With its long history of excellence in the arts including architecture, literature, film, dance and music, Russia’s bragging rights are well-earned. Musically, it’s a country that has produced some of the worlds greatest composers. From Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff to Stravinsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Shostakovich, the list of Russian composers is long and impressive.
Lesser-known than some of his countrymen, Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov, who was a student of Rimsky-Korsakov and a good friend of Tchaikovsky, was a celebrated composer, conductor and teacher who composed hundreds of pieces. His masterful rendering of the All-Night Vigil, a service of the Eastern Orthodox Church, is celebrated as one of his finest musical contributions. Written in 1909, the 12-movement chorale piece was banned—as was all sacred art and music—during the Communist Revolution of 1917. It was not performed again for decades. In 1989, the piece was performed in Russia and has since made numerous appearances around the world.
Making its North American premiere, All-Night Vigil is featured in the upcoming Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale’s Romantically Russian program, a tribute to Russian classical music. Based on Russian chants, the rich and nuanced piece moves from quiet and introspective moments to booming expressions of praise and glory filled with four-, five-, and eight-part harmonies.
The second half of Romantically Russian features several shorter chorale works by various Russian composers including Pavel Chesnokov’s All of Creation Rejoices, Victor Kalinnikov’s Elegy, and Rachmaninoff’s Rejoice, O Virgin and Praise the Name of the Lord.
Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale, the 90-member volunteer chorus branch of Symphony Silicon Valley, will be performing under the artistic direction of internationally-recognized conductor Elena Sharkova. Sharkova, who is a renowned music educator and expert in Russian music, will give a pre-concert lecture 30 minutes prior to the event.
Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale performs Romantically Russian on Friday, June 3 at Mission Santa Clara.