PRESS

It is a long time since we heard such a wonderful performance, a performance of high culture!
Tears of emotion flowed freely! It was one of the best nights in many years. It’s peculiar that everyone even those for whom the experience is new is moved by this spiritual music. It is close to the human heart. Many thanks to the group!!! You don’t want it to end.
“Where” 1997. Larnaca, Spain.

“The Choir is a gem”
Listening to the Men’s Choir of St. Petersburg you experience every sound of a musical piece with them. The choristers sing in such  a way that you don’t want the performance to end. I, and probably all the listeners didn’t want such marvelous, soulful, sincere singing to end!
“Westfalenpost”   1997.  Germany.

“Such voices could only come from Russia”
It was a great pleasure to hear this concert. It was a joy to see these wonderful Russian men talented and pious. Hearing their divine voices, one wants to believe that Russia is alive and God has not abandoned her.
“Postimees” 2003. Tallin, Estonia.

“It is a men’s only choir”
Vadim Afanasiev has proved that Russia continues to nourish unique voices. The choir continues to surprise listeners with its phenomenal talent. Every singer is superb and very individual. It is not surprising, they have each won a very stiff competition to join the group. Maestro: “Our choir is a living organism and like any living organism it breathes, has its ups and downs and continues to develop. First and foremost my task is to preserve this living process. We are not like a greenhouse plants, grown in an artificial environment, but sinners, always confessing our sins, but always alive.”
“News” 2005. Riga, Latvia.

“Music of Eternity”
Listening to the choir you hear the music of eternity. It seems that we have waited our whole lives to meet the Men’s Choir of St. Petersburg.  The audience will never forget this! Such joy! Inspiration! We were filled with deep emotions. We were moved by their great talent and effort.
We wish them happiness and success. All the best to the choir!
“Bruxelles Brabant wallon”  2005. Belgium.

“Unexpected discovery of men’s voices”
It’s difficult to express in words the feelings you experience listening to the choir euphony, perfect pitch!. Maestro Afanasiev is a real professional.
“World Music” 2006. Seoul, South Korea.

And again, flawless!
Our public knows and loves you. The sound of your singing struck the listeners with its realness, pure emotion and  lack of artificiality. Neither the director nor the choristers highlight themselves individually, through the music but rather, the music flowing through the soul  of each choir member, makes itself known to each listener in a new, always beautiful form.
“Le Monde”  2006. France.

“From the bustle of everyday live we found  ourselves in another world”
It makes one want to write poetry…
Tears are still flowing! Heart is singing! A storm of emotions and staggering inspiration!

“Agrarisch Dagblad”   2008. Nederland.

Show dazzles with beautiful tones

The Male Choir of St. Petersburg performs uplifting traditional orthodox, classical and folk selections.
By MARCIO BEZERRA, Special to the Daily News
One could not have asked for a more perfect way to usher in Lent: The Ash Wednesday concert of The Male Choir of St. Petersburg burg at The Society of Four Arts was at once awe inspiring and solemn, contemplative and uplifting.
Featuring a balanced mix of traditional orthodox, classical and folk selections, the relatively young ensemble (it was founded in 1993) took the audience into a journey of unchartered territory. Fortunately, the language and cultural barriers were bridged, thanks to the exceptional abilities of the ensemble.
The Male Choir of St. Petersburg was created to revitalize the ancient tradition of male-only choirs in tsarist Russia.
That tradition had disappeared in the early 20th century when women were finally allowed to sing in church services. While the new addition let composers explore new possibilities, it took some of mystical aura associated with the male groups.
And that mystical aura was, indeed, present in the first half of Wednesday’s concert.
The program featured four liturgical motets by three Russian composers active in early 20th century.
Those were followed by a set of five sacred songs by Pavel Tchesnokov, one of Russia’s major sacred music composers.
His music is characterized by a sincerely devout atmosphere that is achieved through a haunting use of chromaticism underlying beautiful solo lines.
The highlights of set were The Eternal Council, which featured counter-tenor Dmitry  Popov; and Do Not Reject Me in my Old Age, which featured basso-profundo Mikhail Kruglov.
Both soloists, each in one of the extremes of the male voice range, performed with inspired feeling and proficient technique. The beautiful tones of their voices translated better than words the emotions and reflections portrayed in their selections.
Yet, the absence of text translations was a little problematic in the programs second half, which presented secular selections.
One could have benefited from knowing a little more about the texts, especially those of humorous songs.
Still, the sheer beauty of the male choir’s sound, combined with the expressive direction of Vadim Afanasiev, translated the musical meanings to a satisfactory level. Moreover, the return of Popov and Okulov for two contiguous selections at the end of the program added to that satisfaction.
Once again, The Society of the Fours Arts has gone off the beaten path to provide an unusual musical experience. Once again, it was a journey worth talking.

