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Rachmaninov: Russian Easter Vesper Mass, Liturgy / Robev, Popsavov - 3cd + DVD


Release Date: 02/24/2009 
Label:  Capriccio Records   Catalog #: 7010   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Miroslav PopsavovGeorgi Robev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sofia Orthodox ChorusBulgarian National Chorus
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This set includes 3 CDs and 1 DVD.

3312150.az_RACHMANINOff_Vespers_Liturgy.html

RACHMANINOFF Vespers . Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom 1 & Georgi Robev, cond; Miroslav Popsavov, cond; 1 Bulgarian Natl Ch; Sofia Orthodox Ch 1 CAPRICCIO 7010 (3 CDs: 173:21) Read more


& DVD, “Mystery of the East” (75:00)


This Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom was hailed as the longest version on records (18:6, where I misspelled the conductor’s name) and the Vigil (Vespers) was warmly received when new (20:1), so this makes a valuable coupling. The Liturgy has been offered in varying lengths because the litanies are repetitive but often abbreviated. The recently reissued Martin Best version (32:4) offered as much as could be fitted onto one CD. Popsavov, like Polyansky (16:6), Milkov (16:6), Kocsis (19:6), and Bruffy (20:4), requires two discs in order to extend the litanies and the Cherubic Hymn, which are drastically (some would say mercifully) abbreviated in the single-disc versions. Yet here Popsavov is 12 to 20 minutes longer than any of the other two-disc versions, so it is the logical choice if you want more than Best offers. Another reason to go for this one is the rich Slavic voices of the choir, so satisfying in this music. Best’s choir was as good as the non-Slavic choirs get, but this is extraordinary.


Robev’s Vespers was rated right next to the classic Sveshnikov version, high praise indeed. Like the Liturgy , it was issued without texts or translations, and it had the minor fault of titling the work “Russian Easter Vesper Mass,” both Easter and Mass being incorrect terms. In a box that costs little more than one full-priced single CD, it is no surprise that the texts are still lacking. If you are unfamiliar with the Orthodox liturgy, this is a serious lack, but if you can supply for the lack of texts, this has a claim on your attention for the extended length of the Divine Liturgy.


The DVD included here arrived more recently as a separate issue but never received a review. The two sections of the program were made in Tomsk (Siberia) and Sofia (Bulgaria) in May 2002, but the notes, which are abridged from the original booklet, write only about Tomsk. The city was built in 1604 and the monastery of Our Lady and St. Alexei was built at once. The city also has the tomb of Tsar Alexander I, who, after his reputed death in 1825, is widely believed to have lived in Tomsk as Feodor Kusmich. He died in 1864 (the Britannica of 1911 called him Fomich and gave his date of death incorrectly as 1870) and was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1984. The documentary 45-minute segment on Easter at Tomsk is narrated with a generic background of liturgical singing, while the 30-minute concert in Sofia (Hristov, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Kedrov) has the camera moving from the choir to the church interiors in familiar fashion. The Tomsk segment is expertly done, giving a real understanding of life in a Siberian city where the Orthodox faith appears to be strong. At the price, this is quite a generous offering.


FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

1.
Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op. 31 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Miroslav Popsavov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sofia Orthodox Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; Russia 
2.
Vespers, Op. 37 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor:  Georgi Robev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bulgarian National Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; Russia 

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