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Rachmaninov: Vespers / Zeiner, Agafonov, Arman, Et Al

Release Date: 05/21/2002 
Label:  Berlin Classics   Catalog #: 1742   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Klaudia ZeinerMikhail AgafonovLew Maidarschewski
Conductor:  Howard Arman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

You have a few good choices in this repertoire: Tonu Kaljuste and the Swedish Radio Choir's speedy, dynamic, yet brightly recorded version on Virgin; a more vocally idiomatic rendition by the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir on Philips whose very resonant acoustic balances significantly toward the soprano voices; the Voronezh Chamber Choir's excellent (but again very resonant) recording on Globe that includes an occasional introductory solo chant and whose interpretations regarding dynamics, syllabic accents, and tempo markedly contrast to all the others; and, my favorite, Robert Shaw and his hand-picked Festival Singers on Telarc, who deliver the overall best-performed--beautifully sung, emotionally powerful, notably slower--and superbly Read more recorded version.

Which brings us to the current reading, by another "non-idiomatic" yet exceptional (German) choir, whose rendition seeks to set a more liturgical context than the other recordings with insertions of chants by a "lector" before six of the choral sections. For me, these solo chants, by Bulgarian bass Lew Maidatschewski, are interesting but after first hearing become unwelcome interruptions. Yes, they can be skipped with a touch of the remote button, or programmed out--they're on separate tracks--if you know how to do that sort of thing, but suffice it to say that for most listeners these bits of "authenticism" will add nothing to Rachmaninov's score. Aside from that, these are absolutely first-rate performances--the singing and warmly expressive interpretations easily rival those of Shaw and his Festival Singers, and the sound is near-ideal. If you don't mind the above-mentioned additions, this beautiful performance by the MDR Rundfunkchor Leipzig will satisfy your library's need for at least one Rachmaninov Vespers; if you just want the uninterrupted choral movements in all their glory, go for the Shaw.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Vespers, Op. 37 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Klaudia Zeiner (Alto), Mikhail Agafonov (Tenor), Lew Maidarschewski (Bass)
Conductor:  Howard Arman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; Russia 
Date of Recording: 05/2000 
Venue:  Paul-Gerhardt Church 
Length: 74 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: Russian 

Sound Samples

All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Reading: Glory be to the holy, consubstantial, life-giving, undivided Trinity...
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Beginning song: Come let us worship
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Reading: For Thou art a good God and lovest mankind...
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Psalm 103 (104), "O praise the Lord"
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Blessed is the man
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Reading: Lord, to Thee I call, hearken unto me...
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": O Joyful Light
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Song of Simeon: Lord, now let your servant depart
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Hail, O Virgin Mother (Ave Maria)
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Reading: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost...
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Hexapsalms: Glory to God on high
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Psalm 134-135 (135-136), "O praise the name of the Lord"
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Glorifying song of the Resurrection: Teach me O lord in the way of truth
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Hymn of Resurrection: We have seen the resurrection
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Magnificat: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Reading: O Praise the Lord in that best place...
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Great Doxology: Glory be to God on high
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Reading: He that has God his guardian made...
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Resurrection hymn (Troparion): This day of salvation has com to the world
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Resurrection hymn (Troparion): When you had risen
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Thanksgiving hymn of Virgin Mary: O victorious leader

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