Palm Beach Daily News, February 27, 2009

Male Choir of St. Petersburg to give Athens debut performance

The performing Arts Center will present the Male Choir of St. Petersburg in its first American tour Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall.
The ensembles Athens concert will offer a true exploitation of the soul of Russia music, showcasing a varied repertoire that ranges from 19th century liturgical works to selections by Tchaikovsky and other major composers, along with popular Slavonic, Russian and Ukrainian folk songs.
Considered one of St. Petersburg’s genuine musical treasures, the choir was founded in 1993 by Vadim Afanasiev, its artistic director. The choir consists of 20 professional musicians: 10 tenors, 4 baritones, 3 basso and 3 basso-profundos. The basso-profundos, who are capable of easily reaching notes as low as the bottom G, are so popular that they have their own fan club and videos on YouTube.
Choral singing has existed in Russia throughout the country’s history, and with the emergence of Christianity it gained a special place in the cultural and spiritual life of the Russia people. The Male Choir of St. Petersburg was created to revive the traditions of the Choir of Sovereign’s Church Choristers established by Ivan 3, one of the longest-reigning Russian rulers in history, also known as Ivan the Great.
A pre-concert lecture will be given at 7:15 p.m. by Thomas Taylor Dickey, a doctoral student in orchestral conducting at UGA. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Columns, Feb. 23, 2009

MALE CHOIR OF ST. PETERSBURG - RUSSIA

March 8 tonight, Hodgson Concert Hall.
Classical singer Charlotte Church has the unique gift of a singing voice so high it can break glass. Russian vocalist Mikhail Kruglov can do the exact opposite - harmonizing notes in the lowest vocal range.
Along with three other basso profundo in the prestigious Male Choir of St. Petersburg, Kruglov can sing one of the lowest notes, the G below the bass clef staff, a rare talent among many vocalists.

"These unique voices have been a product of Russia for years and continue to amaze listeners with their phenomenal capabilities," said Thomas Taylor Dickey, a doctoral student in orchestral conducting at the University.
The choir, formed in 1993, consists of 20 professional musicians who showcase 19th century liturgical works by Tchaikovsky and other famous Russian composers.
Vadim Afanasiev, the maestro of the choir, prides himself on honoring Ivan the Great's Choir of the Sovereign's Church's choristers by keeping specific traditions in tact. Traditions such as strict membership requirements and rigorous private study techniques ensure a high caliber group of performers.
"As decreed by Ivan III, only the most gifted, specially chosen choristers were chosen for membership," Dickey said. "The fact that the music is being performed by Russian singers who are the product of a system of training that is centuries old lends an authenticity to the performance that can only be created by this choir."
The choir performs both sacred and secular music, representing the diverse musical gamut of Russian culture. From marches to chants and hymns to folk songs, "a genuine Russian spirit can be heard," Dickey said.
The religious aspect of the performance reminds Dickey of the words of St. Augustine: "To sing is to pray twice."
Music historically has been an important feature of worship in the Christian faith, but when performing religious compositions, the Male Choir of St. Petersburg strives to do more than just send an offering to God - often it gives audiences inspiration.
"Something about choral music unites people. They always feel there's something greater than ourselves. It's a part of nature, and that's why it brings us closer to God," said Lauren Connell, a freshman international affairs and classics major.
Whether an audience wishes to learn more about a foreign culture, experience a sacred Christian tradition or seek pleasure in the beautiful voices of choral music, the Male Choir of St. Petersburg can satisfy its craving.
"Whether it is a concert of works heard for the first time or the hundredth time, I always hope that the audience will take away with them an understanding of - and an appreciation for - the music," Dickey said.

March 8 tonight, Hodgson Concert Hall. USA


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