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Rachmaninov: Vespers / Putnins, Netherlands Radio Choir

Release Date: 04/29/2014 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 2039   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Kaspars Putnins
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Radio Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Rachmaninov’s All-night Vigil - sometimes erroneously referred to as his Vespers – is in fact a hybrid of three Russian Orthodox services; Vespers (movements 1 to 6), Matins (7 to 14) and First Hour (15). There have been a number of well-regarded recordings of the piece in recent years, two of which spring to mind: the first is from Sigvards Klava and the Latvian Radio Choir, the second from Paul Hillier and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. Those are fine Baltic ensembles, expertly led, and their collections are always worth your time and money. Besides, they tend to get top-notch recordings, too.

The Netherlands Radio Choir, founded after the Second World War, is a 68-strong group with a number of world
Read more premières to their name. That makes them a good fit with Kaspars Putni?š, chief conductor of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, who is a tireless promoter of contemporary choral works. That said, his repertoire is wide-ranging, so Rachmaninov is well within his artistic purview. Incidentally, this recording includes a filler, The Theotokos, Ever-Vigilant in Prayer, which Rachmaninov composed in 1893. A precursor to the Vigil in style it burns with a quick, fierce flame. An intriguing little bonus.

First impressions of Putninš’ Vigil are entirely positive. The bass and tenor soloists – Gert-Jan Alders and Matthew Minter respectively – are ideally spaced at the start of O come let us worship, and the choir’s response is both refined and radiant. The alto Pierrette de Zwaan – who appears in Praise the Lord, O my soul – is just as ravishing, the choral cadences gentle but telling. Goodness, this is singing of the highest order; weight and blend are well nigh perfect, as is the open, airy sound. This may be a studio recording, but there’s breadth and depth aplenty, with no obscuring echoes. Indeed, the ‘goose-bump quotient’ is very high, even at this early stage.

Minor caveats aside, this is a splendid account of Rachmaninov's masterpiece. The Dutch bring emotional intensity to the Vigil; you must hear it.

– MusicWeb International (Dan Morgan) Read less

Works on This Recording

Vespers, Op. 37 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Kaspars Putnins
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Radio Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; Russia 
O mother of God vigilantly praying by Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Kaspars Putnins
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Radio Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 

Sound Samples

All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Beginning song: Come let us worship
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": 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": 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": Great Doxology: Glory be to God on high
All-night Vigil, Op. 37, "Vespers": Resurrection hymn (Troparion): This day of salvation has come 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
V molitvakh neusipayushchuyu bogoroditsu (In our Prayers, Ever-vigilant Mother of God)

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