Monday, December 17, 2007

Beyond Stockhausen's 'Stimmung' -- Hilarion Alfeyev's Slavonic Orthodox 'Christmas Oratorio' At Washington's National Catholic Shrine This Evening

"On December 17, a week before [Western] Christmas, a leading Russian orchestra will travel to America to perform an exceptional "world premiere" concert of Russian Christmas music at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington [7:30 PM].

The music will be a completely new composition by a young Russian Orthodox Bishop, Hilarion Alfeyev, 42, the Russian Orthodox bishop for all of central Europe, based in Vienna, Austria. The music will tell the Christmas story in the deep, rich tradition of Russian ecclesial music, using the Russian language with English translations available.

"I see this unique Christmas concert, involving superb musicians and singers, as a real opportunity for Americans and Russians to share a moment of Christmas cheer, despite some of the concerns and tensions that have marked the recent relations of our two countries," Robert Moynihan, editor of Inside the Vatican magazine, one of the sponsors of this concert, said. "And, as the concert will take place in the most important shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the United States, I hope it may have an even deeper spiritual significance, in the context of the message of Fatima, for the relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church." [See also Fatimah (Arabic: فاطمة c. 605–632) for the youngest daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.]

The orchestra will be Russia's National Defense Ministry Orchestra, one of the country's leading orchestras, along with the choir of Moscow's famous Tretyakov Gallery....

The concert will be accompanied by an exhibit in the basement of the Basilica which will display the religious renewal of Russia after the suffering of Christians in that country during the Soviet era [through Wednesday, December 19, 2007 -- having previously been exhibited in Moscow, Russian Federation for a period of six months].

The concert is expected to be televised live around the world by the Catholic television network, EWTN."

Source: Inside the Vatican magazine


"Four Poems by Federico Garcia Lorca" for voice and piano (1984)

"The Divine Liturgy" for mixed choir (2006)

"Vigil" for soloists and mixed choir (2006)

"St Matthew Passion" for soloists, choir and orchestra (2006)

"Christmas Oratorio" for soloists, boys' choir, mixed choir and great symphony orchestra (2007)


Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: Orthodox Worship as a School of Theology -- Lecture delivered at the Kiev/Kyiv, Ukraine Theological Academy on September 20, 2002

European composer, theologian, and Russian Orthodox Bishop, Hilarion Alfeyev. Father Hilarion holds a doctoral degree in philosophy from Oxford University, and a doctorate in theology from St Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris. In May 2003, he was appointed Bishop of Vienna and Austria, as well as temporary administrator of the Diocese of Budapest and Hungary.

Photo credit: (c) All rights reserved. With thanks.


Sofia Gubaidulina's earlier 21st century musical masterpiece: Saint John Passion and Saint John Easter.


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