Choral chants are certainly some of the most relaxing, soothing and serene forms of music available today. They make for fine music, good for inducing sleep at night, and for pleasant dreams afterward, or even as substitutes for the many tapes and CDs available that sport ocean sounds and what have you.
Sacred Treasures III: Choral Masterworks from Russia and Beyond is a compilation of these choral chants, 14 of them to be exact. Most of the chants on the album were recorded in Russia, from inside cathedrals and churches across the once great nation, many of them located in St. Petersburg. Some of the offerings included are “Alleluia, Behold the Bridegroom,” “Gloria (Excerpt),” “Blessed Art Thou O lord (Kiev Chant),” “Amen, Alleluia,” and “Komm Susser Tod,” a piece originally written by J.S. Bach and further elaborated by Gunnar Eriksson.
Choral chants are typically a polarizing form of music—you either love them, or you hate them. They are, nonetheless, beautiful choral masterworks that are moving whether or not you happen to be religious. The wall of sacred voices will raise many a chill along any listener’s flesh, if he or she will give even half a listen. Just one listen to the vocal solo of Irina Arkhipova over the falling voices of the choir on “Praise the Lord O My Soul (Greek Chant)” proves that the music survives as a moving form of expression. The chants serve their religious purpose well—they tend to elevate themselves above the mechanics of their form and take on a transcendent purpose. One oft times thinks they are listening to a choir of angels come down to glorify their Lord.
But all of this is just a quick sketch of the beauty of the music. If you like choral chants, then Sacred Treasures III is without a doubt a must-have; if, however, you’ve never been a big fan of choral chant, then you’re not likely to find much here to change your mind. The offerings are thoroughly traditional and hold not a glimmer of modernity with which to entice the contemporary listener. This is not Enigma, just moving music full of wonder and serenity, unadorned and breathtaking.