St Petersburg Blagovest Ensemble & Harvest Flowers
Wednesday 28th September 2011. We were delighted to welcome back after three years the St Petersburg Blagovest Ensemble.
The church looked amazing as it benefitted from the flowers which had been arranged for the Harvest Festival weekend, the weekend before. Over 200 people attended and everyone had the most enjoyable evening. Some of our young people who went to World Youth Day in Madrid last month ran the front of house, ushered, and served refreshments. Half of the proceeds of the concert were donated to the World Youth Day Brazil 2013 fund.
So, once more we had the chance to hear the sublime voices of this talented Russian choir, whose performance enchanted everyone in the building. The concert repertoire included pearls of Russian choral a cappella music, both spiritual and secular. The intense emotion and spirituality of the sacred pieces they sang contrasted with the zest for life and the humour of the Russian folk songs. The programme finished with Kalinka and to a standing ovation.
Based at the St Petersburg Conservatoire – the centre of traditional Russian choral music – the Blagovest Ensemble is noted for its musicians’ high professionalism and their unashamed passion for the music they love to share.
Russian choral music, with its distinctive melodic patterns, holds a unique place in the musical culture of the world – due in no small measure to the Russian Orthodox Church, which allows only the sound of the human voice to praise God in worship and whose choral tradition goes back a thousand years. Even a small ensemble allows an audience to feel the dramatic and melodic wealth which characterises this music. It fascinates with its beauty and strength and leaves nobody indifferent.
Censored in Soviet Russia for almost 70 years, it is only in recent years that the masterpieces of Russian choral spiritual music have sounded again, thanks to the work of professional musicians like Blagovest, who are devoted to this wonderful genre. Today this music is experiencing a second birth, allowing us all to re-open forgotten pages of world culture.
A copy of the programme along with the members of the choir can be found here