The Rachmaninoff Hall – with its cathedral-like acoustics, is especially suited to this music.
The concert will consist of works by composers who wrote outside the borders of their homeland. The majority of masterworks on this program will be sung in Russia for the first time in an effort to offer a repertoire not only neglected during the Soviet era, but even disparaged and publicly vilified. The audience will have an opportunity to experience the distinctive quality of these compositions and their uniquely prayerful sound.
From the beginning, this project has been a collaborative effort, bringing together the artistry of accomplished church musicians and conductors with the latest in scholarly knowledge and research. Some fifty singers from different choral groups in Moscow will come together for the evening’s occasion.
Foremost among them will be the Kastalsky Male Chamber Ensemble, which has already received overwhelming acclaim from critics and concertgoers throughout Russia and Europe. For purposes of this concert, the Moscow Conservatory faculty and the ensemble’s director, Alexei Rudnevsky, will enlarge the group to include about twenty women’s voices.
Peter Jermihov, a Russian-American conductor widely known for his brilliant choral technique, especially in the Russian sacred tradition, will rehearse and conduct the expanded choir.
Important consultants to the project are Vladimir Morosan, editor and publisher of the multi-volume series Monuments of Russian Sacred Music (originally launched with the support of Mstislav Rostropovich and Alexander Solzhenitsyn in Washington, DC, 1991), and noted music historian and author of leading publications on Russian church music, Nicolas Schidlovsky (Ph.D., Princeton University).
Their rare expertise, including knowledge of the history and extensive archival sources, has laid the groundwork for the evening’s program. This will include the works of such celebrated composers as Alexander Gretchaninoff, Alexander Chesnokov, Nikolai Tcherepnine, Boris Ledkovsky, Alfred Swan, Andrei Ilyashenko, Mikhail Konstantinov, and Kurt Sander. Listeners will be given a superb introduction to this music, covering all facets of its splendid character and style.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.