“Blessed Art Thou among Women” Debuts On the Billboard Charts

This week, “Blessed Art Thou among Women”, the latest CD from PaTRAM Institute™ debuted at #7 on the Billboard charts!

PaTRAM new CD Blessed are Thou Among Women - Coming Soon!

The Billboard charts tabulate the relative weekly popularity of songs and albums in the United States and elsewhere. The results are published in Billboard magazine.

In addition to this, the PaTRAM™ YouTube channel has had favorable reactions to this new CD, too, including:

Viola Bear

There is literally nothing on earth like this extremely rare choir. I am a retired cathedral choirmaster, organist, composer, teacher and violist. I have dreamed all my life to hear such a choir.  I am so proud of this group and proud of their work. Blessings and long life from a humble musician here in California, USA.

Poor Man’s Vlog

Been listening to this for hours. I am now a saint.

PaTRAM Institute is very thankful to our listeners and subscribers for their help in making this CD yet another critically acclaimed success.

The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom Nominated for a Grammy Award

We are pleased to announce that The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom has been nominated for a Grammy award for Best Choral Performance! Our heartfelt congratulations to composer Kurt Sander; Maestro Peter Jermihov, Conductor; Executive Producers and singers Alex Lukianov and Katya Lukianov, and all of the members of the PaTRAM™ Institute Singers. We are honored and humbled to be nominated for the second year in a row and be counted among the foremost choral ensembles in the world!

We also wish to extend our warm congratulations to Producer, Blanton Alspaugh, on his nomination for Producer of the Year! Blanton produced The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and our first Grammy-nominated CD, Teach Me Thy Statutes.

The 62nd Grammy Awards will be held in January 2020.

Click below to purchase The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom from various outlets:

Amazon

iTunes

Reference Recordings

Musica Russica

ArkivMusic 

 

 

“The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom” by Kurt Sander Earns More Critical Acclaim

PaTRAM™ Institute’s most recent CD, The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom by Kurt Sander, continues to grow in popularity with critics and consumers alike. It has consistently ranked in the Top Ten in Opera and Vocal New Releases on Amazon since its release and even reached #11 on the Billboard Traditional Classical Album charts!

James A. Altena from Fanfare, calls the CD “a landmark of sorts in the discography of Eastern Orthodox liturgical music.”

Bill Gatens of American Record Guide noted that, “the performance is superb and the includes the chanting of baritone Kevin Keys as priest and bass Vadim Gan as deacon. His lowest notes almost defy belief.”

In his review for Fanfare, J.F. Weber writes, “the music has a 19th-century warmth of its own that makes this an altogether remarkable experience of Orthodox liturgy.” He also goes on to remark that, “The singers bring a vast dynamic range to the music and exquisite tonal quality throughout.”

John Quinn at MusicWeb International also reviewed the new CD, writing that “the singing is marvelous throughout and I have the sense that the music could not be in better hands than those of conductor Peter Jermihov.” John Quinn also previously reviewed MusicWeb International’s 2018 Recording of the Year, PaTRAM Institute’s Teach Me Thy Statutes.

Finally, Daniel Morrison (Fanfare) writes, “the performance by the PaTRAM Institute Singers [Peter Jermihov, Conductor] is notable for its beautiful, blended tone, excellent intonation, perfect coordination, finely tuned balances, and profound depth of feeling.”

The CD is available for purchase from the following outlets and many other places where music is sold:

Amazon

Reference Recordings

iTunes

Musica Russica

“Teach Me Thy Statutes” CD – More Solid Reviews

As more and more reviewers listen to PaTRAM™ Institute’s most recent CD, “Teach Me Thy Statutes”, the more accolades it garners.

Ron Schepper, from Textura (an online music magazine), begins his review by saying, “The rich sonorities generated by the male voices makes for a stirring and oft-haunting result, and even a listener coming to the Russian monastic style of singing for the first time will in all likelihood be captivated by this collection of Orthodox sacred music.”.

John Quinn, who reviewed the CD in a previously published review, also included it in his periodic group listening sessions, MusicWeb’s Listening Studio, added the PaTRAM CD to a premiere group of recordings of classical music. Grouped with a collection of well-known composers, Chesnokov takes his place with those legends via the “Teach Me Thy Statutes” CD.

The music is available from the following outlets:

“Teach Me Thy Statutes” CD Continues Garnering Accolades From Reviewers

On its path to recognition by reviewers, PaTRAM™ Institute’s most recent CD, “Teach Me Thy Statutes”, continues to receive positive, and sometimes stellar, reviews from critics. Following on the heels of our previous post, more reviews have been received and shared below.

