From Russia to Russia
The tenth and final audio recording of the project titled “Singing of the Russian Diaspora” (San Francisco: Russky Pastyr, 2015) has been published in the US, a unique anthology of liturgical music composed and preserved by the Russian Church in exile. The initiative of Protopriest Peter Perekrestov, Senior Priest of the Cathedral of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” over the course of 14 years, the project presents the work of several dozen emigre composers, choir directors and arrangers of spiritual music. The last two discs (the ninth and tenth) were officially presented in Russia.
The composers who left Russia did not bury the talent entrusted to them by God, but, on the contrary, under the difficult conditions of the emigration, not only preserved it, but even increased it. The composition and harmonization of Russian church hymns became for them one of the means of expressing their love for God, their dedication to the Orthodox Church, and their commitment to the future of Russia. If in Babylonian captivity the chosen people posed the question: “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land,” the Russian people who found themselves in exile and who chose Christ were able to survive in foreign countries precisely because they sang the Lord’s song in a strange land. It was these strange lands which, in the context of the historical and spiritual catastrophe of Russia, enabled them fully to understand and be aware of how short, how illusory our life is; how much more sublime the internal is as compared to the external. This, in turn, found expression in their spiritual creativity. The composers of the Russian diaspora do not so much constitute a particular school as a definite direction in church music. A group of church musicians was formed, who continued the tradition of studying and reworking the old church chants, as well as the experience of free composition in the best traditions of the Russian ecclesiastical music of the early 20th century.
The tenth music CD is the final in the series, which covers the forgotten choral legacy of the Russian emigration. It includes recordings of church music written by 23 composers of the Russian diaspora, including Boris Ledkovsky, Maksim Kovalevsky, Kedrov Sr and Kedrov Jr, Archbishop Gabriel (Chepur), musicologist Ivan Gardner, Protopriest Victor Ilienko, and Paris’ Evgeny Yevets and Alexander Zhavoronkov.