Unfortunately, this concert has been cancelled as the singers from the Hermitage Ensemble are indisposed.
Celebrated chorale from St Petersburg sing music from the Russian Orthodox and Russian folk tradition. The Hermitage Association includes soloists from theatres and concert companies of St. Petersburg – Kirov Opera and Ballet, Maly Opera Theatre, St. Petersburg Concert and others. The Association sees it as its goal to keep in the Russian traditions of church music and bring motets of the Eastern Church closer to western people. Therefore, the programme basically consists of liturgical motets and psalms. The programme also includes various folk songs.
The Hermitage Ensemble from St Petersburg is a male voice choir each having a relevant wide musical education. In their homeland they are engaged as soloists in operas and in concert.
The music of the Russian Orthodox Church arose out of a blend of the Greek, Byzantine and Oriental influences during the early years of the Christian Church. From the 15th to the 18th century the plainsong of the original chants was beginning to be harmonized and was leading to a purely Russian church music. In the 18th century the music was further influenced by the Italian composers attached to the Russian court, in particular Sarti and Galuppi. Both the Russian composer Bortniansky and Berezovsky received musical training in Italy and they were to have a great impact on Orthodox music.
In the 19th century Balakirev, music director at the Court Chapel, and Rimsky-Korsakov produced a large collection of harmonized plainsong. Nearly all the leading Russian composers have written music for the rites of the Russian Orthodox Church and tonight there will be examples from many of them.
You will not hear an organ or any instruments in Orthodox services. This is because in the early Christian church they were viewed as being theatrical and had other undesirable associations, and therefore unconducive to worship. Because of this the practice of unaccompanied singing and composing choral music led to a high standard of vocal presentation. The Russian bass voices are well known for their low register, which reaches well below that of basses in many other countries.
The folk and national songs, which form the second half of the concert, show a range of emotion and, with their rhythms and melodies, convey with their inimitable spirit all that is characteristic of the great ”Russian Soul”.
Tickets £10 from Salisbury Playhouse 01722 320333
All concerts take place in All Saints’ Church, Farley, Salisbury SP5 1AH
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