In common with his fellow country-men Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, Sergei Rachmaninov was able to draw upon the music of the Russian Orthodox church, as well as the diverse range of folk music encompassed by the vast lands of Russia.
Rachmaninov doesn't appear to have been religious in the conventional sense.
He didn't attend church regularly, but in 1910 he made a major venture into religious music when he wrote The Liturgy of St John Chrysostom.
Some five years later, he was moved to compose a setting of the All Night Vigil, a combined service in the Russian Orthodox church in which the evening office of Vespers flows on into Matins as one long service for Saturday night into Sunday morning.
It may be that the reason why Rachmaninov felt inspired to write this music lies in his earliest musical impressions visiting the beautiful St Petersburg churches with his grandmother, and listening to the beautiful singing.
With Donald Macleod.
Praise God in the Heavens, The Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op 31
Sofia Orthodox Choir
Miroslav Popsavov (conductor)
Excerpt from All Night Vigil
St Petersburg Chamber Choir
Nikolai Korniev (conductor)
Easter, from Suite No 1 for two pianos, Op 5
André Previn and Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano)
The Bells, Op 35
Alexandrina Pendachanska (soprano)
Kaludi Kaludov (tenor)
Sergei Leiferkus (baritone)
Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia
Charles Dutoit (conductor).