Rachmaninoff – All-Night Vigil

Date: Jan 26, 2019  |  Time: 7:30 pm


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The Chattanooga Bach Choir, David Long, artistic director, presents Sergei Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil for unaccompanied mixed choir, Op. 37, on Saturday, January 26 at 7:30 p.m., at the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul, 214 East 8th Street, Chattanooga. The concert will be repeated Sunday, January 27 at 4:00 p.m. at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 1015 Old Roswell Road, Roswell, GA 30076. Admission is $25; students are free. For more information, visit www.chattanoogabachchoir.org.

For this concert, the Chattanooga Bach Choir will be joined by members of two local ensembles: Voci Virili Men’s Consort and Voice of Reason Women’s Ensemble, Harv Wileman, artistic director. The ensemble will be conducted by David Long with featured soloists Rosella Ewing, mezzo-soprano and Blaine Tooley, tenor. These performances of the All-Night Vigil will be sung in the original Russian.

David Long, the Bach Choir’s artistic director, comments, “We are thrilled to perform Rachmaninoff’s monumental All-Night Vigil, which is considered a crowning achievement of Russian Orthodox choral music. Regarded as one of the most challenging works in the a cappella choral repertory, it makes technical demands on singers’ intonation and breath control and requires a complete engagement with the language and the texts. Since its first performance in 1915, audiences have been enthralled by the sheer beauty and sonic range of this work from unique sound of the low bass voices to the softest singing exploding into the magnificent power of massed voices. The texts are taken from the Russian Orthodox all-night vigil ceremony celebrated on the eve of great feasts and lasting from Vespers at dusk through midnight Matins until Prime at dawn. Nine of its fifteen sections are based on traditional Orthodox chants from various traditions – the ancient Russian Známenny chant, a more recitational ‘Greek’ style, and ‘Kiev’ chant from the 16th and 17th centuries. After the opening call to worship, the unfolding movements portray the mystery of the Creation, the Incarnation of Christ, and the Salvation of the Resurrection, along with sections praising the Virgin, the Trinity, and Christ triumphant. Rachmaninoff’s intense melodic richness expresses the depth of human spiritual desires: praise, meditation, penitence and, proclamation. Among the composer’s own compositions, the All-Night Vigil was one of his favorites (along with The Bells); one hundred years later, this reflective and deeply moving work is beloved by choirs worldwide and remains a masterpiece of Russian choral music.”

In addition to collaborating ensembles Voci Virili Men’s Consort and Voice of Reason Women’s Ensemble, featured soloists include Chattanooga favorites: mezzo Rosella Ewing, a frequent Chattanooga Symphony/Opera, Chattanooga Bach Choir soloist and professor at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock; and tenor Blaine Tooley, a frequent soloist with Voci Virili, as well as the former Music Director at Hixson UMC, who now resides in Memphis.

The Chattanooga Bach Choir’s performance of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil is made possible in part with funds from the Tennessee Arts Commission and ArtsBuild. The Chattanooga Times Free Press is the Bach Choir’s exclusive print media sponsor.

Guest Artists

Rosella Ewing Mezzo-Soprano
Blaine Tooley Tenor
Theodore Tsaltas Basso Profundo
Laurie Redmer Minner Guest Conductor
Jeff Parker Guest Conductor
Harv Wileman Artistic Director, Voci Virili & Voices of Reason


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