Rachmaninov’s setting of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom remains, for many, the most musically satisfying setting of this particular Russian Orthodox service. Although Rachmaninov (1873–1943) never stipulated whether it was intended for performance in church or concert hall, it works well in both contexts due to its formal clarity and the spiritual splendour of the choral writing. The Hymn to the Cherubim
calls for us to lay aside the cares of this life and receive the ‘King of All’. The sublime, undulating opening soon gives way to hushed tones before building into a grand climax, glorifying the Holy Trinity. The hymn ends gently with long-spun Alleluias.
from notes by M Ross © 2006