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Alexander Gretchaninov

Composer

Alexander Gretchaninov

Born: 1864 Died: 1956

Gretchaninov started his musical studies rather late because his father, a businessman, had expected the boy to take over the family firm. Gretchaninov himself related that he did not see a piano until he was 14 and began his studies at the Moscow Conservatory in 1881 against his father's wishes and without his knowledge. His main teachers there were Sergei Taneyev and Anton Arensky. In the late 1880s, after a quarrel with Arensky, he moved to St. Petersburg where he studied composition and orchestration with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov until 1893. Rimsky-Korsakov immediately recognized Gretchaninov's extraordinary musical imagination and talent and gave him much extra time as well as considerable financial help. This allowed the young man, whose parents were not supporting him, to survive. Out of this came an important friendship, which only ended in 1908 with Rimsky's death. As such, it is not surprising that Rimsky's influence can be heard in Gretchaninov's early works, such as his String Quartet No.1, a prize-winning composition.

Around 1896, Gretchaninov returned to Moscow and was involved with writing for the theater, the opera, and the Russian Orthodox Church. His works, especially those for voice, achieved considerable success within Russia, while his instrumental works enjoyed even wider acclaim. By 1910, he was considered a composer of such distinction that the Tsar awarded him an annual pension.

Though Gretchaninov remained in Russia for several years after the Revolution, he ultimately chose to emigrate, first to France in 1925, and then to the United States in 1939. He remained in the U.S. the rest of his life and eventually became an American citizen. He died in New York at the age of 91 and is buried outside the church at Rova Farms, a Russian enclave in Jackson Township, Ocean County, New Jersey.

Gretchaninov wrote five symphonies, the first premiered by Rimsky-Korsakov; four string quartets, the first two of which won important prizes, two piano trios, sonatas for violin, cello, clarinet, piano and balalaika, several operas, song cycle Les Fleurs du Mal, op. 48 (setting lyrics by Baudelaire) and much other music.

Like Vladimir Rebikov, his position in the history of Russian music was mainly transitional, his earlier music belonging firmly in that earlier Romantic tradition while his later work is influenced by some of the streams that also affected Igor Stravinsky and Sergei Prokofiev.

Sketches for an unfinished sixth symphony from the 1940s are preserved at the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center.

Discography (See list of Compositions.)

Displaying 1-3 of 3 items.


Holst Singers : Vespers - Grechaninov

Review: 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.

Songlist: Now the Powers of Heaven, In Thy Kingdom, Lord, now Lettest Now Thy Servant, All Night Vigil

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6174c | 00 1 CD | $11.95 | A Cappella


Phoenix Bach Choir / Kansas City Chorale : Grechaninov - Passion Week

Review: The Grechaninov 'Passion Week' is a setting of thirteen pieces with texts in Church Slavonic meant to be sung individually over the period of Passion Week, the days leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. The Russian Orthodox Church has a tradition of morning and evening services during Passion Week when the passion week's events are recalled almost in 'real time.' The music itself is generally slow, meditative, largely monophonic and almost trance-like. One notices that the usual number of singers in these two choirs has been supplemented by several additional basses, no surprise considering the long legato lines required of that section. Their low C's and even B's resound like the tolling of great bells throughout the work. One could almost surmise, if one didn't know, that this was the singing of a Russian choir, so noted for their deep basses, except that the blending and rounding of the choral tone is so very much more subtle than is generally heard from Russian choruses. The work is entirely a cappella and there are occasional soprano, tenor and baritone solos which consist mostly of chants sung against the main body of massed sound.

Songlist: Behold, the Bridegroom, I see Thy bridal chamber, In Thy Kingdom, Gladsome Light, Let my prayer be set forth, Now the powers of heaven, At Thy mystical supper, The wise thief, Thou who clothest Thyself, The Lord is God... The noble Joseph, Weep not for me, O Mother, As many of you... Arise, O God, Let all mortal flesh

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8687c | 00 SACD | $24.95 | A Cappella


Slavyanka : Russian Church Music

Review: This acclaimed men's chorus are excellent on this collection of some of the great a cappella pieces from the Russian Church.

