Hauntingly beautiful, All-Night Vigil is a cornerstone of the choral repertoire, its fifteen a cappella movements considered 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. 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 near impossible to tell the difference.
Total time: 00:53:21
|Original Recording Format|
Neil Hutchinson, Jonathan Stokes – Classic Sound Ltd.
Barbican London, England
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||July 8, 2016|
LSC enters the fray with a release of highly competitive value… a fine, balanced recording of no little emotional content… he (Simon Halsey) gives no quarter to some of the more famous names with hats already tossed in the ring…This one has a lot to offer
The London Symphony Chorus, under Simon Halsey, show not only evidence of great familiarity with the performing and recorded tradition of the work in terms of pacing and rhetoric, but also an injection of peculiarly British choral timbre, which brings a welcome and different perspective
Seen and Heard
There were so many magical moments
CD Choice Magazine
If you are among the Rachmaninov enthusiasts who love the work, it’s hard to imagine it given a better reading than that delivered by Halsey and his LSO forces.
Russian Art and Culture
Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil is made up of 15 movements which form an all-night vigil service, celebrating the dawn of a new day. The London Symphony Chorus skilfully executed the technically difficult composition; the choir is divided into four voices (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) which are then often subdivided into two or even three parts. The bass ebbed and flowed like the unremitting cycle of waves on the beach, and the sopranos cut clearly over the top. The unrelenting power of the Russian chants were sensitively sung as all eyes are focussed on the conductor, who precisely directed the changes in dynamics of the composition.
The performance inspired an appreciation of the everlasting cycle of time with a cohesive theme bringing together the contemporary and the traditional. The London Symphony Chorus and conductor, Simon Halsey, expertly realised Rachmaninov’s technical composition with energy and passion.
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