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Divine Liturgy had earthly problems when Tchaikovsky was alive

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  • MIGREEK@aol.com
    SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/classical/290919_romana03.html Divine Liturgy had earthly problems when Tchaikovsky was alive Friday,
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2006
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      SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
      http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/classical/290919_romana03.html

      Divine Liturgy had earthly problems when Tchaikovsky was alive

      Friday, November 3, 2006

      Mark Bailey, artistic director of the Yale Russian Chorus, guest conducts
      Cappella Romana in its first season concert Saturday night at West Seattle's Holy
      Rosary Church. On the program is a work highly controversial when first
      written: Tchaikovsky's Divine Liturgy.

      "It had to do with Moscow's Imperial Chapel, which had control over publ
      ication and performance of church music," says Bailey.

      It was a question of jealous guarding of turf. Tchaikovsky was not known for
      writing Orthodox church music and the chapel "resented him deciding to do it
      and expecting them to roll over and let it happen."

      The ensuing court case allowed Tchaikovsky to perform the work in concert but
      banned it in church. Shortly after he died, the ban was lifted.

      "But Tchaikovsky took writing church music very seriously," says Bailey,
      adding that the composer had edited the complete works of a famous church
      composer, Dmitry Bortnyansky. "He certainly knew the style. Another factor (with the
      chapel) was the musical content of his Liturgy seemed to be a critique of the
      liturgies used at the time."

      While liturgies in current use were a combination of text settings, some
      ancient, some newer, some very simple, "Tchaikovsky set out to write an entire
      liturgy, harmonically coherent, making a stylistic statement with it." Once the
      ban was lifted, the Liturgy frequently was performed, and influential on
      succeeding composers.

      The rest of Cappella Romana's program centers on ancient Orthodox chants and
      how they were incorporated into sacred music by composers such as
      Rimsky-Korsakov and Chesnokov, plus 20th-century music by another pioneer composer, Sergei
      Glagolev, who writes Orthodox liturgical music for English texts.

      Cappella Romana plays Saturday at 8 p.m. at Holy Rosary Church, 4139 42nd Ave
      S.W. Tickets are $25 with student/senior discounts, at 800-922-8499 or at
      cappellaromana.org

      -- Philippa Kiraly




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