The Moscow-born composer Alexander Levine (b. 1955) studied piano, clarinet and guitar, and whilst a student at the Gnessin Academy of Music became Principal Guitarist in the Russian National Radio and Television orchestra. As a composer in Russia he worked with highly acclaimed national artists, and won prestigious awards from the Russian National Radio and Television. In 1992 he moved to the UK where he was awarded a scholarship to study for a Masters in composition with Gary Carpenter and Simon Bainbridge at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
As a composer, arranger and music director in the UK Alexander Levine has worked on theatre productions including The Beggar’s Opera and Love’s Labour’s Lost. His 1994 commission to write music for the Barbican Centre’s production of War and Peace was a critical success. The Times wrote: “It is not often you go to the theatre and get an orchestra thrown in: not providing cues for numbers but underscoring dialogue with a grand swell, like a soundtrack for the big screen.”
He has collaborated with artists as diverse as The Mariinsky Opera Choir, The Russia State Orchestra “Novaia Rossia”, Maria Freedman, Christian Forshaw, The Stanzeleit/Jacobson Duo, Darragh Morgan, Mary Dullea, The Fidelio Trio, Konstantin Boyarsky, Jonathan Powell, Andrew McNeill, Bozidar Vukovic, The Tippett Quartet, The Orlando Consort, The BBC Singers, The 21st Century Choir, Tenebrae, VOCES8, Paul Phoenix and Apollo5, St George’s Cathedral Consort Perth and The Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee. His music has been recorded by the Quartz Saxophone Quartet, the BBC Singers, and by the chamber choir Tenebrae who have recorded two of his major choral works on the Signum Classics label: Prayers for Mankind and The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom.
Source: Biography – Alexander Levine
This new setting of the seminal Russian piece quite took my breath away the first time I heard it. The performance below was broadcast as part of BBC Radio 3’s choral evensong series and is introduced by Claire Wheeler, it’s not long just twenty minutes but I don’t think you’ll feel stinted. Levine has further performances of his works on his site if you liked this performance of The Divine Liturgy you’ll certainly enjoy the other videos he’s posted. You can find them here: Media – Alexander Levine. Enjoy :-).