Georgy Sviridov's (1915–1998) Canticles and Prayers is considered by many as one of the most important works in Russian sacred music. In this new recording Latvian Radio Choir under Sigvards Klava offer impressive renditions of music from this collection by the Russian master. Sviridov, a pupil of Shostakovich, began writing religious works since 1969. Since then these works came to form an important part of his oeuvre. In the 1980s Sviridov had several projects to write a liturgy or a mass. In the end, the sketches of his sacred music came to form a cycle titled Canticles and Prayers. The work was created at a turning point in the history of Russia, the perestroika years that ended in the collapse of the Soviet state. The composer was keenly affected by the events of those years, building a monument to his era. The main body of Canticles and Prayers was assembled between 1988 and 1992. In September 1997, Sviridov selected the versions he thought best, approving the final order for the first three parts and making the final edits to the score. This work remained incomplete at the time of his death in 1998. Canticles and Prayers was thus Sviridov's last work. The recording also includes chorus The Red Easter (1978) based on a cycle of Easter hymns.
This is a beautiful selection of Sviridov’s choral music. There is a subtlety to phrasing of the Latvian Radio Choir’s performance of the Trisagion, for example, that often eludes Russian and Ukrainian choirs. Gramophone