Vladimir Morosan
Musica Russia, USA

The album Prayers for Mankind, subtitled 'A Symphony of Prayers of Father Alexander Men,' celebrates the life and writings of Father Alexander Men, a Russian Orthodox priest who was brutally murdered in 1990 on his way to Sunday morning Liturgy. A remarkable priest, writer, teacher, and evangelizer, whose activity still fell mostly within the years of Communist suppression of the Orthodox faith, he has come to be regarded by many as a saint and martyr.

Through his eloquent preaching and writing, Fr. Alexander brought many to the Orthodox faith and thus gained his share of enemies, even unto his death. Out of selected prayers and sermons by Father Men translated into English, Russian composer Alexander Levine fashions a remarkable six-movement 'choral symphony' for unaccompanied voices, which is given its premier recording on this album. The music is quite 'modern,' not at all reminiscent of Orthodox liturgical music, but dissonance is tempered with passages of euphonious beauty…

Overall, the music is powerfully inspired by and reflective of the beauty and profound meaning of the words. The professional English chamber choir Tenebrae negotiates the musical challenges of the score with tremendous confidence, skill, and bravura …

Be that as it may, this is a major new twenty-first-century Orthodox-Christian-inspired choral work that is quite powerful and bears repeated hearing and performance, just as the words (published in English and Russian in the booklet) bear repeated reading and contemplation. This album will be enjoyed by all lovers of contemporary choral music and fine choral singing.

Musica Russia, USA