Prayers for Mankind reviewed by Ivan Moody, Gramophone

Alexander Levine: “Prayers for Mankind” / Tenebrae

Signum Classics SIGCD212•DDD•T

…The texts, while they are permeated with reminiscences of the Byzantine liturgy, are very personal indeed, and for that reason Alexander Levine has been able to react to them in an equally personal fashion, being guided by the words and the emotional contours of the prayers.

But his music is also luminous, because these texts, apparently paradoxically also embrace the whole of humanity-as he writes in “the Prayer for the Disciples of Christ”, “May everything good and beautiful in the world remind us of You”.

Levine is clearly no stranger to the heritage of Russian choral music, but his substantial and often virtuoso work draws from a much wider harmonic palette, and the fact that the words are set in English, and the music intended for Tenebrae, would seem also to have imparted to the work something of an English sound, to which its dedicatees responded with passion.

Impressive and moving, and beautifully captured.

Ivan Moody, Gramophone – Jan. 2011