Since the 1990s, with the resurgence of interest in chant and other sacred choral music, Sergey Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil (1915) has been recorded several times and achieved popularity under the title, Vespers. This setting, which includes four liturgical offices, Vespers, Matins, Lauds, and Prime, is among the most challenging choral works composed for Russian Orthodox worship, and because of its exceptional variety of textures and demands on even the most proficient choirs, it is actually performed more often as a concert work. This vibrant performance of the All-Night Vigil by Kaspars Putnins and the Netherlands Radio Choir reveals the inner layers of Rachmaninov's divisi part writing, and BIS' multichannel recording and DSD processing give a transparent but resonant presentation of the choir in the acoustically responsive studio space. The closing selection, The Theotokos, Ever-Vigilant in Prayer (1893), and this tender Marian hymn reflects a more traditional style of Orthodox chant, though even here, Rachmaninov employs subtle counterpoint and richer harmonies than would have been expected in standard liturgical usage.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|All-Night Vigil (Vespers), Op. 37|