Chamber Choir LEGE ARTISBoris Abalian, conductor
Lyudmila Shkirtil, mezzo-soprano
Andrey Bolshiyanov, saxophone
Recorded Live from the concert of the Northern Flowers Fifth International Chamber Music Festival at the St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral of the Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Petersburg, October 20th, 2004
Sound recording and supervision: Alexey Barashkin. Text: Pavel Dmitriev. English text: Sergey Suslov.
Design: Anastassiya Evmenova & Oleg Fakhrutdinov
Cover: Theophanes the Greek. Faces of the Virgin and the Infant Christ. Detail from The Virgin of the Don
Number of Discs:
|Selections from Medieval Russian Vocal Art|
|1.||Rejoices In Thee (Greek chant, female choir)|
|2.||Lo, Triple-Shining Light To Inflame Thee (Znamenny chant arranged for parts, mixed choir)|
|3.||It Is Meet (Byzantine chant, male choir)|
|4.||Angel Crying (Bulgarian chant, male choir, soloist: Dmitry Yegorov)|
|5.||5. Miracle Great and Most Glorious (concerto for 16-voice mixed choir)|
|Dmitry Smirnov (born 1952)
Our Lady’s Rejoicing In Sorrow (2001)
To sacred texts.
Choral frescos for female voice, saxophone (soprano), and mixed choir
|7.||Over The Hills Of Zion|
|8.||8. Mother Mary Is Mother To Me|
|9.||9. Our Lady’s Dream|
|10.||Our Lady’s Lament|
|11.||Prayer To Our Lady|
Music of Dmitry Smirnov has been an integral part of Petersburg’s musical life for many years. Most of his works are in demand with performers and can be heard both in and outside Russia, and his name has become to us a synonym of highest musical quality. The composer has created his own choral language based on deep strata of Russian music. Compositions by Smirnov always carry a powerful spiritual charge so much needed by us in today’s world. They are a link between achievements of the past and music of today.
On one hand, Smirnov’s opus is non-traditional in terms of its genre definition, and its textual base using both canonical and apocryphal plotlines from Our Lady’s life and the Hail Mary prayer along with folkloric texts, and in the structure of its performers (choir, female voice – and saxophone). On the other hand, folkloric texts and chants have always existed in Russian culture in parallel to clerical ones, and are especially close to Russian popular perception.
Releasing this recording made at a concert, we would like to preface it not with an abstract from the composer’s interview:
— E. N. Razumovskaya, a folklore researcher and long-time student of “sacred verses”, prompted the name to me. Although such texts construe the New Testament with much liberty, everything in them is Christian and true to the church. When I was looking for the most precise definition of the genre, I thought that the concept might be viewed as “the Passion”, understood as the Passion of Christ and Mother of God at once. If we read the words “I will put thy relics in a shroud / I will paint thy representation on an Icon”, and if all the subsequent events are forecast already in mother’s womb, it can be understood just so… Surely the unknown teller did not know the Holy Writ by chapter and verse, but he did enrich it with many details in his retelling… Or maybe, he knew the Writ well, but it was his plan to choose a format much freer in terms of genre. I may be said to have followed the teller. Furthermore, this helped me to avoid certain parallels or analogy with well-known composers and their works.
Soprano saxophone added to the score may be nearly frightening at first, as you anticipate its sound unusual for sacred music to spoil the impression, but after a while you realize that its use is proper and even organic.
— More than that, I suppose there is still a reserve, if we are talking about this part. And this is not to break any traditions. I wanted to purify the nature of soprano saxophone, to remove undue features that have stuck to it by and by. This instrumental timbre has enabled communicating through sounds what she (Mother of God) is unable to say, setting up a multi-facet dialog between them… While the chorus creates an environment, rather than a background, for their dialog.