Rachmaninoff’s Vespers

Bard Festival Chorale

James Bagwell, Conductor

The choral traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church remained a profound musical influence on Rachmaninoff throughout his life and he wrote two major sacred works for unaccompanied choir. Program Ten showcases the Bard Festival Chorale’s interpretation of the second: the Vespers (All-Night Vigil).

A spiritual work whose resonant a capella sonorities use the full range of the human voice, this comprises 15 movements, nine based on traditional Eastern Orthodox chants from Greece, Kyiv, and Russia, and six on chant-like motifs of Rachmaninoff’s own invention.

Considering the Vespers one of his two finest achievements, the composer requested that its fifth movement, the “Nunc dimittis,” be sung at his funeral.

photos

press kit

collaborate