Orthodox Masterpieces Series Launched

On Saturday, February 10, 2018, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Chorale commenced its “Orthodox Masterpieces” series, a musical endeavor that invites the public to hear beautifully composed hymns in their proper setting: communal worship. To inaugurate the series, the Chorale sang Great Vespers in Three Hierarchs Chapel, featuring select compositions by Alumnus Archpriest Sergei Glagolev. Robin Freeman, director of Music at the Seminary, conducted the singers, and Archpriest Alexander Rentel, chapel ecclesiarch, presided at the service, assisted by seminarians Dn. Larry Soper and Dn. Herman Fields.

Following the vespers service, fellow worshippers listened to an educational talk by Harrison Russin, lecturer in Liturgical Music at the Seminary, and enjoyed a light reception. In his talk, Mr. Russin noted Fr. Sergei’s enormous contribution to North American church hymnography: the creation of English-language musical compositions with a uniquely American sound and the introduction of those pieces into Orthodox Christian parishes.

“Father Sergei's music dwells in the tension between innovation and tradition, and between complexity and simplicity,” noted Mr. Russin, “a tension that reflects the American Orthodox experience.

“His music is at the same time fresh and genuinely Orthodox,” he continued, “and that combination has fueled the vision of what music in the Orthodox Church in America—and in every Orthodox jurisdiction—can be."

Mrs. Freeman, commenting on her passion for singing high quality church music in the context of worship, said, “The Church has always employed music to convey her sacred theology in the liturgy; therefore, our program teaches seminarians both the traditional tonal systems of Russian, Byzantine, and other Orthodox music, as well as fundamentals such as reading musical notation, vocal production, and conducting technique.

“We aim to synthesize all that we learn within the liturgy,” she explained, “producing beautiful tone and clear diction, harmonious choral blending, and seamless exchanges between clergy, choir, readers, and the people.”

View and listen to the entire Great Vespers service

Photo credits: Dn. Ryan Tellalian
Video credits: Alexandru M Popovici