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Tchaikovsky - Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

Liturgy of St. John_01

An Exceptional Sacred Choral Work in Excellent Sound

Tchaikovsky: Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom; Nine Sacred Choruses
Latvian Radio Choir (Artist), Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Composer), Sigvards Klava (Conductor) / 2019 release

The atmosphere and context is magisterially conveyed here by a choir on top form, with sound engineering that captures them perfectly. ----Gramophone

An exceptional choral release. ----AllMusic.com

 

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Work Description

In 1877, Tchaikovsky wrote in a letter to Nadezhda von Meck: I often go to the public worship; in my opinion, the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is one of the greatest works of art Oh, I love all that terribly, it is one of my greatest pleasures. Tchaikovsky enjoyed attending worship services, visited them regularly and was always interested in sacred music, especially in the music of the Orthodox Church. At a relatively early point in his career, in 1875, he issued A short textbook of harmony, adapted to the reading of spiritual and musical compositions in Russia, which in 1881 was approved as a textbook of church singing in theological seminaries and colleges. The same year, Tchaikovsky even started editing the works of Dmitry Bortnyansky, a pioneer of sacred Orthodox music. However, he encountered problems with various institutions the Imperial Chapel, the censorship authorities, as well as some conservative church officials who were more comfortable with smaller-calibre composers, since they could be manipulated if necessary. Tchaikovsky wished to reform sacred Orthodox music but at the same to draw inspiration from the traditions of past centuries. Prime example of this is Tchaikovskys monumental work in sacred Orthodox music, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Op. 41. The Nine Sacred Choruses, which date to 18841885, is not a cycle in the basic meaning of the word, but rather a collection, and another affirmation of Tchaikovskys skills as one of the greatest composers of Orthodox sacred music. In this album these works are being performed by the award-winning Latvian Radio Choir under the direction of Sigvards Klava.

 

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Editorial Reviews

This album presents a sequel for the award-winning album (ICMA Choral disc of the year) of Tchaikovskys sacred choral works by the Latvian Radio Choir and conductor Sigvards Klava. These two albums together form the composers complete sacred works for the choir. The All-Night Vigil Op. 52 for mixed choir, also known as the Vesper Service, was written between May 1881 and March 1882. It was first performed by the Chudovsky Chorus conducted by Pyotr Sakharov in Moscow at the concert hall of the All-Russian Industrial and Art Exhibition on 27 June 1882. Tchaikovsky described the work as An essay in harmonization of liturgical chants. For this work the composer carefully studied the tradition of musical practice in the Russian Orthodox Church, which could vary considerably from one region to another. This beautiful, yet rarely recorded work is accompanied by four other choral works all written during the same decade: Hymn in Honour of Saints Cyril and Methodius as part of commemorations of the 1000th anniversary of the death of Saint Methodius, A Legend, originally coming from the collection Sixteen Songs for Children, Jurists Song, for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in St Petersburg, and The Angel Cried Out, a beautiful traditional Russian Orthodox Easter hymn and Tchaikovskys final choral work.

 

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