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     S. Rachmaninov wrote "Vespers" in 1915. It is a work of large scope.  "Vespers" maintains origins in traditional church music, bears the mark of the composer's unbounded imagination and is imbued with the poetry of antiquity and the enchantment of Russian folk art.

     The piece consists of fifteen chants.  Ten are based on the znamenny chant, and five (No.1,3,6,10,11) on Rachmaninovís own themes.  Throughout the work the composer never deviates from the stylistics of old Russian singing tradition, accentuating the parts linked with folklore.  Lyricism, epos, drama, elements of philosophical meditation, and vivid imagery are closely interwoven in this cycle.

    The USSR Ministry of Culture Chamber Choir directed by Valery Polyansky is an experienced, mature ensemble.  Founded as a studentís ensemble at the Moscow Conservatory in 1971, the Chamber Choir acquired high professional skill, fame and authority.  In 1975 the Choir won First Prize at the Polyphonic Choir Competition in Arezzo (Italy) and conductor V. Polyansky was voted the best conductor of the competition and was highly praised by the public and critics.

S. Rachmaninov
(1873-1943)
Vespers
Mass for Mixed Choir, Op. 37

  1. O come and worship
  2. Praise the Lord
  3. Blessed in the man
  4. Joyful light (Kiev chant)
  5. Now lettest thou depart (Kiev chant)
  6. Hail Mary
  7. Hexapsalmos
  8. O praise our Lord (Znamenny chant)
  9. Blessed be the Lord (Znamenny chant)
  10. Christís resurrection
  11. My soul doth magnify the Lord
  12. Great Doxology (Znamenny chant)
  13. This day of salvation (troparion, znamenny chant)
  14. Christ is risen from the dead (troparion)
  15. Thanksgiving to the mother of God (Greek chant)

Total time Ė 66:32

Irina Arkhipova, mezzo-soprano (2)
Victor Rumyantsev, tenor (4,5,9)
The USSR Ministry of Culture Chamber Choir
Conductor Valery Polyansky
Recorded in Smolensk Cathedral