My last posting on the superb Poznań Boys’ Choir (Poznański Chór Chłopięcy) dealt with their performance of Sykulski's "Peace Meditation" (if you haven't heard it take a few minutes to listen to it here : Poznański Chór Chłopięcy: Peace Meditation | Saturday Chorale I promise you you'll be glad you did). For this posting I've picked their performance of the third movement of Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil Op. 37, "Blazhen Muzh" ('Blessed is the man') given at their concert held in l'église Saint-Louis de Vincennes, on December 3rd 2011.
Rachmaninov always seems to me to be one of the most unlikely candidates to set to music one of the Russian Orthodox Church’s most sacred rites. The contrast with his Second Symphony, his Second and Third Piano Concertos, to say nothing of his Paganini Rhapsody, could hardly be greater. Instead of being highly gregarious the the All-Night Vigil gazes inward and back. Rachmaninov drew upon the techniques he employed in the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, op.31 and on centuries of Russian chant. It's a brilliant achievement sung here by what to my mind is one of the best choirs in Europe. I've included the text, a transliteration, and a translation below the fold. Enjoy :-).
Source: Rachmaninov- Choeur de garçons de Poznań (Pologne) - "Blazhen Muzh" – YouTube Uploaded by parisBbg on Dec 9, 2011