Grechaninov was initially taught by Anton Arensky in Moscow, and then later, in 1890, he went to St Petersburg to study with Rimsky-Korsakov. It was he who influenced his style and helped him launch his professional career. After the Revolution, Grechaninov became increasingly uneasy in Soviet Russia, and in 1925 left for ever. In 1946 he took American citizenship.
An unusually versatile and prolific composer, he wrote operas, symphonies, chamber music, over 250 songs, and a great deal of music for children. He has been described as the most representative composer of his generation writing for the Orthodox service.
Vespers is part of the All-Night Vigil service, and Grechaninov’s setting was composed, premiered, and published in 1912. This precedes Rachmaninov’s setting by three years. It appears to have lain dormant for some eighty years until it was revived in America for its first performance of modern times in 1995.
‘Numerous delights. The performance by the Holst Singers is stunningly good. This serene, delectable music is irresistible and so is its performance’ (Choir & Organ)
‘This recording brings a sense of deep spiritual peace and will especially appeal to those who already know the beauties of the Russian liturgical tradition’ (Contemporary Review)
‘Great blocks of beautifully contructed sound are stunning in their apparent simplicity’ (The Scotsman)
‘Two highly attractive and unstuffy Russian liturgical works in attractive performances’ (Classic CD)
‘Really something of a triumph’ (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)