Merry Christmas from Russia

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Merry Christmas from Russia

Russian Orthodox Church music … … exists today in a multitude of expressive forms and stylistic eras. It ranges from single or multivoiced choral music to concertante pieces, for example by Tchaikovsky, Grechaninov or Rachmaninoff. There is a difference between the chants composed in the concertante style from the St. Petersburg and Moscow schools and the meditative chants from the monastic tradition. They are sung in the church Slavonic (old Russian) language. The history of Russian Orthodox Church music starts in the tenth century, when Byzantine Christianity reached the capital of old Russia, Kiev, and elements of the Byzantine music could be established there very rapidly. Monophonic liturgical chants from the end of the eleventh century to the first half of the fifteenth century have been preserved in a number of manuscripts, which, however, have never be deciphered due to their enormous complexity. The chant – znamenny raspev – developed in the South of Russia differently compared to the North of the country. In the second half of the fifteenth century the “main form“ of the znamenny chant – stolpovoy raspev – developed, whose notation is easier to decipher. Since the sixteenth century there developed in the Russian church various early forms of polyphonic chant – strochnoye peniye, demestvennoye peniye. After the accession of the Ukraine to Russia (1654), Russian Orthodox Church music was also influenced by Ukranian, Greek, Bulgarian and Polish traditions. From the eighteenth century the Western influence is clearly perceptible, above all from the Italian and German opera. Christmas Eve, which the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates on the evening before the 7th January, the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, is, in the Russian church, the Christmas Vigil – vsenoschnoye bdeniye – traditionally celebrated by the parish priest. The most important event of the evening before Christmas is a service lasting many hours with much singing and with light processions. It is a joyful festival. After the service in the church, the young men go from house to house, carrying a great star and a Christmas icon. They rejoice with everyone for Christmas and for the birth of Jesus. In the course of this, Christmas songs (kolyadki), based on religious themes, are sung in the vernacular. The Christmas message, however, was also a source of inspiration for many Russian composers. They created music, which celebrated the depth, pathos and emotion of the Christmas story in all its splendour. The present recording contains chants from the Christmas Vigil – one of the most beautiful Masses of the Eastern Orthodox rite – with works by the greatest composers from Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria.

2 reviews for Merry Christmas from Russia

  1. Dill

    Greatest choir! Big impretion

  2. Gory

    Thank,s for this CD! I am crying when I listen this songs!!!

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