Petrenko / Yekaterinburg Philharmonic Choir - Russian Choral Concertos - An Introduction | RECORD STORE DAY

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The polyphonic choral concerto performed a cappella first appeared in Russian music at the beginning of the 18th century. Sacred in origin, it began as a multimovement setting of liturgical texts. Although it later became more secular in character, it nonetheless retained an elevated nature thanks to it's use of Christian imagery. Most of the composers who worked in this genre were choirmasters and conductors, and inherited the traditions of the oldest professional choirs in Russia: the Moscow Synodal Choir and the Saint Petersburg Court Chapel. The Golden Age of the Russian choral concerto came with the works of Dmitry Bortnyansky and Stepan Degtyarev during the reign of Catherine the Great. The genre took a new turn at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, thanks to the efforts of Pavel Chesnokov, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Alexander Arkhangelsky. Composers during the later 20th century had greater freedom to choose their poetic texts and to modify the form of the genre: they could make use of secular themes, as did Georgy Sviridov in Pushkin's Garland, or follow the spiritual and philosophical path of the genre, as we see in Valery Gavrilin's Chimes.