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Rachmaninoff: All Night Vigil (Vespers)

Sergei Rachmaninoff

USSR Academic Russian Choir
A. Sveshnikov
Melodia/Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Monastery
A128
MP3 Price: $9.99

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Ever since it was first issued in 1965, Alexander Sveshnikov’s recording of Rachmaninoff’s “All-Night Vigil” has been regarded as a “must-have” classic by all collectors and fanciers of Russian sacred choral music. Over the subsequent decades, this recording has come in and out of availability, and now appears in Musica Russica’s catalog for the first time. One may agree or disagree with Sveshnikov’s interpretation of Rachmaninoff’s masterpiece and the degree to which it is “definitive.” On the one hand, he did graduate from the famed Moscow Synodal School, whose choir premiered the All-Night Vigil in 1915, when Sveshnikov (1890-1980) was 25 years old. On the other hand, much about this performance--the growling bass octavists, the deafening fortissimos, the brilliantly contrasting timbres of each choral section, the scooping accents--contradicts what is known about the subtlety and refinement of the Moscow Synodal style: octavists that are “felt, but never heard,” expressive restraint within the bounds of an ecclesiastical aesthetic, a timbral homogeneity approaching that of a string quartet. With several dozen recordings of Rachmaninoff’s “All-Night Vigil” now available, no doubt every conductor, every reviewer, and every listener has his or her favorite. This recording, the first ever of this work, nevertheless, stands as a unique monument that exhibits, in the person of Alexander Sveshnikov, an organic link to the mighty Russian choral tradition within which Rachmaninoff created his remarkable choral masterpiece. The booklet contains a fine essay about the work and this recording (in Russian only) by Dr Marina Rakhmanova. Titles are given in Russian and English.--V.M.

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TRACK LISTING

No. Composer Title Sheet Music Time Buy
1 Sergei Rachmaninoff Come Let us worship Ra023 02:30
2 Sergei Rachmaninoff Bless the Lord, O My Soul Ra024 05:37
3 Sergei Rachmaninoff Blessed is the man Ra025 05:42
4 Sergei Rachmaninoff Gladsome Light Ra026 03:41
5 Sergei Rachmaninoff Lord, Now Lettest Thou Ra027 04:30
6 Sergei Rachmaninoff Hail, O Virgin Mother Of God Ra028 03:01
7 Sergei Rachmaninoff Six Psalms Ra029 03:17
8 Sergei Rachmaninoff Praise Ye The Name Of The Lord Ra030 03:44
9 Sergei Rachmaninoff Blessed Art Thou, o Lord Ra031 07:14
10 Sergei Rachmaninoff Having Beheld The Resurrection Of Christ Ra032 03:17
11 Sergei Rachmaninoff My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord Ra033 07:55
12 Sergei Rachmaninoff Great Doxology Ra034 08:19
13 Sergei Rachmaninoff Today The Salvation Has Come to the World Ra035 01:38
14 Sergei Rachmaninoff When Thou Hadst Risen Ra036 03:10
15 Sergei Rachmaninoff O Victorious Leader Ra037 01:42

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