Collegium Musicum of London Chamber Choir | The Third Rome - Russian Sacred Choral Music

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The Third Rome - Russian Sacred Choral Music

by Collegium Musicum of London Chamber Choir

Conductor: Peter Owens; recorded at St Mary Abchurch, Abchurch Lane, London EC4, March 21 - 22, 2009
Genre: Classical: Choral Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. K Bogoroditsye prilyezhno (Let us fervently beseech the Mother of God) in G minor
2:50 $1.25
2. Tyebye poyem (We hymn Thee, we bless Thee) in G major, op.41
2:44 $1.25
3. Nïnye silï nyebyesnïya (Now the Powers of Heaven serve invisibly with us) in E minor, Op. 9, No. 5
4:20 $1.25
4. Milost’ mira (A mercy of peace, a sacrifice of praise) in B minor
6:09 $1.25
5. Blagoslovi, dushe moya Gospoda (Bless the Lord, O my soul) in B flat major, Op. 59
5:05 $1.25
6. Angyel vopiyashe (The angel cried out to the Lady full of Grace) in A flat major
1:34 $1.25
7. Vozvyedokh ochi moi v gorï (I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills) Choral Concerto No. 24 in A flat minor
8:37 $1.25
8. Kheruvimskaya pyesn'(The Cherubic Hymn) in C major
5:38 $1.25
9. Pomïshlyayu dyen’ strashnïy (I think upon the fearful day) in E minor
5:33 $1.25
10. Blazhen muzh (Blessed is the man) in A minor, op.11
5:06 $1.25
11. Gospodi spasi (Holy God … have mercy upon us) in B flat major
2:31 $1.25
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
When Ivan III, Grand Prince of Moscow, married Zoë Paleologos, the niece of the last Emperor of Byzantium, in 1469, he linked the Byzantine throne to that of his own empire. In the latter days of Ivan III and during the reign of his son, Vasily III, Moscow began to be known as The Third Rome. In the words of a monk from Pskov: ‘Two Romes have fallen, but the third stands, and a fourth there will not be’. In 1550 Vasily’s son, Ivan IV, called a Church Council granting a high degree of authority to the Orthodox Church, which held Russian religious art and music at a standstill, largely uncorrupted by Western influence until the reign of Peter the Great at the end of the 17th century.

The earliest form of Russian church music was Znammeny chant, an adaptation of the monophonic 9th-century Byzantine chant. In the 17th century, as Russia opened its borders to its Catholic neighbours, the Western polyphonic tradition began to influence church music, and Russian composers began to use the idiom. A subsequent generation of composers, notably Dmitri Bortnyansky, took up the Italian style, and developed it to produce multi-movement choral concerti; though in contrast to the religious music of their Western counterparts, the works of Russian composers remained unaccompanied, as Orthodox tradition forbids the use of instruments in churches. Mikhail Glinka, credited as the founder of Russian musical nationalism, wrote a few early choral pieces in the Italian style, but, in the late 1830s, he declared that Russian choral music should look to its roots in the modal, Znammeny tradition. Glinka’s most famous disciple was Mily Balakirev, who led ‘The Mighty Handful’ – a group that included Modest Mussorgsky. Their sacred choral output marked a return to the use of Znammeny chant and heralded the ‘New Trend’ in Russian church music, as espoused by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Alexander Arkhangelsky and others. The ‘New Trend’ style continued into the 20th century, even beyond the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. While religious music was not officially tolerated by the Communist regime, some respected composers (such as Pavel Chesnokov, Alexander Kastalsky, and Nikolai Golovanov) were allowed to continue writing sacred choral music, although it was not officially performed liturgically. Alexander Grechaninov fared less fortunately, and emigrated to the USA, to produce music in the ‘New Trend’ Orthodox style, as well as Latin motets and Roman Catholic liturgical music.

Further information about this recording (including translations of the texts) can be found at:



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