Slavonic

Kastalsky’s “Bless the Lord, O My Soul” for male chorus

Many composers have made arrangements of various chant melodies for “Bless the Lord, O My Soul”, which is made up of selected verses of the introductory psalm from Vespers. The most common chant melody in the Russian tradition is the “Greek Chant” melody. Aleksandr Kastalsky made several different arrangements of this melody. The version presented here (in the original Slavonic) is for male chorus; it was recorded in 2008 by the St. John of San Francisco Men’s Chorale.

Rimsky-Korsakov Cherubic Hymn № 6 (in Slavonic)

In addition to his symphonic, operatic and piano work, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov also composed and arranged a fair bit of church music. His primary contribution to this genre is his collection of hymns appointed to be sung during clergy communion for all the days of the year. Most of these were based directly on chant motifs from the synodal chant-books. He also free-composed several cherubic hymns, one of which is presented here in its original language.

Stravinsky’s “Our Father”

Though Igor Stravinsky was baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church as an infant, he abandoned religion as a teen, but rediscovered it in his forties in Paris, and remained a committed Orthodox Christian until his death in 1971. After the rediscovery of his childhood faith, he began composing spiritually-themed music to both Latin and Slavonic texts.