Gloriæ Dei Cantores releases All-Night Vigil, Op. 37 by Sergei Rachmaninoff, conducted by Peter Jermihov (internationally recognized specialist in Russian and Orthodox liturgical music) and produced by Richard K. Pugsley, director of Gloriæ Dei Cantores. Expressing their ongoing vision of unity through music, Gloriæ Dei Cantores is joined by members of the St. Romanos Cappella, The Patriarch Tikhon Choir, and The Washington Master Chorale. Soloists Dmitry Ivanchenko and Mariya Berezovska, of the National Opera of Ukraine in Kiev join the seventy-seven singers for this landmark collaboration. Vadim Gan, protodeacon under the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church sings the clergy exclamations with Dmitry Ivanchenko. All-Night Vigil was recorded by legendary sound engineer, Keith O. Johnson from Reference Recordings.
"Rachmaninoff submitted the newly-composed score of the All-Night Vigil, Op. 37 for evaluation and correction to his former composition teacher, Sergei Taneev (1856-1915). The esteemed master, known for his critiques and detailed insights, complimented the younger composer and returned the score without a single correction. . . He may have recognized the coming into the world of an extraordinary composition."
— From the Program Notes by Peter Jermihov
Beginning in 2014, Richard K. Pugsley, the Gloriæ Dei Cantores choir and conductor Peter Jermihov began studying and preparing extensively to record this masterpiece. Gloriæ Dei Cantores' is known for their extensive commitment to the vision of the composer and the expression of the text through the music. The search for authenticity, direct empathy with each word and phrase, and the premise of a religious approach were aspirations that prompted and sustained the vision for this project. Rachmaninoff, although not an avid church goer, was, unquestionably, a pious Orthodox Christian. The spiritual and cultural roots of sacred music were ingrained into his consciousness. This recording, and accompanying fifty-two page booklet, explores Rachmaninoff's vision and intention in a work that has become known as the crowning achievement of the Golden age of Russian Orthodox sacred choral music.
“ ... for this new recording has the essential sound of the Russian choirs, with their bass-centered sonority, and tempos which allow the music to unfold in the measured pace of a devotional service. Better yet, the text-based spiritual approach to the music ... stirs...as deeply as the ... Russian recordings. While referring to the texts, you will have the pleasure of seeing the gorgeously illustrated booklet, with a background on each hymn and photographs of Russian churches, countryside and icons. The result is one of the very finest recordings this work has ever received.”
- “... a landmark recording, one that is destined to become the new standard for this work. And if you don't know the Rachmaninoff "All-Night Vigil " yet, THIS is the recording you should get to begin your acquaintance. You will have to wait a long time before something better comes along!”
- "Gloriae Dei Cantores allies – the lushly illustrated booklet tells us – ‘compelling spirituality’ with a devotion to ‘authentic performance.’ With extra voices from Saint Romanos Cappella, Patriarch Tikhon Choir and the Washington Master Chorale...the sopranos’ and altos’ adult voices...easily balance the superb male complement, including seven basso profundos. The performance’s Slavic flavor is enhanced by Vadim Gan’s impressive bass, singing the Deacon’s part (including optional incantations prefacing Nos 4 and 11), joined by two National Opera of Ukraine soloists, mezzo Mariya Berezovska and tenor Dmitry Ivanchenko (who also sings an introductory incantation for No. 12). The generous resonance of Orleans’ Church of the Transfiguration enriches the choir’s tone...this is an engaging and uplifting performance. ”
- “Since Gloriae Dei Cantores are one of North America's finest...choirs with at least 50 CD's to their credit, it was just a matter of time before they committed Rachmaninov's sublime All-Night Vigil to disc....transparent textures...vividly characterised contrasts...sustained delicacy...generates tension, excitement and forward momentum. The ardent lyricism and vision offers much to savour...comes with a beautifully illustrated booklet and full texts, translations and notes.”
