Pavel Chesnokov (1877–1944): Da Ispravitsa Molitva Moja – Let my soul arise

Da ispravitsya molitva moya, yako kadilo pred Toboyu:
Let my prayer arise in thy sight as incense;

Easter Service Moscow Cathedral Children Captioned

I rarely write about the wonderful choral music found amongst the Orthodox and Middle-Eastern churches. But their music is well worth exploring amongst the Russian composers of sacred music whose work I admire is Pavel Chesnokov (1877–1944) whose output of sacred music was enormous.  Da ispravitsya molitva moya  is his setting of the Psalm verses appointed for the Liturgy of the Pre-sanctified Gifts. (This is the service takes place on Wednesday of Holy Week in which a large number of Hosts – Communion wafers called "Lambs" are consecrated and reserved for distribution during services on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday). Many people consider it to be one of Chesnokov’s best works and I’m no exception – it’s a piece of music I love and that I listen to every year during Holy Week. For this year’s Holy Wednesday I’ve set up a playlist on YouTube with three very different performances of Da ispravitsya molitva moya for you to enjoy. The first is by Moscow Cathedral Choir with the solo being taken by an (unnamed) treble from the Moscow Boys Choir. I’ve loved this performance since I first heard it – the soloist is superb while the Cathedral choir tenors and basses surround his singing with Chesnokov’s marvellously dark and deep choral textures. The second performance is by the "Kovcheg"  Male choir  conducted by Alexey Telnov the bass soloist is Alexey Doroshenko. The choir here is superb while the soloist gives full weight (and depth) to Chesnokov’s melodic line. The final performance is by the Amfir Quartet at their concert given on November 11th 2008 in St. Catherine’s Catholic Church,  Moscow, I’ve included it because I’d never heard it performed as a chamber piece and liked what I heard. Their playing really brings out Chesnokov’s melody in all its many glories. You’ll find the playlist together with a transliteration and a translation of the text below.


Video Playlist Source: Da Ispravitsa Molitva Moja – YouTube  playlist by markfromireland’s channel

Transliterated and Translated Text: Da Ispravitsa Molitva Moja

Russian TransliterationEnglish Translation
Da ispravitsya molitva moya, yako kadilo pred Toboyu:
vozdeyanie ruku moeyu, zhertva vechernyaya.
Let my prayer arise in thy sight as incense;
and let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice.
Gospodi, vozzvakh k Tebe, uslïshi mya:
vonmi glasu moleniya moyego, vnegda vozzvati mi k Tebe.
Lord, I call upon thee, hear me;
receive the voice of my prayer, when I call upon thee.
Polozhi, Gospodi, khranenie ustom moim:
i dver ograzhdeniya o ustnakh moikh.
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth,
and keep watch over the door of my lips.
Ne ukloni serdtse moe v slovesa lukavstviya:
nepshchevati vinï o gresekh.
Incline not my heart to evil words,
nor to make excuses for sins.

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