Rachmaninoff Vespers

Rachmaninoff Vespers
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March 15, 2015 @ 3:00 pm EDT

Roswell United Methodist Church
814 Mimosa Boulevard
Roswell, GA 30075 United States

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a Choral Masterpiece

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil, Opus 37, commonly identified as Vespers, stands as the crowning achievement of the “Golden Age” of Russian Orthodox sacred choral music. It is a favorite of choral audiences and singers alike due to its complex polyphony and breathtaking beauty. Even the composer himself agreed: Rachmaninoff was often insecure about the worth of his compositions, but he felt confident about his glorious Vespers. Following the first performance 1915, he was so moved he told the singers that he could never imagine having written such a piece, even in his dreams.

Musically, the a cappella work is based on ancient chant in nine of its fifteen movements and on newly composed material, inspired by chant, in the remaining six. The text is drawn primarily from the Book of Psalms and the Gospels, and the resulting work is a masterpiece of choral literature which operates on an immense and expansive scale. It can truly be said that all Russian choral music culminates in this amazing and profoundly moving composition. It is quite possibly the most beautiful choral piece you will ever hear.