Magazine article Gramophone

Rachmaninov: All-Night Vigil (Vespers), Op 37

Magazine article Gramophone

Rachmaninov: All-Night Vigil (Vespers), Op 37

Article excerpt

Rachmaninov

All-Night Vigil (Vespers), Op 37 Mariya Berezovska contr Dmitry Ivanchenko ten Gloriae Dei Cantores / Peter Jermihov Paraclete (F) GDCD063 (67' * DDD * T/t)

Since Gloria; Dei Cantores are one of North America's finest nonprofessional choirs with at least 50 CDs to their credit, it was just a matter of time before they committed Rachmaninov's sublime All-Night Vigil to disc. Conductor Peter Jermihov's booklet-notes rightly point out how one cannot separate the pursuit of musical excellence from this work's liturgical context. Tempos, for example, should be governed by the natural flow of the hymns on which the movements are based, while Rachmaninov's relatively sparse indications of pulse are essentially precautionary guides for the conductor. Furthermore, Jermihov's recording incorporates introductory introits by the Priest and Deacon that are usually omitted for recording purposes.

In the main, Jermihov aims for clearly delineated polyphony and transparent textures. Note, for example, the vividly characterised contrasts in articulation and sonority throughout 'Praise the Name of the Lord', or the sustained delicacy and dead-on intonation in The Lesser Doxology's final pages. The Great Doxology's concluding section is a revealing example of how to generate tension, excitement and forward momentum through understatement. Mariya Berezovska's wobbly alto solo neither helps nor hurts in the second movement but the ardent lyricism of tenor Dmitry Ivanchenko's solo contributions is decidedly a positive asset. …

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