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This new release of Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil follows several acclaimed releases from the Latvian Radio Choir under its Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Sigvards Kļava.
Rachmaninov’s Liturgy of St John Chrysostom (ODE11515) and the All-Night Vigil are two supreme examples of choral writing in the Russian Orthodox tradition, featuring music of uplifting spiritual strength.
The All-Night Vigil is composed for unaccompanied voices but Rachmaninov created a work of such richness that it can be described as “choral orchestration”, demanding a wide vocal range from the singers.
The Latvian Radio Choir is regarded as one of the top professional chamber choirs in Europe. Their repertoire extends from the Renaissance to the present day, but always focussing on exploring the capabilities of the voice and seeking to push its limits.
Sigvards Kļava, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Latvian Radio Choir since 1992, is one of Latvia’s most prolific choral conductors. He has conducted many premières of new choral works by Latvian composers.
Sergei Rachmaninov: All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers"
Beginning song: Come let us worship
Psalm 103 (104), "O praise the Lord"
Blessed is the man
O Joyful Light
Song of Simeon: Lord, now let your servant depart
Hail, O Virgin Mother (Ave Maria)
Hexapsalms: Glory to God on high
Psalm 134-135 (135-136), "O praise the name of the Lord"
Glorifying song of the Resurrection: Teach me O lord in the way of truth
Hymn of Resurrection: We have seen the resurrection
Magnificat: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
Great Doxology: Glory be to God on high
Resurrection hymn (Troparion): This day of salvation has com to the world
Resurrection hymn (Troparion): When you had risen
Thanksgiving hymn of Virgin Mary: O victorious leader
17th November 2012
“Under the masterly direction of Sigvards Klava, the Latvians display the barrel-chested Slavonic tonal resources Rachmaninov would have expected — sepulchral basses, soft-grained but strong sopranos, tenors who soar without strain — but also a precision alien to Russian choirs”
“You would need to go far to hear a richer, more rounded alto section than this. They are supported by a wonderfully firm bass line...you want to single out each section for particular praise: the gloriously clear-toned and vital sopranos an the ardent, sweet-voiced tenor section.”
“Klava's interpretation doesn't give the sensation of dragging...He carefully draws out every dramatic nuance from this choral feast. His two dozen singers produce a well-nourished tutti and sound like a much larger group...There is a wonderfully kaleidoscopic (though carefully graded) palette of vocal colours throughout...The Latvians' unanimity of attack is well-nigh perfect...This is a sublimely beautiful yet rapturous recording.”
“the Rachmaninov of Latvia's outstanding professional choir presents a golden mean between the uniquely open-throated but not always pitch-perfect Glinka Choir of the hallowed St Petersburg tradition, and the more reserved tones of English choral contenders...this performance is a remarkable achievement”
“Often hailed as the crowning musical achievement of Russian Orthodox Christianity, Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil has certainly become a firm favourite among choirs in both East and West. Based on various forms of chant that were in use in Russia at that time, it uses these as the building-blocks of a unique and powerfully Romantic harmonic language. The Latvian Radio Choir under Sigvards Kļava give a performance that is the equal of any by Russian choirs!”