“Blessed is the Man” from Nikolsky’s all-night vigil

Aleksandr Nikolsky’s “Chants from the All-Night Vigil” is one of those treasures that almost nobody outside of the Russian liturgical music world has heard of. If you search on YouTube you can find a full recording of the piece, and a bit of Googling digs up a scan of the original 19th-century St. Petersburg publication in Slavonic.

Most of the pieces have music so married to the Slavonic text that an English version is nigh impossible, but his setting of “Blessed is the Man” (selected verses from psalms 1 through 3) lends itself well enough to English. This is an enormous piece, probably beyond the capabilities of all but the most accomplished cathedral choirs.

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