Rachmaninoff.org • Vespers
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Posted: Mon May 16, 2005 12:11 am
by hvete
While living in Russia in 1983, I was given a pirated copy of the Vespers published by Melodia. Unable to find the original, I have made about 20 more pirated copies of this recording, and have listened to it without exaggeration 400 times. I've listened to many other recordings of it, and some of them are quite good, but none of them have ever matched this one for me. It had a quality of fearlessness about it. Other recordings are probably better technically, but somehow this one just hits me in the gut. It's raw, understands the importance of the timing and the bass. Whenever I fear the Russians might forget how to be Russian, I find again in it this essential force which makes them a great, holy and terrible nation.

Posted: Thu May 19, 2005 12:02 am
who are the performers , when was it recorded?

vespers (strictly All Night Vigil)

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:14 pm
by rachfan
Could it be the recording of the All Night Vigil by the USSR Russian Choir conducted by Alexander Sveshnikov? It was recorded in 1965 and was issued by Melodiya. They re-issued the first 6 numbers on Melodiya SUCD 10-00274 (I bought a copy in Moscow many years ago). This performance was reissued by Chante du Monde CLB 0278552 but this version only includes the first 12 numbers and is long deleted.
I picked up a copy on ebay (from Hawaii !!) a year or two ago so they are still out there.
This is THE recording for me - the emotions are so deep as to be subterranean (like the basses) and it is intensely moving. I am so used to this recording that, in other performances, I almost resent the inclusion of numbers 13-15 after the wonderful ending to 12 (although if anyone has the original recording (assuming it included the 'full 15') that would be wonderful.

Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2006 4:21 pm
by morakeo
I have a recording of the work from Melodiya. It's with the USSR Ministry of Culture Chamber Choir conducted by Valeri Polyansky. Do you think it's this?

Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:22 pm
by rachfan
Further to the discussion above, I was overjoyed to find (on eBay) a new issue of the original 1965 Melodiya recording (first recording) of the All-night Vigil (Vespers) conducted by Sveshnikov. All 15 numbers are included so this is what I've always wanted - it eclipses the incomplete Chante du Monde issue of 1973!

It is apparently a 1992 re-mastering of the original recording but I can't work out any more since it is all in Russian. It was sent directly from Russia.

It is worth searching the web - copies do come up from time to time. A Korean issue was also available until recently.

p.s. The original LP (ASD 2973) is still available quite widely if you have a record deck.

Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:04 am
by mikhailp
Are there any online downloads avaliable of it? Sounds very interesting! I'd love to hear it...

Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 11:28 am
by rachfan
Mikhail, I'm not aware of any downloads.
Other performances also offer great rewards. Chernushenko has recorded this music twice and Polyansky is good. I also like the performance by the National Academic Choir of Ukraine under Yevhen Savchuk.
I still return to Sveshnikov, though. I find something very special in this old recording.

Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 11:50 am
by rachfan
I have just re-read the messages above. In answer to morakeo,
it is unlikely that hvete is referring to the Polyansky recording - my version of it says that it was recorded in Smolensk in 1986. Assuming you have the same recording (the original Melodiya recording was re-issued on the Chante du Monde label), this was recorded after hvete heard his 'pirate' version.
Similarly, the first Chernushenko recording dates from 1989.
I think that hvete must have heard the Sveshnikov or an alternative recording which has not been issued outside Russia.

Hvete, do you still have the recording you enjoyed? It should be easy to work out which it is from the timing of the tracks......

Re: Vespers

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:06 pm
by Daniel
Speaking about Vespers, as far as I've heard until now, the recordings fall into two groups:
1. Sveshnikov
2. others

Re: Vespers

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:00 am
by Marianne
I have 4 records available:
Chernushenko - St.Petersburg Academic Glinka Cappella, 1992
Kornev - St. Petersburg Chamber Choir, 1993
St. Nikolai Church Choir - Alexei Pouzakov (also known as Choir of the State Tretyakov Gallery), Moscow, 1997
plus Polyansky

The most complete discography that I met:

http://www*arkivmusic*com/classical/Dri ... mp_id=2412

This Polyansky record was made in 1986 in Smolensk

Re: Vespers

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:09 am
by Marianne
hvete wrote:While living in Russia in 1983, I was given a pirated copy of the Vespers published by Melodia.

1983 was the year when I was baptized and I remember quite well all the precautions my parents took to baptize me thousands of kilometers away from our native city so that nobody would get to know, otherwise they could be fired.

I think that that record was pirated because it was not produced by Melodia, but just recorded in some church.
Now I feel like I'd love to have this record so much.
Imagine people singing this great composition in the times when it was not allowed all over the country to sing it. :!:
Imagine the risk.
Singing such a music not just because that's their job, but because it is their deep faith

Re: Vespers

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:33 am
by Marianne
It must be Sveshnikov, Daniel you are right! There were records released in 1963 and 1965 but not for sale in USSR

Re: Vespers

Posted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 5:20 am
by StewH
I have the two LP set of Sveshnikov's "Vespers". It blew me away when I first heard it, and I still consider it the best of the lot. I now own both the Shaw recording and the Polyansky on CD and will endeavor to compare the two and perhaps give a personal evaluation of them. But give me some time, as it will be a little time consuming! There are good points and bad points with both recordings. :)

Re: Vespers

Posted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:13 pm
by Daniel
I bought my 2 LP set of Sveshnikov's recording of the Vespers from an antiques shop. They were being kept in some sort of a dusty wardrobe and I paid the equivalent of $2. Fortunately, after carefully cleaning the records, they proved their Russian toughness: a really clean sound, beyond my expectations considering the circumstances.
As for the outstanding performance recorded there, I have nothing but praise.

And a little piece of advice from an LP fan: Consider all used records which you get from unknown sources as being dirty. Do not play these records without prior meticulous cleaning. Doing so might ruin your stylus which, in turn, shall ruin your other records.