The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom For A Cappella Choir
Major New Work CD Launch Concert
THURSDAY, 7th MARCH, 2013
Edition Peters Artist Management is delighted to invite you to attend the CD Launch Concert of Alexander Levine’s major new work, The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, which will be held at 7:30pm on Thursday 7th March at the Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great.
The piece will be performed by the renowned chamber choir Tenebrae, under the direction of Nigel Short. The concert marks both the release of the recording of the Divine Liturgy on Signum Records and the publication of the piece by Edition Peters.
Full price £12; Concessions £10 (students & OAPs)
Phone: 020 7766 1100 (Mon-Sat 10:00am-5pm)
In person at the Box Office of St Martin-in-the-Fields: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ
(10:00am-5:00pm Mon-Weds, 10:00am-8:30pm Thurs-Sat)
Thursday, 7th March, 2013
Doors open 6:45pm
Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great
West Smithfield, London EC1A 9DS
Nearest tube: Barbican (Hammersmith and City, Metropolitan and Circle Lines)
Parking: The nearest car parks are in Beech Street (under the Barbican) and West Smithfield.
The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom is Alexander Levine’s most significant large scale religious work to date. Inspired by the humility and humanity of the murdered Russian priest (and friend of Levine) Fr. Alexander Men and composed over a three month period of spiritual immersion, research and contemplation similar to that described by his great forebears Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, the work traces a continuous spiritual growth towards the central point of the Liturgy – the Holy Communion.
The musical material rigorously follows liturgical textual canon, but with some additional ‘offerings’, which traditionally come from the deacon during the service. The work embraces 22 relatively short movements, and could be described as a sequence of litanies in which the choir responds to the deacon’s prayer offering, antiphons and hymns, as well as some of the core movements – such as Hymn to the Lord, Hymn to the Virgin, the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. The musical style of this Liturgy includes Greek or Byzantian chant, Medieval polyphony, Renaissance counterpoint, Byzantine chant and poly-chordal texture. Levine has also added fragments of the Russian folk song At the Father’s gate to the Creed. This folk song was conceived in Leo Tolstoy’s imagination as a symbolic archetype of Russian muzhik and the symbol the peasant population in its remarkable resistance to Napoleon’s Army during the occupation of Russia in 1812. Tchaikovsky also used the complete quotation of this song in his 1812 Overture.
The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom was premiered in 2009 by Andrei Petrenko and the Mariinsky Opera Choir, and subsequently performed over the next three years at Valery Gergiev’s Easter Festivals.
The Moscow-born musician studied at the Gnessin Academy of Music and soon established himself working with highly acclaimed artists in Russia, winning prestigious awards between 1989-91. In 1992 he moved to the UK where he continued post-graduate studies with Gary Carpenter and Simon Bainbridge and went on to win further awards and competition prizes. Since 1994 he has worked as a composer, arranger and music director on theatre productions, including War and Peace, The Beggar’s Opera and Love’s Labour’s Lost.
In the following years he collaborated with various artists such as Maria Freedman, Christian Forshaw, The Stanzeleit/Jacobson Duo, Darragh Morgan, Mary Dullea, The Fidelio Trio, Konstantin Boyarsky, Jonathan Powell, Andrew McNeill, Bozidar Vukovic, The Tippett Quartet, The Orlando Consort, The BBC Singers, The 21st Century Choir, Tenebrae, The Mariinsky Opera Choir, The Russia State Orchestra “Novaia Rossia” and The Bel Canto Chorus.
“... is there any finer chamber choir in Britain today than Nigel Short’s outfit, Tenebrae?”
Hailed as “one of the country’s most outstanding vocal ensembles” (Evening Standard), Tenebrae has established itself as the chamber choir of choice for critics and audiences in the UK and around the world. Founded and directed by Nigel Short, the group blends the passion of a large cathedral choir with the precision of a chamber ensemble to create a unique and enchanting sound, one which is as dazzlingly effective in mediaeval chant as it is in contemporary works. With every performance exploiting the unique acoustic and atmosphere of each venue in which they perform with movement and light, often using candlelight as the sole means of illumination, the carefully chosen team of singers enable the audience to experience the power and intimacy of the human voice at its very best.
Also by Alexander Levine:
Prayers for Mankind: A Symphony of Prayers of Father Alexander Men
This profound six-movement a cappella choral work is available in a recording by Tenebrae on Signum Records, described by Gramophone Magazine as "impressive and moving".
Father Alexander Men (1938-1990) is widely credited as being the architect of religious renewal in Russia at the end of the Soviet era. As Levine writes: "Raised in Orthodoxy and loving the Orthodox faith and serving Christ to his last breath, Father Alexander Men always believed that loving Christ meant loving all people. And this meant loving the world in all its cultural and religious manifoldness."