We mark the 125th Anniversary of the death of Tchaikovsky with a programme of choral music mostly written for the Russian Orthodox Church, but as well as featuring the two giants of 19th and 20th century Russian music – Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov – we shall be ranging wider in terms of composers and periods.
So we include works from the 18th century by the Ukrainians Maxim Berezovsky and Dmitry Bortniansky, both of whom studied in Italy and expanded the form of the Sacred Concerto with Western influence.
There is music by two Lithuanian composers, César Cui – one of the “Mighty Handful” – and the neglected but greatly talented Maximilian Steinberg, student and son-in-law of Rimsky-Korsakov, school friend of Stravinsky and teacher of Shostakovich. His Passion Week, excerpts of which are included in the programme, is a remarkable example of a cappella sacred music that has survived despite being written in the early Soviet era.
The final work, composed as that era was approaching its end, is not a religious piece but is still given the title Concerto for Choir. Composer and conductor Dmitri Valentinovich Smirnov, born in 1952 in what is now once again St. Petersburg, set poems by the visionary Osip Mandelstam in a sonorous and dramatic piece.
Come and here us perform this programme on Thursday 18th October at 8pm in the glowing acoustic of St James’s Church, Sussex Gardens, Paddington.
Tickets are available from www.eventbrite.co.uk and on the door.