St John's Notting Hill
Rachmaninov and Bach: St John at St John's
Saturday October 18th, 7.30pm.
Collegium Musicum of London directed by Greg Morris Catherine Martin, violin
Rachmaninov – Liturgy of St John Chrysotom
Bach - Violin Partita in D Major
Tickets £12.00, £9.00 concessions
Available online at collegiumchoir.com or phone to reserve on 07812 599340
In a letter to a friend dated July 1910, Sergei Rachmaninov wrote: 'I have long thought about the (St John) Liturgy, and I have long aimed at reproducing it. I took it up rather by chance and immediately got carried away. After that, I finished it very quickly. Not for a long time…have I written anything with such pleasure.’ Rachmaninov had composed the piece at his summer estate Ivanovka, following his American tour of 1909. After the work premièred on November 1910, in Moscow, the Russian Orthodox ecclesiastical authorities strongly objected to the work's "spirit of modernism" and refused to sanction it for use during church services. Official rejection notwithstanding, the piece is a sublime, mesmeric setting which both transports and elevates the listener. Rachmaninov, paying particular attention to the meaning of the text, emphasises the most emotive moments with unexpected harmonic, rhythmic and metric changes, prompting the listener to experience the drama of the Orthodox service through the music alone. Collegium Musicum of London’s performance, under conductor Greg Morris, offers a rare opportunity to hear this neglected masterpiece – a striking testament to a composer, at the height of his powers, wonderfully incorporating Orthodox Russian chant into the rich, late romantic nationalist tradition. Alongside the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, CML presents – by way of a complete contrast – Bach’s virtuosic Violin Partita in D minor, performed by the talented leader of The Gabrieli Consort, Catherine Martin.