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Sergei Rachmaninoff

All-Night Vigil ('Vespers')

Vsenoshchnoye bdeniye

Op. 37
Vladimir Morosan and Alexander Ruggieri
All-Night Vigil, Vespers
Mixed
Church Slavonic
124
15
Musica Russica
978-0-9629460-6-6
1992
Ra-ANV
Price: $22.95
Thumb_diction_cd An Audio Diction CD is available for this work.

This piece is available on the following CDs:

A128_thumb Rachmaninoff: All Night Vigil (Vespers)
A140web_thumb All-Night Vigil, Op.37

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Acknowledged as the pinnacle of the early-20th-century "new Russian choral school," Rachmaninoff's Vigil has become a fixture in the world-wide choral repertoire. This edition of Rachmaninoff's masterwork is the "gold standard," used by choirs all over the world for the past 20 years. The true and tested Russica transliteration system ensures superior and authentic diction results. Audio diction tracks can be downloaded from Musica Russica's website.

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil, opus 37, stands as the crowning achievement of the “Golden Age” of Russian Orthodox sacred choral music. This period, which began in the 1880s and lasted until the communist takeover in 1917, was a time when dozens of Russian composers, from such prominent figures as Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov to lesser-known “choral specialists” such as Kastalsky, Chesnokov, Gretchaninoff, and Nikolsky, turned their creative energies to composing choral music on texts drawn from the Russian Orthodox liturgy.

Much of the melodic material was drawn from the well-spring of ancient unison chants—known by such exotic names as Znamenny (meaning “notated by means of neumes”), Kievan (referring to Kiev, the “cradle” of Russian Christianity and Eastern Slavic civilization), and Greek (ostensibly stemming from Byzantium, the Second Rome). To use these chants in contemporary liturgical circumstances, however, required dressing them up, so to speak, in new polyphonic attire. Ten of the fifteen hymns are based on unison chant melodies drawn from the service as it would have been sung in medieval Russia; for the remaining five sections Rachmaninoff composed what amount to his own chant melodies.

Viewed in the broad context of twentieth-century European music, Rachmaninoff’s work is quite “conservative” and, at the same time, quintessentially Russian. It is a setting of the All-Night Vigil service, a curious liturgical concatenation of three services—Vespers, Matins, and First Hour—which was introduced in Russia in the fourteenth century, but proved to be popular and enduring in Russia alone of all Orthodox nations. For his setting Rachmaninoff chose fifteen major psalms and hymns that form the unchanging framework of the Resurrectional Vigil (the service celebrated every Saturday evening).

The music is for chorus a cappella, the traditional vocal complement in the Russian Orthodox Church, which has maintained the ancient-Christian patristic prohibition against musical instruments of any kind.

Rachmaninoff’s choral masterpiece, the All-Night Vigil was  written in 1915, and was premiered March 10, 1915, in a concert by the Moscow Synodal Choir under the direction of Nikolai Danilin, a friend and classmate of Rachmaninoff’s.

 

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Table of Contents

No. Composer Title View PDF Listen
Sergei Rachmaninoff Rachmaninoff: All Night Vigil Score and CD (cond. C. Bruffy)
Editorial Note
The Text of the All-Night Vigil (transliteration and translation)
1. Sergei Rachmaninoff Come, Let Us Worship Pdf_small
2. Sergei Rachmaninoff Bless the Lord, O my soul Pdf_small
3. Sergei Rachmaninoff Blessed Is the Man Pdf_small
4. Sergei Rachmaninoff Gladsome Light Pdf_small
5. Sergei Rachmaninoff Lord, Now Lettest Thou Pdf_small
6. Sergei Rachmaninoff Rejoice, O Virgin Pdf_small
7. Sergei Rachmaninoff The Six Psalms Pdf_small
8. Sergei Rachmaninoff Praise the Name of the Lord Pdf_small
9. Sergei Rachmaninoff Blessed art Thou, O Lord Pdf_small
10. Sergei Rachmaninoff Having Beheld the Resurrection Pdf_small
11. Sergei Rachmaninoff My Soul Magnifies the Lord Pdf_small
12. Sergei Rachmaninoff The Great Doxology Pdf_small
13. Sergei Rachmaninoff Today Salvation Has Come Pdf_small
14. Sergei Rachmaninoff Thou Didst Arise from the Tomb Pdf_small
15. Sergei Rachmaninoff To Thee, O Victorious Leader Pdf_small
Unison Chants Used in the All-Night Vigil
The RUSSICA™ Transliteration System

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