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The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op 31

First line:
Hear our prayer
1910; first performed by the choir of the Moscow Synodal School under Nikolai Mikhailovich Danilin on 25 November 1910
author of text

‘Hymn to the Cherubim’ is probably the most frequently performed section of Rachmaninov’s Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op 31, a sequence of twenty movements. ‘St John Chrysostom’ is the title given in the Russian Orthodox Church to the Eucharist-like liturgy used on weekdays and on most Sundays. ‘Not for a long time have I written anything with such pleasure’, Rachmaninov commented on completing the work. The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom was performed shortly afterwards, in November 1910. It thus predates by some five years the composer’s only other significant piece of liturgical music, the Vespers, Op 37. Rachmaninov had long been interested in Russian Orthodox music, and during his teens had even attended classes in Moscow with Stepan Smolenski, one of the leading figures in the field. Though the Liturgy contains no chant material, the simplicity of the harmony—the score of the ‘Hymn’ contains only a handful of accidentals—reflects this interest. Not everyone approved. Alexander Kastalsky, Director of the Moscow Synodal Choir, whom Rachmaninov had consulted during composition of the work, objected to certain ‘subjective’ elements in the music and, remarkably, performance in church was banned owing to the work’s ‘spirit of modernism’.

from notes by Martin Ennis © 2018


Rachmaninov: The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom
Russian Treasures
Studio Master: SIGCD900Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Allegri: Miserere
Studio Master: SIGCD085Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Images of Christ
COLCD124Download only
Locus iste
Studio Master: SIGCD567Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Russian Orthodox Music


Movement 01: Velikaya Ekteniya 'The Great Litany'
Track 1 on CDH55318 [5'27]
Movement 02: Blagoslovi, dushe moya, Gospoda 'First Antiphon: Bless the Lord, O my soul'
Track 2 on CDH55318 [4'40]
Movement 03: Slava Otsu – Edinorodnyy Syne 'Second Antiphon: Glory be to God the Father'
Track 3 on CDH55318 [4'06]
Movement 04: Vo tsarstvii tvoem 'Third Antiphon: In your kingdom'
Track 4 on CDH55318 [4'47]
Track 7 on COLCD124 [4'53] Download only
Movement 05: Priidite, poklonimsya 'The Little Entrance: Come, let us worship'
Track 5 on CDH55318 [1'40]
Movement 06: Gospodi, spasi blagochestivya 'Trisagion: Lord, we pray that you may be merciful'
Track 6 on CDH55318 [3'11]
Movement 07: Sugubaya Ekteniya 'Augmented Litany'
Track 7 on CDH55318 [4'40]
Movement 08: Kheruvimskaya pesn 'Cherubic Hymn'
Track 8 on CDH55318 [5'03]
Track 4 on SIGCD085 [4'39] Download only
Track 5 on SIGCD900 [4'29] Download only
Track 14 on SIGCD567 [5'10] Download only
Movement 09: Prositelnaya Ekteniya 'Litany of Supplication'
Track 9 on CDH55318 [4'26]
Movement 10: Simvol very: Veruyu 'The Creed: I believe in one God'
Track 10 on CDH55318 [5'21]
Movement 11: Milost mira 'The Eucharistic Prayer – Sanctus – Benedictus'
Track 11 on CDH55318 [5'28]
Movement 12: Tebe poem 'We praise you'
Track 12 on CDH55318 [2'19]
Track 6 on SIGCD900 [2'21] Download only
Movement 13: Dostoyno est 'Hymn to the Mother of God: It is truly meet to bless you'
Track 13 on CDH55318 [7'27]
Movement 14: Otche nash 'The Lord's Prayer: Our Father in heaven'
Track 14 on CDH55318 [4'08]
Track 13 on SIGCD900 [3'54] Download only
Movement 14: The Lord's Prayer  Hear our prayer
Track 12 on CDGIM002 [3'46]
Movement 15: Edin svyat 'One is holy'
Track 15 on CDH55318 [1'27]
Movement 16: Khvalite Gospoda s nebes 'Communion Hymn: Praise the Lord from the heavens'
Track 16 on CDH55318 [2'30]
Movement 17: Blagosloven gradyy 'Blessed is he'
Track 17 on CDH55318 [2'22]
Movement 18: Da ispolnyatsya usta nasha 'Hymn of Praise: Let our mouths be filled'
Track 18 on CDH55318 [5'48]
Movement 19: Budi imya Gospodne 'Blessed be the name of the Lord'
Track 19 on CDH55318 [1'01]
Movement 20: Otpust 'Dismissal'
Track 20 on CDH55318 [1'26]

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