The second concert in a night of all Rachmaninov – this time without an orchestra…Following on from Symphony No 2 and Piano Concerto No 3 it was the turn of Rachmaninov All-Night Vigil. At the heart of the performance was the Lativan Radio Choir again. Without doubt one of the best vocal ensembles within Europe with every single member having a vital role.
Premiered in 1915 the historic context to the piece is not to be left aside. Rachmaninov was deeply shocked by the outbreak of World War I. Despite him no longer going to church he still had this fascination with the Russian Chants.
Something like 15 or so years ago I did actually go to a concert of a Russian Orthodox Male Choir and the depth in their voices has stayed with me. A Slavic choir performing this particular piece did therefore just improve the whole performance! The clarity, depth and intensity of the singing was simply beautiful. The basses especially using the deepest registers adding a resonating base to this almost mediative piece. It was one of those concerts that just took you out and away to a calm and peaceful place. The attention in the hall was quite remarkable – of course except the caughing….