John Quinn, from Music Web International, begins his review by saying, “this disc is, quite simply a stunner”. Mr. Quinn also adds, “as for the recorded sound, it is absolutely superb”.

Patrick Neas, writing for the Kansas City Star, wrote, “..you will really be blown away by the power and profundity of this impressive disc…”.

Jason Victor Serinus, writing for Stereophile.com, said, “this is a recording for those with a taste for Russian monastic singing, rarely heard outside that country..”.

Finally, a reminder to our readers that this Sunday, July 15th, from 6-9am Alaska Time (10am-1pm Eastern Time),  Joy Sharpe (radio host at KLEF-FM radio in Anchorage, AK) will feature “Teach Me Thy Statutes” on her radio show, “Sacred Concert”. Don’t miss it!

The music is available from the following outlets:

More Reviews About Dr. Jermihov’s Recording of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil

Weeks after the release of the new recording of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil, Dr. Peter Jermihov, and the recording itself, reviews praising the Conductor’s work continue to be published. As well, the recording is being praised for its depth and beauty.

The American Organist is a monthly periodical dedicated to Organ and Choral music. A review was published in the September issue of this journal that discussed this CD.

Please take a moment to read this review.

First Singing of Kurt Sanders’ Divine Liturgy at the Patronal Feast of St. Alexander Nevsky at the Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ

Written by: Alex Milas

Photos provided by the Eastern Archdiocese, unless otherwise stated


“Amazing!”

“Unbelievably moving.”

Those are just two opinions I heard during and after the first-ever singing of Kurt Sander’s original English language Divine Liturgy in the Russian style. Under the guiding hand of conductor Dr. Peter Jermihov, “The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom”, commissioned by PaTRAM, was sung by the PaTRAM choir at the St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ on Sept 12, the Cathedral’s Patronal Feast Day.

Concelebrating with Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York was the diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan and many visiting clergy. The Cathedral was filled with clergy, filled with believers and filled with the beautiful music of this newly written score.

 

 

 

The day began with the myrrh-streaming Hawaiian-Iveron Icon of the Mother of God arriving at the cathedral. The Icon was received by Father Sergei Lukianov and was placed in the Cathedral for believers to venerate.

 

Photo by Zhenya Temidis

Soon after, the PaTRAM choir began singing the Sander Divine Liturgy. The voices echoed through the Cathedral and worshipers seemed moved by the beauty of the music, with the Cherubic Hymn a clear highlight of the service.

Maestro Peter Jermihov was able to draw the best out of the singers despite having only a single 90 minute rehearsal with the full choir, the morning of the event, and two smaller rehearsals the previous Saturday and Sunday at Our Lady of Kazan Church in Newark, NJ, with singers who never before sang this score as an ensemble. A herculean effort to say the least.

 

 

The celebration continued with a procession around the Cathedral on the beautiful sunny morning. Metropolitan Hilarion, Bishop Nicholas and the clergy led the procession while the PaTRAM choir sang with the worshipers walking behind them.

 

At the conclusion of the service His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion bestowed diocesan gramotas to the composer, Kurt Sander, the conductor, Dr. Peter Jermihov and to the founders of PaTRAM, Alexei and Katherine Lukianov. These were extremely proud moments for PaTRAM, as an organization and, of course, personally to these talented individuals. A truly amazing and historic day.

Please visit the Eastern Diocesan Website for more reporting on this historic event.

Chicago Advanced Conducting Master Class – Observers and Students Share Their Opinions

Editor’s Note: all the statements that follow are unsolicited and the author is credited at the end of the statement.

His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Poltava and the Chicago Master Class conductors

I thought very highly of the choir, it was beautiful to listen to and, simply put, it was very well done. It further helped with prayer and the overall Service. For me, the Liturgy came to life, and I felt emotionally connected to the service, especially when the choir was singing. In fact, when the choir was singing, it truly reiterated what it was I had felt during the Service—a sort of excitement and tranquility that is truly unique to come across. Your singing allowed the Service run smoothly and flawlessly and I thank you for that.

The choir holds an imperative role in the Divine Service. The singing is not simply a form of art that is beautiful to listen to; it is something greater. By “greater” I mean it also relaxes and enhances a spiritual connection between the parishioners and the worship experience. It helps set the mood of the entire church and allows for a better connection between us and God.

With regard to PaTRAM Institute, I am keenly aware of this organization’s unique ability to unite Orthodoxy and the Russian people both musically and culturally in America. I find that this organization has tackled a difficult yet uttermost necessary task in bringing people together. I have nothing but praise for PaTRAM and think exceedingly high of this effort. I wish all of its members the best of everything they set out to accomplish and pray that they succeed in all their goals and missions.

