Orthodox Masterpieces

February 10, 2018
St. Vladimir's Seminary│Three Hierarchs Chapel
575 Scarsdale Road
Yonkers, NY 10707

Decades ago, masterpieces from the Orthodox musical tradition by composers such as Tchaikovsky and Bortniansky used to be sung regularly by average church choirs in both Russia and America. However, as choir membership in America dwindled in many parishes, the ability to sing challenging repertoire likewise diminished. Works from the past became mere museum pieces, and new works being created by gifted church musicians remained beyond the reach of many parish choirs. Both traditional and fresh compositions are often now heard only either in concert or on recordings.

St. Vladimir’s Seminary Chorale—a volunteer campus community choir—is making it part of their ministry to sing masterpieces of Orthodox music within liturgical services in Three Hierarchs Chapel. The Chorale plans bi-annually to invite the public to hear beautifully composed and arranged hymns in their proper setting: communal worship.

On Saturday, February 10, 2018, at 6:30 p.m., the Chorale will commence its “Orthodox Masterpieces” series by singing Great Vespers in Three Hierarchs Chapel, featuring select compositions by Archpriest Sergei Glagolev. Father Sergei is noted for his pioneering work in introducing English-language musical compositions into Orthodox Christian church services—inspired hymnography with a uniquely American sound. Following the liturgical service, fellow worshippers are invited to hear an educational talk by seminary faculty and to enjoy a light reception.

(from left) Renowned Orthodox composers Fr. Sergei Glagolev with Fr. Ivan Moody, on campus together, 2016.(from left) Renowned Orthodox composers Fr. Sergei Glagolev with Fr. Ivan Moody, on campus together, 2016.“No other place in America has woven together the study and practice of liturgy like St. Vladimir’s,” noted Robin Freeman, who is Director of Music at the Seminary. “Our understanding of the liturgy owes much both to liturgical theologians like Fr. Alexander Schmemann, who lived and taught here, and to musicians like David Drillock, who led the seminary community in the daily music of our chapel services.

“Our Orthodox Masterpieces series aims to continue this synthesis of the study and practice of Orthodox music and liturgy at St. Vladimir’s,” she explained, “allowing us not only to educate our own students and chapel community, but also to welcome friends, inquirers, donors, alumni, and all music lovers, regardless of their religious backgrounds.

“In addition to being liturgical and educational,” she concluded, “our bi-annual Masterpiece series presentation will offer an opportunity for evangelism, deepening the faith of Orthodox Christians and presenting the Orthodox faith to others.”

Listen to Fr. Sergei's “Paschal Exapostilarion” sung by the Women's Sextet of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, on the forthcoming CD “Every Day Will I Bless Thee” (SVS Press).

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