Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Concert of Russian Religious and Folk Music

Last Sunday, November 1, the Alumni of the Yale Russian Chorus gathered at the Duke University Chapel. They performed a slate of Russian religious and folk music, and ended with a rather long encore, which consisted mainly of American spirituals. I wasn't able to catch the titles of all the pieces they sung for the encore.

Here is their program.

  • We Praise Thee, O Lord (Tebe Boga khvalim; Dmitrii Bortniansky (1751-1825))
  • Bless The Lord, O My Soul (Blagoslovi dushe moya, Gospoda; Traditional Byzantine)
  • Blessed Is The Man (Blazhen muzh; Kiev-Pechersky chant (13th-18th centuries))
  • Gladsome Light (Svetye tikhii; Aleksandr Kastalsky (1856-1926))
  • With My Voice I Cried Unto the Lord (Glasom moyim; Aleksandr Arkhangelsky (1846-1924))
  • Praise The Name of The Lord (Khvalite imya Gospodne; Arkhangelsky)
  • Who Are They (Kas tie tadi; 18th century Latvian folk song)
  • A Little Golden Cloud (Mochevala tuchka; text Mikhail Lemontov (1814-1841); music Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakoff (1844-1908))
  • Gray Smoke Is Rising (Viotsa, viotsa iszyu dym; Traditional Cossack Song)
  • Ah, On The Hill (Oi na hori; Ukrainian Cossack Song)
  • Lezginka (Traditional Caucasian dance)
  • Oh, You Bleak Roads (Ekh dorogi; Lyrics Lev Oshanin; music Anatoly Novikov (1946))
  • Borodino (Traditional soldier song; text Lermontov)
  • Oh, A Maiden's Heart (Akh, ty serdtse devichie; Isaac Dunaevsky (1900-1955))
  • The Little Snowstorm (Metelitsa; Aleksandr Varlamov (1801-1848))
  • Sweet Little Snowball Tree (Kalinka; Traditional folksong)
  • Oh, You Steppe So Wide (Akh ty stiep' shirokaya; Traditional folksong)
  • In A Smithy (Vo kuznitse; Traditional folksong)
  • There Lived Twelve Brigands (Zhylo dvenadsat' razboinikov; Text Nikolai Nekrasov (1921-1878); music anon.)
The choir performed five additional pieces as encore. The first two pieces were in Russian; one was sacred, the other secular. The last three pieces were American spirituals. My friend and I only recognised two of them: Ride the Chariot in the morning, Lord and Steal Away.

The acoustic in Duke Chapel makes it challenging to perform choral music there, but this group did fine. Some of the overwhelming vibrato made some of the harmonies rather muddy, IMHO. I also wondered if I sat closer to the choir if I could have had a better chance to make out individual words. But I could always blame that on the chapel's acoustics. ;)

It was a nice afternoon of music. Thanks much, Chris T., for the tickets.

No comments: