MusicWeb International Recommends Sheehan’s Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom

MusicWeb International critic John Quinn gives the Recommended distinction to St. Tikhon Choir’s recording of Benedict Sheehan: Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom:

“Sheehan’s music is very beautiful and inventive. … Sheehan’s Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom is best heard as an uninterrupted sequence; such listening does full justice to his conception. However, if I were asked to recommend one movement for a prospective listener to hear as a sampler, I would unhesitatingly propose the ninth movement, Cherubic Hymn. This is a hypnotically beautiful creation. The music is hushed and slow-moving, allowing the luxuriant harmonies and lovely part-writing to unfold expansively. I could easily see this piece becoming a standalone concert item. Mind you, it would require an expert choir to do it justice for the music clearly requires expert breath control and superb discipline. Fortunately, Sheehan’s choir is ideally equipped for the assignment and they give a fantastic, dedicated performance. The music is radiant, especially at around 3:35. Eventually, at 5:40, the pace is increased somewhat and the volume grows louder as the choir sings ‘that we may receive the King of all’. Then the music subsides during the closing ‘Alleluias’; these are the alleluias of angels. Try this movement and I predict you’ll be hooked. … the level of invention and musical dedication is consistently high throughout. … Benedict Sheehan’s music is wonderful but so too is the performance by The Saint Tikhon Choir. The singers make a fantastic sound which consistently delights the ear. As a group they are capable of outbursts of great fervour – the last two movements, for example, contain joyful, even forthright music – and in such passages the choir’s singing is genuinely exciting. On the other hand, they are just as adept at delighting the listener with firm-bodied soft singing. The blend is excellent and I particularly appreciate the fullness of the bass sound… I’ve found listening to this setting of Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom an enriching experience. The music is very fine and seems to me to fit the words like a glove. The standard of performance is superb and makes me keen to hear more of this gifted choir and conductor. … Anyone interested in the music of the Orthodox church should investigate this high-quality release to discover how a composer of today is successfully building on and respecting the tradition of the past while renewing and expanding that tradition for our times.”

—John Quinn, MusicWeb International

See the full review and recommendation at MusicWeb-International.com!

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