Sergei Rachmaninoff composed his All-Night Vigil (also known as Vespers) during a three-week period in 1915. It is a towering achievement and a work of deep faith. Comprised of fifteen movements and based largely on Russian Orthodox chants, the All-Night Vigil is a technical and emotional tour de force. Sung without instruments and lasting just over one hour, the piece evokes many moods and stretches the choir to its limits in range and endurance.
His family fortune gone, Rachmaninoff fled Russian in 1917 and moved to the United States, settling in Hollywood, California. In this country, he enjoyed great success as a concert pianist, traveling and concertizing extensively. Though his success afforded him a measure of material luxury, he felt like an exile, missing his homeland and the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1943, months before his death, he completed the Symphonic Dances commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra. In the final minutes of that work, Rachmaninoff, reaching back nearly 30 years, quoted a section of his All-Night Vigil, a powerful statement of faith from a composer creating his final work.
(Text copied from PasadenaMasterChorale.org)
Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil by Pasadena’s Master Chorale
Saturday & Sunday, March 23rd & 24th, 7:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. respectively
Altadena Community Church
943 E. Altadena Dr., Altadena 91001
Tickets range from $10 to $20