The Male Choir of St.Petersburg
General Information

Vadim AFANASIEV, Artistic Director
Aleksandr RADEV, Director

* Company of 25

The Voice of People's Soul

Big Concert Program in 2 Acts

 

 

2009–2010 Season

Choral singing is the oldest form of musical expression; it has existed in Russia from the earliest times, and with the appearance of Christianity it held a special place in the cultural and spiritual life of the people. Orthodox Christianity introduced its own laws, according to which only the human voice — a gift from God and nature — may be used during the church service. Each new cathedral needed its own choristers, and the Cathedral of the Assumption (the first stone cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin) was no exception. The dimensions and scale of this magnificent building demanded a more powerful choral sound than previously, and in 1479, by decree of Ivan III, the Choir of the Sovereign's Church Choristers was founded, which thereafter became one of the centuries of professional musical education in Russia. Only the every where, and accompanied him in prayers, festivals and celebrations.

In the 18th century the choristers moved to a new place — the city of St. Petersburg — taking their own service with them and on the day of the founding of the city they sang praises to the Lord and to their young Tsar.

By the end of the 19th century the choir numbered 90:40 adults and 50 boys (women's voices were not admitted). It existed as a single entity, and each of the singers devoted all his time to his work. All the choristers possessed superb voices, and private study using the best Italian methods helped them to perfect their skill. Of the 22 basses seven were bassi profundi, who could easily reach down to bottom G. These unique voices have been produced on Russian. At the beginning of the 20th century women's voices were allowed into the choir: the descant part became the soprano part. The presence of women broke with the old tradition but provided the stimulus for the development of an entirely new style: the mixed-voice sound of choral singing. So there now exist numerous superb groups of worldwide fame, and many others who are successfully developing the traditions of Russian choral singing.

But it was The Male Choir of St. Petersburg, founded in 1993, which bravely took on the task of reviving these traditions in the fullest sense of the word, by endeavoring not to deviate at all from the canons established by Ivan III. The appearance of this choir was preceded by extended and intensive work on the creation of a Foundation, which would continue and preserve the traditions of Russian choral singing: this was accordingly entitled “Foundation for the preservation of the traditions of male-voice choral singing — Singers of Russia”. For the forming of this Foundation we are greatly indebted to the energy and enthusiasm of two remarkable people: the musician and conductor Vadim Afanasiev and the director of the Foundation Alexander Radev, who shouldered the numerous difficulties which inevitably arise when something entirely new and unprecedented is created, and surmounted them all. The revival and preservation of ancient Russian traditions in modern times was the created within the framework of the Foundation, was a living example of the realization of this task; it directly continued the traditions of the Choir of the Sovereign's Church Choristers. The artistic director and chief conductor of the choir is Vadim Afanasiev — an experienced musician who has worked for over 30 years with various choral and symphonic groups in Russia.

Notwithstanding its youth, the choir immediately became one of the leading groups in St. Petersburg. In keeping with its traditions it admitted only the very best voices, which had undergone a strict competitive selection process. All the singers have had a professional musical education, and many have graduated from the vocal faculty of the Conservatory, taking solo parts in the city's opera houses. The choir is unique in its composition: each of the 25 singers has a magnificent and exceptional voice. Of the 11 basses four are bassi profundi. Their performances of solo "concertos' always arouse admiration and delight from the audience. The main bass section is distinguished by a rich vocal timbre and a powerful sound. The baritone section -the third and last bass group — consists almost entirely of soloists. The tenors too can take pride in their remarkable soloists.

During the six years of its existence The Male Choir has appeared in Jerusalem — where it received the blessing of the head of the Russian Orthodox has also performed on the most famous concert platforms of St. Petersburg: the Large Philharmonic Hall, the Kazan Cathedral, the Small Philharmonic Hall, the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, and others. The peak of the Choir's artistic performances in this period was their participation in the burial of the remains of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II with his family and retinue on July 16–17.1998 in the royal burial-vault of the Peter and Paul fortress. Here once more, just as several centuries ago, the choir was close to its sovereign, and accompanied him on his final journey.

Recordings

Liturgical Hymns “NCS - Petersburg Recording Studio,
manufactured by UEP, Ekaterinburg, Russia, 1997”
Internationale Weihnachten “GEMA, MULTIMEDIA GmbH & Co KG,
Gutersloh, 1996/97”
The Male Choir of St.Petersburg “EMI-classics, London, 1999”

The Overseas Tours

Israel 1993
South Korea 1994
Macedonia 1997, 1998
Serbia 1997, 1998
Germany 1997
Spain 1997
Croatia 1997
Slovenia 1997
Cyprus 2003
Estonia 2003
Lithuania 2004
Latvia 2005, 2008
Belgium 2005
South Korea 2005, 2007
France 2006
Nederland 2008
Greece 2008
 
 
 
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