Society

The Cathedral Choral Society is the resident symphonic chorus of Washington National Cathedral. Founded in 1941, the 120-voice chorus is the oldest symphonic chorus in Washington, D.C. Each season the Cathedral Choral Society presents a series of four concerts at Washington National Cathedral. In addition, the chorus performs around the city and on radio and television across the United States, and has a discography of ten recordings. The chorus has a remarkable history of showcasing emerging soloists and internationally known artists as well as championing new music.


The Clarion Choir
The Clarion Choir

About The Clarion Choir

Founded in 2006, The Clarion Choir has performed on some of the great stages of North America and Europe. The group specialises in Early Music and Slavonic repertoire, often performing with the period-instrument Clarion Orchestra and artistic director Steven Fox. The ensemble’s recordings include Maximilian Steinberg’s Passion Week (8.573665) and Kastalsky’s Memory Eternal (8.573889) – both of which were nominated for a GRAMMY Award. The group was featured on PBS in 2014 for its performance of Steinberg’s Passion Week, and in 2016 gave the Russian premiere of the same work in St Petersburg and Moscow.


The Saint Tikhon Choir
Saint Tikhon Choir

About the Saint Tikhon Choir

The Saint Tikhon Choir is a professional vocal ensemble founded in 2015 with a mission to foster and build up an American Orthodox choral tradition at the highest artistic level. The choir is becoming recognised as one of the premier ensembles in America performing Orthodox repertoire. Composer and conductor Benedict Sheehan is director of music at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary and Monastery in Pennsylvania, artistic director of the Saint Tikhon Choir, and CEO and founder of the Artefact Institute. His works have been performed by Skylark Vocal Ensemble, Cappella Romana, the Saint Tikhon Choir, and many others.


Kansas City Chorale
Kansas City Chorale

About the Kansas City Chorale

The Kansas City Chorale, founded in 1982, performs music from diverse historical periods. Conductor Charles Bruffy has been artistic director of the Chorale since 1988. The Kansas City Chorale’s recording of Grechaninov’s Passion Week received four GRAMMY nominations in 2007, and its album Life & Breath – Choral Works of René Clausen, won the 2012 GRAMMY award for Best Choral Performance. The Chorale’s most recent recording of Rachmaninov’s All-night Vigil, with the Phoenix Chorale, won the GRAMMY award for Best Choral Performance of 2015.


Orchestra of St. Luke’s

About the Orchestra of St. Luke’s

Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) performs at venues throughout New York City including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and many more. OSL is dedicated to cultivating a lifetime of engagement with classical music and provides a vast array of educational and community outreach projects. The orchestra has participated in 118 recordings (four of which have won GRAMMY Awards), has commissioned over 50 new works, and has presented more than 179 world premieres. Recent guests and collaborators include cellist Alisa Weilerstein, tenor Jonas Kaufmann, composer Eleanor Alberga, violinist Christian Tetzlaff, and pianist Jeremy Denk.

Leonard Slatkin

About Leonard Slatkin

Internationally acclaimed conductor Leonard Slatkin is Music Director Laureate of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and Directeur Musical Honoraire of the Orchestre National de Lyon (ONL). He maintains a rigorous schedule of guest conducting throughout the world and is active as a composer, author, and educator. Slatkin has received six GRAMMY awards and 34 nominations. His recent Naxos recordings include works by Saint‑Saëns, Ravel, and Berlioz (with the ONL) and music by Copland, Rachmaninov, Borzova, McTee, and John Williams (with the DSO). A recipient of the prestigious National Medal of Arts, Slatkin also holds the rank of Chevalier in the French Légion d’honneur.