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Ivan Moody
Gramophone, October 2020

The three soloists and four choirs involved have really grasped what is needed to communicate this complex work, and Slatkin’s driven direction of the Orchestra of St Luke’s means that the tension never lets up. …This is an extraordinary work and this fine recording will, I am convinced, ensure that it acquires a permanent place in the repertoire. © 2020 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, September 2020

Naxos now presents the world premiere recording of the composition. It was recorded live in Washington Cathedral on 21 October 2018, during a concert commemorating the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War.

The Requiem is an impressive work with rich orchestral textures and soulful choruses and solo passages on themes such as death, destruction and mourning, but also hope, healing and redemption, which are strongly expressed in the outstanding performance under Leonard Slatkin. © 2020 Pizzicato Read complete review



The Northern Echo, September 2020

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. © 2020 The Northern Echo



Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), September 2020

This is the world-premiere recording of Alexander Kastalsky’s Requiem in its complete and revised version for orchestra, choir, and soloists. The album was recorded live in Washington’s National Cathedral in 2018 during a performance commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. Kastalsky was 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 honors those who perished in the First World War. © 2020 WFMT (Chicago)




James Manheim
AllMusic.com, September 2020

This is essential listening! Conductor Leonard Slatkin does a superb job holding and melding together a variety of choirs, and leading the Orchestra of St. Luke’s: the performance could easily not have cohered as well as it does. An offbeat work that was well worth retrieving from the scrap heap of history; others will perform it again, but Slatkin has set the bar very high here. © 2020 AllMusic.com Read complete review



Records International, September 2020

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 this extraordinary Requiem which consequently lay forgotten for over a century. It is a rich and varied mosaic that honors 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.’ © 2020 Records International



Paul Pattison
KC Arts Beat, August 2020

Charles Bruffy, Kansas City Chorale and a Multitude of Forces Bring Kastalsky Work to Life

This recording is worthy of many hearings. I can say with certainty that it is completely enjoyable and, on occasion, a surprisingly innovative composition. It is also performed with great care and professionalism. The musical idiosyncrasies are alluring and the overall effect compelling. Orchestra and chorus both live up to the excellence one would expect and the production qualities are lively. I recommend a listen, or a dozen. © 2020 KC Arts Beat



Colin’s Column, August 2020

Kastalsky’s Requiem is a real find, then, too long unheard and deserving of the wide dissemination that this release now offers, especially in this dedicated and compelling performance under Leonard Slatkin’s galvanising leadership. © 2020 Colin's Column



Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, August 2020

The Requiem ends with the bells: part hugely imposing and celebratory and part seeming to reach out towards apotheosis from the bleak fog of chaos. The superb echoing resonance of the church acoustic is very present as the finale rings out.

This fully-fleshed out Requiem has a tremendously dignified tread, noble grief and imperious ways. Naxos have done well by Kastalsky. © 2020 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2020

Exactly two years ago I was welcoming Alexander Kastalsky’s Memory Eternal to the Fallen Heroes performed in the original and only known 1916 a capella version.

Kastalsky was never to hear his much enlarged Requiem for Fallen Brothers, the Communist regime banning all performances of sacred music in the years leading to his death in 1926. Now, at last, we can hear that revised version calling for two soloists, and a large choir and orchestra. Kastalsky was a pupil of Tchaikovsky and Taneyev and, in turn, the mentor of Rachmaninov, and also a founder of a new era in Russian church music. He became emotionally caught up in the First World War and the human sacrifice involved, his Requiem drawing texts from many sources, with funeral chants in Russian, French, Italian and English. It follows the sections of the Catholic Mass, opening and closing with a Requiem aeterna, and is divided into seventeen sections. Having an orchestra to introduce many and varied colours that were missing in the purely choral version, this performance uses a number of languages to underline its universal character. The enclosed booklet, where necessary, then translates all of the text into English. The soprano soloist, Anna Dennis, perfectly captures the fourth section, Guilty, Now I Pour my Moaning, and Blessed are the dead, while the bass-baritone, Joseph Beutel, gives a suitably restrained What Sweetness in This World. Musically Kastalsky did borrow from others, particularly in Rock of Ages, and at times I feel he was still looking for an overall shape to the work he never achieved. The famous conductor, Leonard Slatkin, the grandson of refugees who managed to get to North America, obtains a considerable depth of feeling from the multiple choruses, and the recording is very good. © 2020 David’s Review Corner





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