PaTRAM partner, Musica Russica, weighs in on Rachmaninoff’s “All Night Vigil” recording

Written by Vladimir Morosan

Another recording of the Rachmaninoff “All-Night Vigil”? Selling for more than $20? Really?

Yes, there are many reasons why you should buy this new recording of the acknowledged pinnacle of Russian Orthodox sacred music, performed by the Gloriae Dei Cantores, together with members of the St. Romanos Cappella, the Patriarch Tikhon Choir, and the Washington Master Chorale, all under the direction of Peter Jermihov.

  • Reason No. 1 – the assembled choir of 78 voices, including 7 bass octavists, has the proper choral power and sonority to do justice to Rachmaninoff’s complex and colorful score; they get the Russian choral sound right!
  • Reason No. 2 – the conductor, Peter Jermihov, brings to this project a unique set of knowledge and skills: native knowledge of the Russian language and a life-long acquaintance with Church Slavonic, as well as a thorough familiarity with the Orthodox liturgical hymns and theology that lie at the center of this work; he gets the large-scale interpretation and the minute, text-driven shadings right!
  • Reason No. 3 – the singers all have long-standing experience with performing sacred music—both in worship and in concert, as a result of which they are able to bring the proper spiritual focus to the difficult task of recording this masterpiece; they get the sacredness and reverence of this music right!
  • Reason No. 4 – the HDCD with Surround Sound audio, engineered by Grammy winner Keith O. Johnson, delivers a listening experience unmatched by streaming services and various “compressed” audio formats; the recording gets the sound right!
  • Reason No. 5 – the CD is accompanied by a 52-page booklet that contains a substantive essay on the music by Maestro Jermihov, as well as a superb presentation of the original text, phonetic transliteration, and English translation, matched with exquisite visual images that relate to the texts; the entire production and presentation “gets it right”!

The end result? You, the listener, receive a landmark recording, one that is destined to become the new standard for this work.

If you are a conductor contemplating a performance of the Rachmaninoff Vigil, you will need to consult this recording as a new measure of excellence.

If you are an audiophile who already know and love this masterwork, you cannot afford not to own this recording for all the new perspectives it will open up to you.

And if you don’t know the Rachmaninoff “All-Night Vigil” yet, THIS is the recording you should get to begin your acquaintance. You will have to wait a long time before something better comes along!