- “This choral work beguiles the listener with choral beauty!...Do yourself a favor. Seek this recording and buy it! You will, just like me, be flabbergasted. The music is beautiful as only a genius like Sergei Rachmaninoff could realize.
The performance is flawless and the sound quality is spectacular. Highly recommended.”
- "This is a heavenly performance...conveyed through musicians for whom these texts are a central reality of their life of faith. It will satisfy the listener through its pure beauty and transport the believer into a higher spiritual realm. No matter how many other renditions of this powerful work may be in one's library, this one is a must.”
The American Organist
- “I heartily congratulate you with this remarkable recording and consider it one of the very, very few which genuinely, in a truly Russian-manner, reveals the aesthetic and moral value of Rachmaninoff's All Night Vigil. I heartily congratulate you!”
Vladimir Minin, Artistic Director & Main Conductor of the Moscow State Academic Chamber Choir
- “This new version of the much-recorded work combines a superb conductor of Russian liturgical music with a choir that has toured Russia several times since its early days. The surround-sound ... makes a stunning effect. The conductor's note is the most detailed annotation that this work has ever been given for a recording. ... this splendid performance in outstanding surround sound can be recommended to anyone who wants to acquire the work today. ... a triumph.”
- "Such a superlative performance requires an equally brilliant recording... Listening to the 5.1 tracks ... I was thrilled about their clarity, transparency and wide dynamics ... The sheer beauty ... is breathtaking, you feel surrounded by the glory of the chorus.”
- “As I listened, I was again and again reminded of Sveshnikov's benchmark recording . The musical virtuosity never overshadows the worship conveyed in the text, but rather augments it. The quality of the recording itself is luxuriant ... a bass section that is virtually unmatched ... I should add that the fifty-two page booklet that comes with the recording is delightful. To me Jermihov's recording now stands alongside Sveshnikov's as its equal.”
- “The combined choirs attain a sound that is rare outside of Russia, a rich bass-centered sonority. The choir's blend and pitch are outstanding. ... an authentic Russian sound ... it would be hard to beat the current recording. Recommended!”
- Recording of the Month ... “The sound produced by Jermihov's choir is marvelous. Peter Jermihov and his distinguished combined choir offer a very fine performance indeed and the excellent sound ... suits the performance very well indeed. This new disc is a splendid achievement and I've found listening to it an uplifting and rewarding experience.”
Music Web International
- “For those who have never heard Rachmaninoff's "All-Night Vigil in an exemplary performance, this is a superlative recording of the some of the most superlative music in the entire history of the art. It is beyond glorious.”
The Buffalo News
- “We are invited to lift our spirits through a deeply inspired performance of Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil. This performance rings with devotional majesty ... The stunning surround sound comes to us through the combined efforts of Keith O. Johnson and Sean Royce Martin.”
- “Unearthly serenity and intensely devotional ... deep exaltation that is unequaled in my experience. ”
- “This is a very impressive account indeed...The command by the choir builds a consistency which ranges from the mighty to the delicate...ethereal...at times almost rapture. There is much about this recording...to recommend that you add it to your collection. Immediately.”
- “Beautifully sung...The dynamism and strength come through particularly strong, and the 77-member choir has a rich, round and very warm tonal center around which the soloists build impressively.”
- "This recent recording...is excellent in every way...Superb job capturing the sound of a large chorus performing in a resonant acoustic...This is among the finer recordings of this music, and includes a deluxe boxed presentation.”
- “This recording attains excellence in...musicianship, the capture of the essence of the Russian Orthodox Christian soul, the expression of the composer, and the excellent interpretation of the conductor. All of these combined in an outstanding way to create a recording that is both new and timeless.”
- “Beautifully sung by the choir - utterly angelic and enthralling...mesmerizing beauty.”
- “The present recording takes its place near the top of the list. The chorus here sings with impeccable intonation, a richly blended sound that never turns muddy ... The recorded sound captures the space of the church realistically ... retaining clarity of lines and voicing ... found the listening experience thrilling... Very highly recommended.”