“The work is a blend of liturgical components (litanies, various antiphons and hymns, an “Our Father”, communion, blessing) and psalm settings (Sheehan adapted Psalms 145 and 148). There are references to ancient Znamenny and Valaam chants as well. As the liturgy opens in its typical call and response with its single chant-like line. The choir then responds in its rich harmonic style. Listeners familiar with the work of composers like Morten Lauridsen will discern a kindred choral style in this music that connects spiritual power and beauty. Reducing this to simple spiritual minimalist writing though will not do the work justice. There are moments that hint at pentatonic lines which adds an ethereal quality to the texts. It actually will become an additional unifying feature of the entire liturgy. … To say that this is a gorgeous performance feels a bit sacrilegious, and yet that is indeed one way to describe the stunning music and choral work. There is a sense too that the music can be easily adapted for most local choirs—may they be inspired to aspire to the heights reached here. Certainly there are any variety of segments that would work fine as standalone choral pieces. The release of Sheehan’s liturgical setting could perhaps not come at a better time as we all are separated, unable to gather in our places of worship, or have this weekly communal opportunity to connect to the divine. … There is music here to touch the soul and might very well make some weep with the memories of their own worshipping communities. There is that additional interior promise of hope and joy, mixed with appropriate reverence, that can also help listeners connect to the divine. … Regardless of one’s faith expression, this music on its own has the power to heal your soul and transform you from the present moment.”
Benedict Sheehan: Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom
To say that this is a gorgeous performance feels a bit sacrilegious, and yet that is indeed one way to describe the stunning music and choral work.… Regardless of one’s faith expression, this music on its own has the power to heal your soul and transform you from the present moment.