THE CATHEDRAL CHORAL SOCIETY’S WORLD-PREMIERE RECORDING OF ALEXANDER KASTALSKY’S REQUIEM RECEIVES TWO GRAMMY® NOMINATIONS
(WASHINGTON, DC)—On November 24, the Recording Academy announced the nominees for the 63rd Grammy® Awards. The CATHEDRAL CHORAL SOCIETY’S world-premiere recording of Alexander Kastalsky’s REQUIEM is nominated for Best Choral Performance and the album’s producer, Blanton Alspaugh, is nominated for Producer of the Year, Classical.
The album—which was recorded live in Washington’s National Cathedral on October 21, 2018, during a performance commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armistice—features the combined forces of the Kansas City Chorale, the Cathedral Choral Society, the Clarion Choir, Saint Tikhon Choir, with soloists Anna Dennis and Joseph Beutel, accompanied by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, led by conductor Leonard Slatkin. Kastalsky’s REQUIEM was released on August 28 and debuted atop the Traditional Classical Billboard chart in September 2020. Since its release, the album received many strong reviews including 5 Stars by the BBC’s Classical Music Magazine, Editor’s Choice by Allmusic, and in Gramophone magazine:
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
Alexander Kastalsky (1856-1926) began planning his Requiem during the summer of 1914. He conceived it “as a large-scale musical collage that would combine prayers for the dead drawn from the various liturgical traditions of the Allies – Orthodox Russia and Serbia, Roman Catholic France and Italy, and Anglican Britain.” A fourteen-movement version was completed in 1916, and performed in Petrograd on January 7, 1917 only 32 days before the beginning of the Russian Revolution. As the war raged and more nations joined the fight, Kastalsky composed three additional movements commemorating the soldiers of the United States of America, Japan, and India. Because performances of sacred music were prohibited after the rise of communism, the piece was nearly lost to history.
After a century in waiting, the CATHEDRAL CHORAL SOCIETY and four internationally renowned ensembles present the world-premiere recording of Kastalsky’s Requiem, a universal memorial echoing the tragedy and hope of the “war to end all wars,” filled with the funerary melodies, hymns, marches, and folk music of the allied nations. The 63rd Grammy® Awards will be presented on January 31, 2021.