Very Rev. Viktor Trotskyy, Dean

Dormition Cathedral

Ferndale, MI


Fr. Andre Papkov & Dr. Nicholas Reeves lead the opening Molebin

I came to this Master Class expecting to improve on a number of fronts: preparation, technique, and expression. I did all three, but in a different fashion than expected. As the term “masterclass” implies, I expected something of a polishing up. What I got was an overhaul, and quickly. In the process, the biggest discovery was that I actually needed it.

Dr. Jermihov shows Allan Haggar a few tricks

Dr.Jermihov met each student where they were, placing consistent yet tailored demands on each. As well, Dr. Reeves provided needed and useful insight to the roots and composition of our music, making preparation for music making easier, yet more thorough. Dr. Jermihov broke my technique down to the most basic elements and rapidly built it back up.

Allan Haggar making it happen

While this was a humbling experience, it also built confidence. I feel better prepared to lead and make music. I also made some great new friends. Thank you!!

 

Allan Haggar, Masterclass Conductor

Chicago, IL

 


Alice Hughes receives technical advice

 

 

Letter to Dr. Peter:

I went into the workshop week prepared to submit to the process and to courageously take in new ideas and techniques, as I have done many times before at other workshops. You know, get a conducting “tune-up” and a few new ideas. (I do the same every year or so with a voice teacher in NYC.) But you, my friend, helped me to do much more than than a “tune-up”. I feel there was a transformation. Time, and the weeks ahead, will show whether or not, or what will stick long term, but I believe it has dramatically shifted my approach.

You are a terrific pedagogue and have a wonderful way of meeting each student where they are. That is a gift. Each and every student made progress forward. From my “huge heart”, THANK YOU. The days in Chicago will be remembered with fondness, daily change, and forward progress.

Alice Hughes making it happen

I moved out of my comfort zone, you guided …. magic happened.

My love in Christ,

Alice Hughes, Master Class Conductor

Santa Cruz, CA


Dr. Jermihov leads Observer Conductors in conducting fundamentals

Due to the fact that the student conductors and observers also participated as singers during the rehearsals and services, an extraordinary sense of collegiality existed among us, having shared the same musical journey from Wednesday evening’s first rehearsal to the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning.

Katya Lukianov making it happen

In fact, we were actively encouraged to provide verbal and written feedback each day, which deepened our relationships with each other as student conductors, as well as with the ensemble. When I finally stepped onto the podium during the Vigil to conduct the compositions I had been assigned, I was met with an overwhelming sense of support from my colleagues, and affirmation of the progress I had made as a conductor during the intense sessions. As a church conductor who had never before lead any ensemble other than a volunteer choir, the experience of a dynamic collaboration with the professional musicians in front of me was one of the most exhilarating and intensely satisfying moments of my life.

Jelena Vranic making it happen

The strong sense of collaboration and collegiality, however, was balanced and put into context by the watchful presence and masterful leadership of Dr. Peter Jermihov. During every moment of the 3 hours of podium time each conducting student received, he provided thoughtful analysis of the student’s strengths and flaws, and created a learning environment where we felt safe to explore new options and paths not always open in the amateur setting. I personally experienced this in two ways.

First, I was encouraged to relax and experience the choir’s innate musical energy, providing only the pulse of the music and shaping the direction of the sound with small, easy gestures.

Constantine Stade making it happen

At the same time, however, I was encouraged to experience the generosity of sound that is provoked by using the entire reach of my arm, breaking out the the constricted style I had confined myself to.

All in all, my experience during the masterclass was that of intense preparation and a very rich and rewarding music-making experience.

A far cry from being focused on delivering a performance “good enough” for a church service, we had launched out into the deep—truly living out the experience of uniting our Orthodox worship with the highest musical aspiration.

Constantine Stade, Master Class Conductor

St. Louis, MO


Serge Liberovsky receives technical advice

The Master Class was a great experience for me and I learned a lot. Dr. Peter’s personal touch really helped not to mention the generous amount of podium time. An excellent experience all around.

Serge Liberovsky, Master Class Conductor

Los Angeles, CA

Chicago Master Class – A Personal Observation

Written by Sergey Furmanov

From June 21-25 2017, the PaTRAM Institute held a Master Class for choral conductors in Chicago, IL. The event was unique in that, in the course of their studies, students has the chance to polish their conducting skills with a professional choral ensemble under the guidance of Peter Jermihov, a world-renown figure in the conducting field. In the course of three hours of podium time, broken up into six half-hour segments with the choir and a professional accompanist, every gesture of the student-conductor and every sound of the choir was subject to criticism/input from Maestro Jermihov. The degree of immersion into the nuances of conducting technique was akin to the exposure Piotr Nikolaevich had, in his own time, while studying under the famous teacher and mentor of conductors—Ilya Aleksandrovich Musin.

