Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Blagovest Ensemble at West Tanfield

I've just heard about a concert of Russian Choral Music at St Nicholas' Church, West Tanfield on Monday evening (5th September). What an amazing opportunity to hear an internationally known choir from St Petersburg performing both sacred and folk music from Russia. A treat indeed! The concert begins at 7pm and there is no admission charge, so just come! There will be a retiring collection. (And there's a very good pub nearby where you can enjoy pre-concert food or just a drink afterwards!)

The conductor is Olga Kozlova. The organisers of the concert write,

'Amazing Music

Once more we have a chance to hear the sublime voices of a talented Russian choir, the St Petersburg Blagovest Ensemble, whose performances enchant their audiences.  The intense emotion and spirituality of the sacred pieces they sing contrasts with the zest for life and the humour of the Russian folk songs, and they may include an occasional English pop song sung in their own distinctive style. They have won fans across the UK and are coming back to West Tanfield this September.  If you have never heard such music you have missed a memorable experience. If you think it not your taste, prepare to be won over, like many others. 

Based at the St Petersburg Conservatoire – the centre of traditional Russian choral music - the Blagovest Ensemble is noted for its musicians’ high professionalism and their unashamed passion for the music they love to share.  Their concert repertoire includes pearls of Russian choral a cappella music, both spiritual and secular.
Russian choral music, with its distinctive melodic patterns, holds a unique place in the musical culture of the world - due in no small measure to the Russian Orthodox Church, which allows only the sound of the human voice to praise God in worship and whose choral tradition goes back a thousand years.  Even a small ensemble allows an audience to feel the dramatic and melodic wealth which characterises this music. It fascinates with its beauty and strength and leaves nobody indifferent. 

Censored in Soviet Russia for almost 70 years, it is only in recent years that the masterpieces of Russian choral spiritual music have sounded again, thanks to the work of professional musicians like Blagovest, who are devoted to this wonderful genre. Today this music is experiencing a second birth, allowing us all to re-open forgotten pages of world culture.' 

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