Rachmaninov Vespers

Rachmaninov Vespers

Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple and the Virgin of the Burning Bush, Russian anon, c. 1598, via Wikimedia Commons
Rachmaninov composed the All-Night Vigil in less than two weeks during January and February of 1915; it was first performed Moscow on March 10th of the same year. It was received warmly by both critics and audiences; indeed, it was so successful that it was performed five more times within a month. However, the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the rise of the Soviet Union led to the government condemnation of religious music. Of the All-Night Vigil, it has been written that ‘no composition represents the end of an era so clearly as this liturgical work’.

Of course, Rachmaninov is chiefly remembered as a composer for the piano and, as a counterpoint to the Vespers, the concert will feature several of his most celebrated keyboard works.