Pászti/2 - Hungarian National Philharmonic
Upon hearing the name of Sergei Rachmaninov, most music lovers will think of the rich emotions and virtuosity of the Russian composer’s piano works. Yet there is far more to the life’s work of this great of the late Romantic era: we are also familiar with his orchestral compositions, and in terms of mood and style his church choral work Vespers, also known as the All-Night Vigil, is different again. The piece has special requirements and is rarely sung today, which is why the opportunity to hear this extraordinary creation performed by the Hungarian National Choir, with Csaba Somos conducting, is a truly unique occasion.
In this a cappella choral work, Rachmaninov set texts from the Russian Orthodox all-night vigil ceremony to music. He worked on the composition in January and February 1915, before it received its world premiere on 23 March in Moscow. The composer felt a strong, profound and intrinsic attraction to this composition. Along with his oratorical work The Bells, it was one his two favourite works, and he requested the fifth movement to be played at his funeral. In line with the prescriptions of the Orthodox liturgy, Rachmaninov constructed ten of its 15 movements from the melodies of traditional church vocals. The All-Night Vigil is seen as the culmination of 20 years of interest expressed in Orthodox church music on the Russian classical music scene. Tchaikovsky was the instigator of this process, and also set the the all-night vigil to music. Though music historians have identified many similarities between Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov’s works, they also point out that Rachmaninov’s piece is rather more complex than Tchaikovsky’s. The transfigured atmosphere of All-Night Vigil and the archaic clarity of its choral sound, rich in dark colours, offers a particularly authentic guide to the world of Slavic liturgical music.
Szergej RACHMANINOV: Vespers, op. 37
Beáta MÜLLER- alto
Sándor BOROS - tenor
Hungarian National Choir (Choirmaster: Csaba SOMOS)
Conductor: Benjamin GOODSON
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