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Georgian Harmony Choir - Sacred Georgian Chants
[Audio CD]


Apart from some masterpieces by Russian composers of the 19th- and 20th-century, the liturgical music of the Orthodox Church is not well known in the West. Perhaps one should say Orthodox Churches, as there are a number of independent, self-governing churches, usually linked to a particular country or region, with distinct traditions and customs, although united in faith and in communion with one another. The Georgian Orthodox Church, dating back to the 4th century, has developed and preserved a distinctive musical tradition based on three-part polyphony. Often the top two vocal lines interact in ways suggestive of, but different from, 16th-century Western vocal counterpoint, while the lowest voice combines aspects of both a Western bass line and the Byzantine ison, but is not the same as either.

The Georgian Harmony Choir, seven singers under the direction of Nana Peradze, makes a strong case for this music. Their singing is unforced and exceptionally well blended, with great accuracy of pitch and rhythmic precision. Their technique, however, never overshadows the music, which sounds as free and effortless as though it were being improvised on the spot. One can only imagine a worship service enhanced by such music.

The liner notes include a brief historical overview of Georgian church music and a sort biography of Nana Peradze. Unfortunately there are no notes on the individual pieces, which would have been interesting asnd helpful. The present Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II, is himself a composer of liturgical chants. One wonders whether he's represented on this CD. At least one selection's harmonic progressions have a rather contemporary feel.
Date Added: 08/03/2013 by Kazimir
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