Sergey Rachmaninov

Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, for chorus, Op. 31

    Description by Rovi Staff

    Though Rachmaninov the composer is best remembered for his concerti and other piano works, the Symphony No. 2 (1906-1907), the tone poem Isle of the Dead (1909), and numerous songs, he also produced a small but distinguished body of choral music. The "choral symphony" The Bells (1913) is probably the best-known example of this part of the composer's output, but Rachmaninov also produced a number of other important choral works during the same decade. The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom for chorus, Op. 31 (1910), was composed during one of the composer's regular summers in Ivanovka, a retreat where he also composed the √Čtudes-tableaux, Op. 33 (1911), and the Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 36 (1913). The namesake of The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (ca. 307-407) is one of the most revered saints in the Orthodox tradition. St. John (whose full name denotes "golden mouth") is held in particular esteem for his powers as an orator and theologian. He has been honored by composers on numerous occasions; the mass text that bears his name was set by, among other composers, Tchaikovsky (his Op. 41, composed in 1878). Rachmaninov's setting of St. John's Liturgy reflects the work's age-old origins in the Orthodox Church. In keeping with the Liturgy's roots, Rachmaninov makes use of unaccompanied voices, which sing the traditional text in Slavonic. Early on, the Russian Orthodox Church rejected the "modernist spirit" of Rachmaninov's work, causing it to lapse into obscurity as the Russian Revolution approached. The Liturgy, lost for decades, was reconstructed in the 1980s from archival sources and part books located in a New York monastery.


    1. The Great Ektenya
    2. Praise the Lord, O my soul
    3. The only-begotten
    4. In Thy Kingdom, double chorus
    5. In Thy Kingdom, Chorus
    6. Come, bow
    7. Lord, save the faithful, and Holy God
    8. The two-fold and following Ektenii
    9. Which Cherubim
    10. The suppliant Ektenya
    11. I believe
    12. The grace at peace
    13. We sing to thee
    14. It is right for all men and all things
    15. Our Father, double chorus
    16. One Church
    17. Praise God in the Heavens
    18. Blessed be the hosts, and We see the true light
    19. And our faith shall show forth
    20. Cry the name of the Lord, double chorus
    21. Praise the Father and the Faithful

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2015 Carus CARUS 83407
    2014 Decca 4786765
    2014 Harmonia Mundi HMU 807526
    2012 Brilliant Classics 9253
    2011 Melodiya MELCD 1001930
    2010 Ondine 11515
    2009 EMI Classics
    2008 Hyperion 55318
    2006 Glossa / VRK 922203
    2005 Moscow Studio Archives 18732
    2005 Brilliant 6215
    2004 EMI Classics 57677
    2003 Philips / Polygram 475 227-2
    1999 Christophorus 0088
    1999 Claves 509304/5
    1998 Le Chant du Monde 288154
    1996 Nimbus 5497-8
    1995 Philips 442 776-2PH
    1995 EMI Classics 568664-2
    1995 Melodiya 74321 25187-2
    1995 Hungaroton 31610
    1994 Hyperion 66703
    1994 Capriccio Records 10519/20
    1993 Christophorus 74522
    Melodiya 1000012
    Bison Records 42196
    Carlton 569147
    Sony Music Distribution 64092