Magazine article Gramophone

Rachmaninov: Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op 31

Magazine article Gramophone

Rachmaninov: Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op 31

Article excerpt

Rachmaninov

Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op 31

Berlin Radio Chorus / Nicolas Fink

Carus (F) CARUS83 407 (60' * DDD * T/t)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Less well known than his setting of the All-Night Vigil (Vespers), Rachmaninov's earlier Liturgy of St John Chrysostom--it was written in 1910--was nevertheless an important stepping stone to the masterly choral writing in the latter work. While the model of Tchaikovsky's setting is clearly audible (the second antiphon provides a good example), Rachmaninov's own distinctive voice is also far from absent, as the first antiphon, 'Bless the Lord, O my soul', and the double-choir setting of the Lord's Prayer demonstrate.

This recording includes, on the one hand, some of the petitions (hardly 'interjections', pace the booklet-note) intoned by the priest or deacon, but, on the other, omits the little litanies. This is a practical solution, though it is surely somewhat contradictory to endeavour to give the piece a liturgical 'frame' and at the same time compromise its structure by taking elements of that frame away. …

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