Bdenie: Rachmaninioff's All Night Vigil

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Bdenie: Rachmaninioff's All Night Vigil

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BDENIE commemorates the 100th anniversary of All-night vigil’s first performance, which took place in Moscow on March 10th, 1915. Rachmaninoff wrote the seventy-minute, fifteen‑movement work over the course of less than two weeks in January and February of 1915. The piece was first performed as a fundraiser for war relief efforts, with WWI already seven months underway in Russia. It proved to be so popular with both critics and the public that it was performed five more times within the month. The All‑night vigil (Всенощное бдѣніе / Fsyenoshchnoye bdenie) is a setting of the liturgical form of the same name from the Russian Orthodox Church. For this concert, The Esoterics will intersperse Rachmaninoff’s movements with phrases of Slavonic chant; this will provide an occasional change of texture, alternating between a single melodic voice and the collected voices of the entire choir. All‑night vigil was among Rachmaninoff’s favorite of his own compositions, so much so that he requested the fifth movement be performed at his own funeral. At the end of this movement, a bass line gently rolls down the scale all the way to a low Bb. Rachmaninoff once recalled the reaction of Nikolai Danilin, the piece’s first conductor, upon first sharing the piece with him: “Danilin shook his head, saying, ‘Now where on earth are we to find such basses? They are as rare as asparagus at Christmas!’ Nevertheless, he did find them. I knew the voices of my countrymen, and I well knew what demands I could make upon Russian basses!” Although The Esoterics usually dedicates one concert series each year to a choral composer’s 100th birthday, it is seldom that the group reaches this far back into music history to perform an individual piece. For Eric Banks, this piece occupies a special place in choral music. “Rachmaninoff’s All-night vigil comes at the end of an era. With its sweeping settings of chant, it is the pinnacle of Russian romantic choral music.” Banks is excited about the ensemble he has put together for BDENIE. Although the ensemble’s size is normally between 24 to 36 singers, Banks has expanded it to 48 singers for this project, including a powerful bass section that would make Rachmaninoff proud. Friday | 6 March 2015 at 8pm St Stephen’s Episcopal Church 4805 NE 45th Street | Seattle Saturday | 7 March 2015 at 8pm Holy Rosary Catholic Church 4142 42nd Avenue SW | Seattle Sunday | 8 March 2015 at 3pm St John’s Episcopal Church 114 20th Avenue SE | Olympia Sunday | 8 March 2015 at 7pm Christ Episcopal Church 310 N K Street | Tacoma

By: The Esoterics

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