Orthodox funerals are distinctive for a number of reasons, not least of which is the liturgical opportunity they give for the faithful to all come forward and give the body a final kiss before burial. There are a non-trivial number of verses appointed to be sung during this Last Kiss, all encouraging the deceased’s loved ones to weep and lament over the tragedy of human death. The piece presented here is one of the last of those verses, narrated from the point of view of the departed.
Archpriest Mikhail Alexandrovich Vinogradov was an unabashed 19th-century Romantic, fond of using quite a bit of chromatic color and polyphonic phrasing. While this piece features liberal use of suspended and diminished chords, its polyphonic nature is restricted to a bare minimum. The emphasis is squarely on the lamentational meditations of the text. As such, it is probably one of the most suitable Vinogradov pieces for smaller parish choirs to learn.