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Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943): All-Night Vigil (Vespers) / London Symphony Chorus, Simon Halsey

Album Summary

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Vespers (All-Night Vigil), for alto, tenor & chorus, Op. 37
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

In their first LSO Live spotlight release, The London Symphony Chorus deliver a passionate performance of Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil, under the baton of acclaimed LSO Choral Director, Simon Halsey. Formed in 1966 to complement the work of the London Symphony Orchestra, 2016 sees the London Symphony Chorus celebrate its 50th Anniversary as one of the UK's most well established choirs. Made up of over 160 amateur singers from all walks of life, the Chorus has recorded widely for LSO Live, the partnership resulting in several award winning releases - including three Grammy Awards, received for Berlioz Les Troyens and Verdi Falstaff. Hauntingly beautiful, All-Night Vigil is a cornerstone of the choral repertoire, its fifteen a cappella movements considered amongst the composer's finest achievements. Composed in 1915, against a backdrop of political turmoil in Russia and the early throes of The First World War, the sense of spiritual transcendence in the work may be interpreted as the composer's response to the chaos and suffering around him. While Rachmaninov was no conventional believer, the rituals and traditions of the Orthodox Church were an essential part of his cultural background, evident in his use of chants from the Russian Church as the basis for ten of the work's fifteen sections. For the remaining five, Rachmaninov composed entirely new music, though these are so heavily influenced by tradition that it is near impossible to tell the difference. Throughout All-Night Vigil, Rachmaninov's immense compositional skill is on display - exploring a variety of textures, timbres, rhythms and registers, all of which are beautifully handled by the Choir and Simon Halsey.

Gramophone Magazine, September 2016
The London Symphony Chorus, under Simon Halsey, show not only evidence of great familiarity with the performing and recorded tradition of the work in terms of pacing and rhetoric, but also an injection of peculiarly British choral timbre, which brings a welcome and different perspective.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: The Barbican, London (11/26/2014); The Barbican, London (12/02/2014).


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Works Details

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Vespers (All-Night Vigil), for alto, tenor & chorus, Op. 37
  • Conductor: Simon Halsey
  • Ensemble: London Symphony Chorus
  • Notes: The Barbican, London (11/26/2014); The Barbican, London (12/02/2014)
  • Running Time: 26 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1915
  • Studio/Live: Live