The week-long gathering at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary that took place from June 25-29, 2012 was aptly termed a “master class” on the topic of “Interpreting Orthodox Sacred Music.” The task set before the twenty-nine singers and five student conductors, was to master nearly 250 pages of music for All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy, bound in voluminous choral folders. The results achieved within a period of three-and-a-half days of intense and demanding rehearsals would be termed by many participants, a “mountain-top” experience.
The fruits of these labors are documented in this recording, comprised of highlights from the All-Night Vigil on the eve of the feast of Sts Peter and Paul (sung on June 28). The examples of Orthodox liturgical music featured here employ a variety of textures and exhibit many levels of complexity, exemplifying many of the different styles of choral music and chant found in the Church today. Espe-cially valuable is the fact that these selections are sung live in the context of the actual worship service; one can easily hear the serving clergy, the movement of children, the impromptu participation by the congregation, and how the Master Class Chorus remains focused on prayer in the midst of these surroundings, thus fulfilling their role as a liturgical choir. It is hoped that this recording will be the first of many under Vladimir Gorbik’s direction, demonstrating how to interpret the vast choral repertoire of the Orthodox Church in a manner that is musically polished, emotionally engaged, and, at the same time, liturgically appropriate.
Nicholas Reeves, D.M.A.
Assistant Professor of Liturgical Music