Hauntingly beautiful though rarely performed in its entirety, All-Night Vigil is a cornerstone of the choral repertoire, and its fifteen a cappella movements considered to be amongst the composer’s finest achievements. Composed in 1915, against a backdrop of political turmoil in Russia and the early throes of The First World War, the sense of spiritual transcendence in the work may be interpreted as the composer’s response to the chaos and suffering around him. Throughout All-Night Vigil, Rachmaninov’s immense compositional skill is on display – exploring a variety of textures, timbres, rhythms and registers.
While Rachmaninov was no conventional believer, the rituals and traditions of the Orthodox Church were an essential part of his cultural background, evident in his use of chants from the Russian Church as the basis for ten of the work’s fifteen sections. For the remaining five, Rachmaninov composed entirely new music, though these are so heavily influenced by tradition that it is almost impossible to tell the difference.
“The London Symphony Chorus deliver a passionate performance.” Gramophone Magazine
“Hard to imagine it given a better reading.” CDChoice
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