Classic FM Magazine 5 Stars, Best buy April 2005.
The all-night vigil is celebrated on the eve of the main feasts of the Orthodox Church. The purpose is to show a sense of beauty in the setting sun and give the congregation a chance to consider the spiritual light of Christ, the new light of the coming day and the eternal light of the heavenly kingdom. The vigil consists of three separate services: Great Vespers, Matins (at midnight) and the First Hour or Prime (in the morning).
The work is dedicated to the scholar Stephan Vasilevitch Smolensky who introduced Rachmaninoff to the repertoire of the church, however the composer’s inspiration was as much politically motivated as spiritually – the composition was a powerful affirmation of nationalism during the war.
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