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Bucks County Choral Society: Bringing A Rachmaninoff Masterpiece To Life

In celebration of the Bucks County Choral Society's 40th anniversary, distinguished Artistic Director Thomas Lloyd will lead the ensemble in Rachmaninoff's stunning All-Night Vigil - a symphony for a cappella voices, considered a crowning achievement of Russian Orthodox choral literature - on October 28th. Contrary to what the title might lead one to believe, this choral masterpiece is only about an hour in length.

Mr. Lloyd will take a unique approach to the All-Night Vigil, beginning the program by providing some history and context, as well as instruction and tips on what to listen for in the piece. The choir will be utilized to illustrate and illuminate particular passages or sections of the music. Following a short break, the All-Night Vigil will then be presented in its entirety.

The All-Night Vigil consists of settings of texts taken from the Russian Orthodox All-night vigil ceremony. The complete work was composed by Rachmaninoff in less than two weeks in January and February, 1915. It was received warmly by critics and audiences alike, and was so successful that it was performed five more times within a month. However, the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent rise of the Soviet Union led to an almost total ban on the performance of all religious music throughout the country. It has been written that "no composition represents the end of an era so clearly as does this liturgical work."

The Bucks County Choral Society performs Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Doylestown on Sunday, October 28th at 4 pm. Ticket information here.