New Recording Release: Kastalsky’s Requiem

New Recording Release: Kastalsky’s Requiem
August 31, 2020 leonard slatkin

August 28, 2020

The world-premiere recording of Alexander Kastalsky’s Requiem for Fallen Brothers was released by Naxos Records in its complete and revised, 17-movement version for orchestra, choir, and soloists. The album—which was recorded live in Washington National Cathedral on October 21, 2018, during a performance commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armistice—features the combined forces of multiple GRAMMY®-winning ensembles conducted by Leonard Slatkin.

After a century in waiting, the Cathedral Choral Society, Clarion Choir, Saint Tikhon Choir, Kansas City Chorale, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and conductor Leonard Slatkin present Kastalsky’s Requiem, a universal memorial echoing the tragedy and hope of the “war to end all wars.”

“The three soloists and four choirs involved have really grasped what is needed to communicate this complex work, and Slatkin’s driven direction of the Orchestra of St Luke’s means that the tension never lets up. It may have had to wait until now to be revealed to audiences but this is an extraordinary work and this fine recording will, I am convinced, ensure that it acquires a permanent place in the repertoire.”

—Ivan Moody, Gramophone

“This production, captured live, is to say the least, successful, thanks to the passionate direction of Leonard Slatkin, galvanizing an armada of American choral societies and New York’s Orchestra of St. Luke’s with the help of engaging soloists … Anna Dennis and Joseph Beutel.

Leonard Slatkin gives this epic work an interpretation full of contrasts. He celebrates both its grandeur and its shimmering sonority of bells and keyboard glockenspiels. Despite the uniformly slow tempos, the work never falls into an indifferent dullness. The two orchestral interludes, detailed with the precision of a goldsmith, serve as brief oases of relaxation in this sorrowful work.

Here then is a daring publication, the discovery of a major choral work.”

—Benedict Hévry, ResMusica [translated from French]

“This fully-fleshed out Requiem has a tremendously dignified tread, noble grief and imperious ways. Naxos have done well by Kastalsky.”

—Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

“This is essential listening! Conductor Leonard Slatkin does a superb job holding and melding together a variety of choirs, and leading the Orchestra of St. Luke’s: the performance could easily not have cohered as well as it does. An offbeat work that was well worth retrieving from the scrap heap of history; others will perform it again, but Slatkin has set the bar very high here.”

—James Manheim,

“This recording is worthy of many hearings. I can say with certainty that it is completely enjoyable and, on occasion, a surprisingly innovative composition. It is also performed with great care and professionalism. The musical idiosyncrasies are alluring and the overall effect compelling. Orchestra and chorus both live up to the excellence one would expect and the production qualities are lively. I recommend a listen, or a dozen.”

—Paul Pattison, special to KC Arts Beat

“Leonard Slatkin leads his large orchestral and choral ensembles in this sonic panorama into which he infuses grandeur, devotion and fervor. … This new Naxos release directed by Slatkin is the world’s first recording of the Requiem in its entirety. This passionate and venerable account is yours to discover.”

Crescendo Magazine [translated from French]

“Through it all, Slatkin reveals the inner logic and structural grandeur of this complex work with exemplary clarity and inner detail.”

—Raul da Gama, The Whole Note

“The recording is taken from 2018 performances at Washington National Cathedral, and given the resonant acoustic emerges with surprising clarity. The excellent Orchestra of St. Luke’s supports no less than four choirs under the authoritative direction of Leonard Slatkin.”

—Clive Paget, Limelight

“The epitome of a major release.”

—Ralph Graves, WTJU, 91.1 FM

“⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑ Slatkin, who admits a deep belief in this work, draws a touching performance.”

—Daniel Jaffé, BBC Music Magazine

“[H]eartfelt, profound and consistently beautiful. Leonard Slatkin masterfully marshals the large forces, including the renowned Orchestra of St. Luke’s (in top form here) for the loving resurrection of this important piece.”

—Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News

Additional information at Naxos
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