KYIV CHAMBER CHOIR
Sergei Rachmaninov: "The Hymns of the All Night Vigil"(op.37)
Rachmaninov's works are being performed throughout the world. His symphonies, piano concertos and sonatas are well known. Still in the vast space of Rachmaninov’s music there are some preserved corners. One of which is his sacred music. For a long time kept silent but not forgotten The Hymns of the All-Night Vigil does not stop to amaze everyone through its harmony from which the ethos of its author remains untouched.
Within the many creations and musical cultures of Sergei Rachmaninov “ The hymns of the all-night Vigil” for mixed choir has a specific niche.
For a long time kept silent but not forgotten the hymns all-night Vigil was created for concert performance but still retaining its deep spiritual form. Even now this work does not stop to amaze everyone through its harmony from which the ethos of its author remains untouched.
From the fifteen hymns of the all-night Vigil at least nine hymns trace their roots in its original surroundings. The young Sergei Rachmaninov diligently and carefully mastered Greek and Kievan chants as collected by Stepan Smolenskij, an eminent church leader, to whom the hymns of the all-night Vigil is dedicated to.
Close to Rachmaninov’s hymns of the all-night vigil one finds he vigorous appropriation of Orthodox tradition. Amongst these traditions, and for the formation of his composing style Sergei Rachmaninov’s directional and significant agent was his own hearing experiences and the sensations of his life. The “verse” doubling melodies of the hymns of the all-night Vigil, the change in the number of voices, uneven lines, solo parts pour out the “hearing” of its choral song as derived from live practice and clerical singing sung not by the reading of musical notes but as lead by the conductor. Such singing Sergei Rachmaninov could hear every Sunday by arising at seven in the morning and attending the liturgy. This tradition united and gravitated Rachmaninov to the monumentality of the operatic choral stage of Hlinka, Mussorgsky,
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Borodin and to the orchestral invitations of Tchaikovsky and choral findings of Taneev which formed the foundations of the hymns of the all-night Vigil. But above all the mighty compositional individuality and never repeating “Rachmaninov’s notes” brought about an astonished outcry and proclamation that “Rachmaninov’s talent is blossoming quickly as is sincerity of his music which impresses …”
The premier of the ‘hymns of the all-night Vigil” took place on the 10th of march 1915 in Moscow in the Great Hall of Noble Gethering. The Synod Choir sang under the direction of M.Danilina. Immediately after the score was published.
This recording by the Kyiv Chamber Choir under the leadership of the merited artist of Ukraine Mykola Hobdich will dazzle and uphold the vitality, and thus the genious of Sergei Rachmaninov’s creations.