#ChoralMarch, March 15th: “Bogoroditse Devo” from All Night Vigil, Sergei Rachmaninov performed by St Petersburg Chamber Choir

On this day in 1915 Rachmaninov’s All Night Vigil was first performed. Back in 2013, I conceived of a grandiose plan that performances of this piece could be held contemporaneously on March 15th 2015. I went to the extent of setting up a Gmail address and cold-emailing various choirs worldwide. Most did not reply, understandably, but many did very graciously and even with some intrigue. However, as I had no infrastructure or experience or contacts whatsoever to bring to the enterprise, it predictably fizzled out.

I have posted already about  UCD Choral Scholars and their influence on my sensibility when it comes to choral music. One of the most memorable musical moments of my life was their performance of “Bogoroditse Devo” from the All Night Vigil at a concert in the Belfield Church in 2000. Magically, the vast panorama of Russian history and culture, the Russian land itself,  and beyond that the world of communion with that which is beyond the finite opened up. I travelled since to Birmingham and Limerick to see live performances of this piece, by the Bolshoi Choir and the Lege Artis Choir respectively, both of which were excellent, but the impact of that day in Belfield stays with me.

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