As Far as the East is From the West: New Orthodox Choral Music

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As Far as the East is From the West: New Orthodox Choral Music

by Gennady Lapaev and Kurt Sander

October 3, 2011

This groundbreaking recording brings together the music of two living composers – Gennady Lapaev of Russia, and Kurt Sander of the United States. The project was inspired by the events of the reunification of mother Russia with her émigré parishes abroad in 2007. Consequently, this CD marks several firsts – the first time a Russian and an American composer have collaborated to produce a joint recording of their own works, the premiere recordings of a number of Lapaev and Sander compositions, and the first disc put forth by a living ROCOR composer.

Lapaev’s work as conductor, composer, and publisher of Russian liturgical music has brought him wide recognition in the Orthodox church. His music has captured the attention of conductors throughout the world who are drawn to his writing. His body of work is stylistically varied, from chant-like textures of monastic simplicity to imaginative sonorities that exploit extended harmonies rarely heard in Russian Orthodox liturgical music.

Sander, a convert to the Orthodox faith and a fervent advocate for the living tradition of Orthodox liturgical music, currently holds the position of chair and professor of composition at Northern Kentucky University. He also teaches music theory and musicianship at the Summer School of Liturgical Music at Holy Trinity Seminary (Jordanville, New York), as well as conducts the choir at St George the Great Martyr Russian Orthodox Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. His music as been described as “combining fresh sound with roots steeped in tradition.” Sander’s compositions are not adaptations or arrangements, but rather organic creations that draw from the inherent beauty of the language of the liturgical hymns he uses, whether it be English or Slavonic. 

The music of the CD came together under the creative direction of Peter Jermihov, a conductor with a long list of professional accolades, who led a 36-voice choir consisting of church musicians from across North America, including parishes in Cleveland, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, Bloomington, and Cincinnati. Joining the church singers were university students and professional vocalists. Soloists include Protodeacon Vadim Gan and Irina Mozyleva. Much hard work and dedication on the part of the singers and the conductor went into the recording process, resulting in a sound that has been described as “exquisite,” “moving,” and “exciting.”


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