The Master Class was preceded by intensive preparations by the students, who were asked to prepare several compositions for the upcoming All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy Services to be held at the Pokrov Cathedral. The repertoire of hymns was selected with flawless taste and in conjunction with the respective levels and abilities of the students. The inclusion of such classics as Gladsome Light by Kastalsky, Blessed Art Thou, O Lord by Tcahikovsky, as well as music by living composers—Psalm 103 by Fr. Sergey Glagolev, Mercy of Peace by Nun Iyuliania Denisova, Cherubic Hymn by Kurt Sander—undoubtedly contributed to the development of a broad overview of available repertoire and enriched everyone with bold musical material.

At the Pokrov Cathedral – His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Poltava, His Grace Archbishop Peter of Chicago and Mid-America, His Grace Archbishop Alypy (ret), PaTRAM Master Class conductors and singers and the Pokrov Choir

Besides the practical lessons in conducting, students were expected to play on the piano music assigned to all the student conductors, in this way participating in the learning process of their colleagues and, at the same time, raising their own musicianship. In the same vein, the score studies in analysis and score preparation, led by Professor Nicholas Reeves, substantially enriched the students’ knowledge of music history, harmony, polyphony, and musical form.

The Master Class participants are deeply grateful to all who invested their enormous energies towards the organization of the class at the highest professional level. In the first place, this gratitude is extended to Maestro Peter Jermihov, whose energy and talent bring to life Beethoven words: “music is not simply a viable form of self-expression but a moral and ethical force.” The Master Class was made possible by the generosity of Alexis and Katherine Lukianov, and the ideal and smooth-functioning logistics of the class were executed behind the scenes by the ever-present efforts of the PaTRAM staff—Alex Milas and Tatiana Geringer. With God’s help, such Master Class will continue to bring to life the main objective of the PaTRAM Institute—the bringing together musical excellence with prayer.

Русская версия доступна здесь

Oktavism.com Review: Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil by Gloriæ De Cantores under Peter Jermihov

Prior to reading the review, it deserves noting that of the 7 Oktavists in the Choir on this recording, 4 were from the Patriarch Tikhon Choir including PaTRAM’s CEO, Alexis V. Lukianov.

Review that follows was reprinted from Oktavism.com.

Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil has been performed wonderfully many times. In recent years the Kansas City Chorale & Phoenix Chorale under Charles Bruffy won a Grammy for their 2015 recording. Another award-winning American recording is Robert Shaw’s. For a more authentic Russian sound, we may look to recordings by the USSR Ministry of Culture Chamber Choir under Valeri Polyansky, or the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir under Nikolai Korniev. In my opinion, however, none of these recordings has come close capturing the authority and majesty of the USSR Academic Russian Choir’s 1965 performance under Alexander Sveshnikov. This is precisely what Jermihov’s release accomplishes. As I listened, I was again and again reminded of Sveshnikov’s benchmark recording.

Jermihov’s vision for the project was to “combine the pursuit of musical excellence with a search for the work’s distinctly Christian content,” and furthermore, “an attempt to answer the basic question: How did Rachmaninoff hear this music?” This vision shows through in the performance. The musical virtuosity never overshadows the worship conveyed in the text, but rather augments it. While the Bruffy recording does this better than other American recordings, Jermihov’s goes even further in capturing not only the music’s reverential essence, but also its Russian spirit. The protodeacon’s exclamations are performed by bass Vadim Gan, who is himself a Protodeacon under the First hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad at the Synod of Bishops’ Cathedral in New York. The other soloists on this recording also bring a Slavic authenticity to the text: Mariya Berezovska, mezzo-soprano, and Dmitry Ivanchenko, tenor, are both distinguished performers from National Opera of Ukraine in Kiev. Combined with Jermihov’s extensive experience with Church Slavonic and the Orthodox liturgy, these soloists are the perfect answer to the question, “How did Rachmaninoff hear this music?”

The quality of the recording itself is luxuriant, and in this respect it clearly surpasses Sveshnikov’s, simply as a result of the technological divide between 1965 and today. That said, Jermihov’s recording also surpassing many recent recordings as well, and is at least the equal of high-quality offerings like Bruffy’s.

