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Rachmaninov - Vespers

Composer Sergey Rachmaninov
Performer Netherlands Radio Choir
Kaspars Putniņš, conductor
Period Romantic
Catalogue Number BIS-2039 SACD
EAN 7318599920399
Format SACD Hybrid

This hybrid disc plays on both CD and SACD players
SACD Surround - SACD Stereo - CD Stereo

Release date Feb 2014
Total time 60'20

The rituals and traditions of the Orthodox Church formed an essential part of Sergei Rachmaninov's musical and cultural background. As a young boy in St Petersburg he'd accompany his grandmother to the city’s churches, later remarking: 'I took less interest in God and religious worship than in the singing, which was of unrivalled beauty, especially in the cathedrals.'

Phrases reminiscent of liturgical chant appear in Rachmaninov's music from the First Symphony of 1895 to the Symphonic Dances of 1940, and from the time of its first performance in 1915, his All-Night Vigil has been recognised as a supreme achievement in the music of the Russian Orthodox Church. Together with the choral symphony The Bells, it was also the composer’s own favourite among all his works. Often referred to as ‘Rachmaninov’s Vespers’, its fifteen movements in fact make up an All-night Vigil service, consisting of not only the Vespers, but also the liturgical offices of Matins, Lauds and Prime.

When composing it, Rachmaninov carefully observed the general principles of Orthodox church music, but seems to have realised that the practical difficulties of his Vigil made liturgical performances unlikely. The choral writing makes huge demands on even the most skilled choirs: in the course of the work Rachmaninov shows astonishing resource in exploiting every possibility offered by changes of texture, timbre, register and weight. It is here performed by the highly regarded Netherlands Radio Choir, one of the largest and most versatile professional choirs in the world, conducted by Kaspars Putniņš.

As a coupling they have chosen to record one of Rachmaninov's earliest works, composed in 1893 and unpublished in his lifetime. The Theotokos, Ever-Vigilant in Prayer is a hymn to the Virgin – ‘the one who gives birth to God’ – and clearly aims to exploit the skill of a first-class choir, with its varied textures, tempos and wide range of dynamics.
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  Sergey Rachmaninov
  All-Night Vigil (Vespers), Op.37 (1915) 51'10
01 1. Priidite, poklonimsya (O come, let us worship) 2'40
02 2. Blagoslovi, dushe moya, Gospoda (Praise the Lord...) 4'05
03 3. Blazhen muzh (Blessed is the man) 4'09
04 4. Svete tikhyi (O gentle radiance) 2'45
05 5. Nyne otpushchaeshi (Lord, now lettest Thou) 3'23
06 6. Bogoroditse Devo (O Virgin Mother of God, rejoice!) 2'55
07 7. Shestopsalmie: Slava v vyshnikh Bogu (Hexapsalmos: Glory be to God...) 2'09
08 8. Khvalite imya Gospodne (Praise ye the name of the Lord) 2'07
09 9. Blagosloven esi, Gospodi (Blessed art Thou, O Lord) 5'56
10 10. Voskresenie Khristovo videvshe (Having beheld the Resurrection) 2'31
11 11. Velichit dusha moya Gospoda (My soul magnifies the Lord) 6'21
12 12. Slavoslovie velikoe... (The Great Doxology...) 6'18
13 13. Tropar: Dnes spaseniye (Troparion: Today is salvation come) 1'38
14 14. Tropar: Voskres iz groba (Troparion: Thou didst rise again) 2'48
15 15. Vzbrannoy voevode (O queen victorious) 1'25
16 The Theotokos, Ever-Vigilant in Prayer (1893) 7'52
  Album total 60'20
ComposerRachmaninov, Sergey
ConductorPutnins, Kaspars
ChoirNetherlands Radio Choir

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