The music of Eastern Orthodox worship is distinctive and often characterized, and unfortunately sometimes stereotyped, by the deep, booming male voices. This is unfortunate as the sacred music of Orthodoxy is much more diverse and balanced than is often thought. This is certainly true for a new CD being released by Valley Entertainment, “Liturgical Treasures from Bulgaria.”
This CD offers selections sung by a male choir, a female choir, a boys choir, and a mixed voice choir. Solo voices often complement, interact with, and enhance the choral voices. There is a range of diversity not only between the various choirs but also within each choir. The music is both transcendent and immanent. It is not so much a bridge between but a joining of heaven and earth, spirit and matter, human and divine.
Some of the selections surprised me by how Western they sound. That is not a criticism but, I think, something to be welcomed and celebrated. It is the power of truly sacred music to live beyond the categories and divisions we often create, and an encouragement for us, as listeners, to do the same.
The CD is available from Valley Entertainment. I appreciate Valley Entertainment offering me the opportunity to listen to and review this CD. Although I was given a copy of the CD I was not compensated for this post. Below you may listen to the first track, “O Gladsome Radiance.”