Of course, part of what draws me to this music is the depth communicated through its basses. The combined members of Gloriæ De Cantores, The St. Romanos Cappella, The Patriarch Tikhon Choir, and The Washington Master Chorale provide us with a bass section that is virtually unmatched among recordings of the All-Night Vigil. In Pavel Chesnokov’s seminal work, The Choir and How to Direct It, he gives specific ratios for voices in each category to produce a proper sound. One hardly ever finds choirs capable of matching his high ratio of oktavists. Indeed, as Chesnokov himself admitted, “These voices, though they are quite beautiful, are to some degree a luxury in a choir (though almost a necessary one).” For a choir of 81, Chesnokov suggests that there be 6 oktavists to provide proper support. Jermihov’s recording actually narrowly exceeds this ratio. Among 78 singers, 7 are oktavists: Sergey Baybikov, Elias Dubelsten, Vadim Gan, Alexis Lukianov, Glenn Miller, Andrew Mitchell, and Paul Norman. Any oktavist enthusiast will immediately recognize several names on this list, and they all come together to produce one of the most formidable oktavist sections I have encountered.

All the voices on this recording deserve praise, but the oktavists, as a necessary luxury, are particularly to be lauded. They don’t merely manage to sing the daunting contra notes required; they sing them with authority. The famous descent to B flat in the fifth movement is breathtaking—possibly the best I’ve ever heard. Perhaps the most awe-inspiring moment, however, occurs at the end of the fourteenth movement, “Thou Didst Rise from the Tomb,” where the basses octave the final low G. Again, I was transported to Sveshnikov’s 1965 recording, one of the few recordings where we can also hear this optional note.

Before concluding this review, I should add that the fifty-two page booklet that comes with the recording is delightful. We get a thoughtful, enlightening essay from Peter Jermihov himself, translations of the texts, notes on the significance of these texts in the Russian Orthodox tradition—and all of this is gorgeously illustrated. I appreciate the thoroughness of these notes, especially down to giving us the names of the oktavists on the recording—a little tidbit of info (and I speak from experience) that can be surprisingly difficult to track down.

For me, Jermihov’s recording now stands alongside Sveshnikov’s as its equal.

 

PaTRAM partner, Musica Russica, weighs in on Rachmaninoff’s “All Night Vigil” recording

Written by Vladimir Morosan

Another recording of the Rachmaninoff “All-Night Vigil”? Selling for more than $20? Really?

Yes, there are many reasons why you should buy this new recording of the acknowledged pinnacle of Russian Orthodox sacred music, performed by the Gloriae Dei Cantores, together with members of the St. Romanos Cappella, the Patriarch Tikhon Choir, and the Washington Master Chorale, all under the direction of Peter Jermihov.

  • Reason No. 1 – the assembled choir of 78 voices, including 7 bass octavists, has the proper choral power and sonority to do justice to Rachmaninoff’s complex and colorful score; they get the Russian choral sound right!
  • Reason No. 2 – the conductor, Peter Jermihov, brings to this project a unique set of knowledge and skills: native knowledge of the Russian language and a life-long acquaintance with Church Slavonic, as well as a thorough familiarity with the Orthodox liturgical hymns and theology that lie at the center of this work; he gets the large-scale interpretation and the minute, text-driven shadings right!
  • Reason No. 3 – the singers all have long-standing experience with performing sacred music—both in worship and in concert, as a result of which they are able to bring the proper spiritual focus to the difficult task of recording this masterpiece; they get the sacredness and reverence of this music right!
  • Reason No. 4 – the HDCD with Surround Sound audio, engineered by Grammy winner Keith O. Johnson, delivers a listening experience unmatched by streaming services and various “compressed” audio formats; the recording gets the sound right!
  • Reason No. 5 – the CD is accompanied by a 52-page booklet that contains a substantive essay on the music by Maestro Jermihov, as well as a superb presentation of the original text, phonetic transliteration, and English translation, matched with exquisite visual images that relate to the texts; the entire production and presentation “gets it right”!

The end result? You, the listener, receive a landmark recording, one that is destined to become the new standard for this work.

If you are a conductor contemplating a performance of the Rachmaninoff Vigil, you will need to consult this recording as a new measure of excellence.

If you are an audiophile who already know and love this masterwork, you cannot afford not to own this recording for all the new perspectives it will open up to you.

And if you don’t know the Rachmaninoff “All-Night Vigil” yet, THIS is the recording you should get to begin your acquaintance. You will have to wait a long time before something better comes along!

Recording of Rachmaninoff’s “All-Night Vigil” Continues Garnering Positive Reviews

As a follow-up to the recent post of PaTRAM’s esteemed faculty member, Dr. Peter Jermihov’s, highly praised performance on the CD recording of the “All Night Vigil” by Rachmaninoff, PaTRAM would like to share with its readers another positive and moving commentary of this performance.

We urge our readers to read this review.