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[orthodox-synod] Tchaikovsky - Divine Liturgy

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  • don wiley
    Browsinging though Amazon.com the other day, I found some pretty good bargains on Russian Classical music, among which was a CD of P. I. T. s composition of
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 6, 1999
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      Browsinging though Amazon.com the other day, I found some pretty good
      bargains on "Russian Classical music," among which was a CD of P. I. T.'s
      composition of the music of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom.

      From the booklet which accompanies the CD:

      "The first public performance took place in Moscow in December 1880, but
      met with a mixed response. In marked contrast to the plaudits of the music
      critics, Bishop Ambrosius wrote in a letter to the periodical "Rus" that
      church music was out of place in a concert hall and did not lend itself to
      applause, but admitted that the music had intrinsic value: 'Fortunately,
      the liturgy has found its way into the hands of a gifted composer...After
      all, the task might have been entrusted to a musician of lesser standing.
      Perhaps we must brace ourselves for a Holy Mass by some Rosenthal or
      Rosenblum, which will then be greeted with boos and catcalls'."

      Peter Ilyich, by his own admission was not a believer.

      My question:

      Has Tchaikovsky's music ever been allowed in liturgical worship?

      Reader Athanasius
      St Nicholas - Fletcher, North Carolina


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    • Rev. John R. Shaw
      Pyotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky is not a simple personage to write about. If he was not a believer , he identified with the Orthodox Church, and obviously knew a
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 6, 1999
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        Pyotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky is not a simple personage to write about. If he
        was "not a believer", he identified with the Orthodox Church, and
        obviously knew a good deal about its traditions. What I suspect is that he
        was a person experiencing an internal struggle, and not always too sure
        where he stood--and that he could say different things, depending on the
        moment and mood. Those who have known "creative geniuses", especially
        musicians, should not find this sort of contradiction too surprising.
        Music does not normally have to be "officially allowed" for use in
        church. Tchaikovsky's compositions have been sung and recorded at the
        Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria, as well as other places,
        but they require a fairly large and well-trained choir to execute. I
        remember that his arrangement for the Creed was especially complicated
        (like the man himself!).

        On Sun, 6 Jun 1999, don wiley wrote:

        > Browsinging though Amazon.com the other day, I found some pretty good
        > bargains on "Russian Classical music," among which was a CD of P. I. T.'s
        > composition of the music of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom.
        >
        > From the booklet which accompanies the CD:
        >
        > "The first public performance took place in Moscow in December 1880, but
        > met with a mixed response. In marked contrast to the plaudits of the music
        > critics, Bishop Ambrosius wrote in a letter to the periodical "Rus" that
        > church music was out of place in a concert hall and did not lend itself to
        > applause, but admitted that the music had intrinsic value: 'Fortunately,
        > the liturgy has found its way into the hands of a gifted composer...After
        > all, the task might have been entrusted to a musician of lesser standing.
        > Perhaps we must brace ourselves for a Holy Mass by some Rosenthal or
        > Rosenblum, which will then be greeted with boos and catcalls'."
        >
        > Peter Ilyich, by his own admission was not a believer.
        >
        > My question:
        >
        > Has Tchaikovsky's music ever been allowed in liturgical worship?
        >
        > Reader Athanasius
        > St Nicholas - Fletcher, North Carolina
        >
        >
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      • don wiley
        Bless! ... Aonther snip from the booklet that came with the CD. P.I.T - writing to his patroness - Nadezhda von Meck (whom he never met) I attend Mass
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 6, 1999
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          Bless!

          At 03:27 PM 6/6/99 -0500, you wrote:
          >Pyotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky is not a simple personage to write about. If he
          >was "not a believer", he identified with the Orthodox Church, and
          >obviously knew a good deal about its traditions.

          Aonther snip from the booklet that came with the CD.

          P.I.T - writing to his patroness - Nadezhda von Meck (whom he never met)

          "I attend Mass frequently. The liturgy of St John Chrysostom is one of the
          most exalted works of art. Anyone following the liturgy of the Greek
          Orthodox service attentively, trying to comprehend the meaning of each
          ceremony, will be moved to the very depth of his being. I am also very fond
          of evening prayers. There is nothing like entering an ancient church on a
          Satruday, standing in the semi-darkness with the scent of incense wafting
          through the air, lost in deep contemplation to find an answer to those
          perennial questions: wherefore, when, whither, and why? Startled out of my
          pensive mood by the singing of the choir, I abandon myself etnirely to the
          glowing fervour of this enthralling music when the Holy Door opens
          and the tune 'Praise ye the Lord' rings out. This is one of the greatest
          pleasures of my life.

          snip

          "As you can see, I am still bound to the Church by strong ties, but on the
          other hand I have long ceased to believe in the dogma...(sic.) The
          constant inner struggle would be enough to drive me out of my mind were it
          not for music, that great comforter, the most exquisite gift Heaven has
          bestowed on a mankind living in darkness...(sic.) Music is a loyal friend,
          a source of strength and solace, something worth living for."

          ------------------------------------------

          When I was in the high school band, many long years ago, we played the
          1812 Overture. And it was a complete trancription of the whole work, with
          clarinets substituting for violins and violas, tubas for bass fiddles. It
          was probably horrible, but it was a window opening for me. Because for the
          first time, I began to relate to classical music. We had such in my home,
          but not the 1812. So, I bought a record, and read the liner notes. And I
          began to understand how music can tell a story. And the the fact that I
          heard the "Marseilles" made sense - Napoleon, eh?

          Since I have been struggling for Orthodoxy, I understand the bells.

          The cannon fire - well that was easy.

          So, Tchaikovsky claims a space in me. Then, I got sheet music of his
          arrangement of the Trisagion. I played it on the piano, and sang it. I like
          it.

          But, also finding that possibly he was not in the Church....I start to
          wonder. And it brings to mind a recurring question:

          How has the Church judged what is worthy of including in the Divine Services?

          Reader Athanasius
          St Nicholas - Fletcher, North Carolina


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