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James A. Altena
Fanfare, January 2019

This is a superlative performance. Steven Fox is an exemplary leader of his forces, and all three soloists render their parts ably. The recorded sound is crystal clear… © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review




Philip Greenfield
American Record Guide, January 2019

The Clarions bring a similar level of expertise to Kastalsky’s handiwork. Their sound is gorgeous and full, lines of chant are clearly delineated and smartly phrased, tone painting is vividly drawn, and emotions run deep.

If there is a better sounding choral release in Naxos’s ever-burgeoning catalog, I haven’t heard it. © 2019 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide




Ivan Moody
Gramophone, October 2018

‘The rehabilitation of a major work’; this is music powerfully rooted in the Russian sound world, sung with passion, and beautifully recorded.

The Clarion Choir, under the sure direction of Steven Fox, turn in a thrilling performance, recorded with clarity and not too much resonance in St Jean Baptiste Church in New York. © 2018 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Stephen Greenbank
MusicWeb International, September 2018

This has been a voyage of discovery for me, as all the works on this release are receiving their world premiere recording. The flawless ensemble of The Clarion Choir, under the inspirational direction of Steven Fox, has been perfectly captured in this demonstration class recording. The balance achieved by the engineers cannot be faulted. The acoustic of St. Jean Baptiste Church, New York confers a captivating aura of resonance, in ideal proportion, upon the compelling music making. I can think of no better advocates for this wonderful music than this superb choral ensemble. I shall have no hesitation in nominating this stunning recording as one of my choices of the year. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), August 2018

In the face of the devastation wrought by the First World War, Alexander Kastalsky conceived a musical service of remembrance for the fallen. A pivotal figure in Russian musical life—he was a student of Tchaikovsky and acclaimed as the founder of a new, national church music—Kastalsky composed a choral-orchestral Requiem, for the concert stage. Simultaneously, he worked on the a cappella version heard on this recording to be sung in Russian Orthodox churches. Following the basic structure of the Orthodox Panihida, or memorial service, Memory Eternal, and the short sacred pieces that end the program, reveal Kastalsky’s masterful use of choral sonority and color, his weaving of complex polyphonic textures, and his graceful use of ancient chant melodies. © 2018 WFMT (Chicago)



David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2018

Alexander Kastalsky is almost forgotten outside of the liturgical world, but he was a pupil of Tchaikovsky and Taneyev and a founder of a new Russian church music. The booklet with this disc sets out the detailed history of Vechnaya Pamiat Geroyam (Memory Eternal to the Fallen Heroes), but in summary it was first a short work for chorus and organ in memory of those killed in the First World War. Then Kastalsky enlarged it to become a Requiem for chorus and orchestra premiered in 1917. Fearful that this concert work would now take it outside of its use in church surroundings, he then set to work on an a cappella version. Technically is does not sound a particularly demanding score, but it is one that often offers a fervent prayer for the souls of those who died. It is in the a capella version that we hear the work on this new release performed by the Clarion Choir conducted by its founder, Steven Fox. To my innocent ears, this New York based group produce a credible Russian sound that is just a little short on heavyweight basses. Quite modest in size—numbering twenty-eight—I guess the resonant acoustic of New York’s Church of St. John the Baptist has provided the feel of a much larger group. The disc also contains three short religious pieces, the contents here receiving their World Premiere Recordings. © 2018 David’s Review Corner





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