Classical A work of dedication and vision

A work of dedication and vision

A packed to capacity candlelit Rhodes Chapel was the venue for the infrequently performed Rachmaninov Vespers – All Night Vigil. This 15 movement (motets) masterpiece traces Old and New Testament themes from the Creation through to Christ’s victory over the grave; Thou has risen from the tomb (fourteenth motet).

In this work the creator of highly chromatic, densely textured late-Romantic works gives way to a veneration of church music styles where cantus firmus melodies inspired through Orthodox Church chants entwine with fragments of modality, polyphony, and chorale styled homophony.

This compositional assemblage was admirably realised by the Chanticleer Singers in a breathtakingly expressive performance that pointed toward heavenly realms. Richard Cock’s insightful and poignant direction of this work revealed the true level of his musicianship where carefully wrought climaxes were delineated beside moments of reflective repose. His long-range architectonic control over the macro-structure of this work was masterly.

Contralto soloist Veramarie Meyer’s richly resonant voice added an expressive, flexibly phrased dimension to Bless the Lord O My Soul as Rachmaninov’s many voiced choral texture swirled around her evocative intoning.

Nicholas Nicolaidis’ solo phrases intertwined meaningfully with the texture creating moments of sheer beauty. Here Cock’s handling of textural balance was remarkable and allowed for an appreciation of each strand.

The choir’s joyful abandon in declaiming Victorious Leader (fifteenth motet) was captivating with the bell-like text-painting dimension evident in the carefully enunciated tapestry. Likewise, their handling of the polyphonic writing in Glory to God In the Highest (twelfth motet) was mesmerisingly beautiful. -Jeff Brukman-

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