Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

Rachmaninov: All-Night Vigil

In his setting of the Vespers (also known as the All-Night Vigil), Rachmaninov turns from the flash and brilliance of his concertos and symphonies toward a quieter, inner contemplation. Not a regular churchgoer, he appreciated the mystery and beauty of Russian Orthodox chant on equal terms with Russia’s rich vein of folk music. The influences of both are found in the Vespers. The music rises from the opening darkness of a basso voice, and, in succeeding choruses, achieves a glow of harmonies through which remarkably beautiful melodies expand and contract. An earnestness of spirit warmly envelops the listener, becoming an inner fire. There are many recordings of this music, but this one from Paul Hillier and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is a must-have. Sublime music superbly sung.