Priest Georgi Izvekov (1874-1937)
IZVEKOV, Archpriest Georgiy Yakovlevich—b. 24 February 1874, in Kaluga; d. 27 October 1937, in the village of Butovo, Moscow Region. The son of a priest, Izvekov was educated at the Kiev Theological Academy; nothing is known of his musical education, though he was known for his interest and expertise in the area of musical ethnography and Russian folk songs, among other things. From 1910, he worked in St. Petersburg at the Smolny Institute and at the Precentors School established by Smolensky, then served until 1918 as priest at the Russian embassy church in Berlin. Returning to Moscow, he supported himself as a composer of liturgical music, receiving commissions from choir directors in Moscow and other cities; his compositions and arrangements were held in high esteem, and even though a priest, he was allowed to join the Composers’ Union. In 1931 he was arrested for “systematic anti-Soviet activity” (establishing illegal charitable “brotherhoods” and “sisterhoods,” helping exiled clergy, etc.) and exiled for two years. A second arrest, in October, 1937, for “counter-revolutionary, fascist activity,” resulted in a the death sentence and execution by firing squad. Izvekov composed numerous sacred choral works, some of which were published in St. Petersburg and Czechia in the 1910s and 1920s, but others of which remain unpublished. In terms of style and technique, he was a follower of the “new Russian choral school,” initiated by Alexander Kastalsky and other composers affiliated with the Moscow Synodal School of Church Singing. His works are rich in terms of choral color, employ a variety of harmonic and contrapuntal textures, and generally exhibit a high degree of artistic content and complexity. The present setting of the first Canon for the Nativity of Christ, “Christ Is Born,” employs motives taken from znamenny chant, but treats the melodic kernels with considerable freedom rather than as a cantus firmus.
Unto Thee is due praise
Choir of the Church of "Joy of All Sorrowful" Icon - Moscow