Songlist: Otche nash (Our Father) , Blazhen muzh (Blessed is the Man, Sye nynye blagoslovitye Gospoda (Behold, Bless the Lord) , Spasi, Gospoddi, lyudi Tvoya (O Lord, Save Thy People), Plotiyu usnuv (Having Fallen Asleep) , Na ryekakh vavilonskikh (By the Rivers of Babylon) , Voskliknitye Gospodyevi (Make a Joyful Noise) , Glasom moim (With my Voice) , Milost' mira (For the Mercy of Peace) , Spasyeniyi sodyelal (Salvation is Created) , Svyetye tikhii (O Gladsome Light) , Dostoin yest' (Is Is Fitting) , Pryeidye syen' (The Shadow of the Las Passed Away), Nynye otpushchayeshi (Lord, Now Lettest Thou They Servant Depart) , Milost' mira (For the Mercy of Peace) , Otche nash (Our Father) , Slava v vyshnikh (Glory to God in the HIghest)

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6877c | 00 1 CD | $15.98 Russian a cappella

Compositions ( See Discography.)

Displaying 1-50 of 52 items.

Song NameArrangerComposerArtistRecording TitleFormat
A Song of JoyMcKinneyAlexander GretchaninovSt. Olaf Viking ChorusRise Up O Men of God 1 CDMORE DETAILS
All Night VigilAlexander GretchaninovHolst SingersVespers - Grechaninov 1 CDMORE DETAILS
As many of you... Arise, O GodAlexander GretchaninovPhoenix Bach Choir / Kansas City ChoraleGrechaninov - Passion WeekSACDMORE DETAILS
At Thy mystical supperAlexander GretchaninovPhoenix Bach Choir / Kansas City ChoraleGrechaninov - Passion WeekSACDMORE DETAILS
Behold, the BridegroomAlexander GretchaninovPhoenix Bach Choir / Kansas City ChoraleGrechaninov - Passion WeekSACDMORE DETAILS
Cherubim Hymn Alexander GretchaninovSt. Olaf ChoirChoral Masterworks Series Vol 2 (2CD) 1 CDMORE DETAILS
CredoAlexander GretchaninovLuther College Nordic ChoirEverlasting Light 1 CDMORE DETAILS
CredoAlexander GretchaninovVariousHoly Russia - The Festival of ChristmasDVDMORE DETAILS
CredoAlexander GretchaninovLuther College Nordic ChoirWeston Noble Conducts 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Gladsome LightAlexander GretchaninovPhoenix Bach Choir / Kansas City ChoraleGrechaninov - Passion WeekSACDMORE DETAILS
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of SabaothAlexander GretchaninovSt. Olaf ChoirGo Tell It On The Mountain 1 CDMORE DETAILS
I Have Chosen the Blissful Alexander GretchaninovVarious ArtistsSacred Treasures - Choral Masterworks From Russia 1 CDMORE DETAILS
I see Thy bridal chamberAlexander GretchaninovPhoenix Bach Choir / Kansas City ChoraleGrechaninov - Passion WeekSACDMORE DETAILS
In Thy KingdomAlexander GretchaninovPhoenix Bach Choir / Kansas City ChoraleGrechaninov - Passion WeekSACDMORE DETAILS
In Thy KingdomAlexander GretchaninovHolst SingersVespers - Grechaninov 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Let all mortal fleshAlexander GretchaninovPhoenix Bach Choir / Kansas City ChoraleGrechaninov - Passion WeekSACDMORE DETAILS
Let my prayer be set forthAlexander GretchaninovPhoenix Bach Choir / Kansas City ChoraleGrechaninov - Passion WeekSACDMORE DETAILS
Lord, now Lettest Now Thy ServantAlexander GretchaninovHolst SingersVespers - Grechaninov 1 CDMORE DETAILS
My Prayer Alexander GretchaninovSt. Petersburg Chamber ChoirRussian Easter 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Nine otpushchayeshiAlexander GretchaninovNotre Dame Glee ClubVive La Compagnie 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Now the powers of heavenAlexander GretchaninovPhoenix Bach Choir / Kansas City ChoraleGrechaninov - Passion WeekSACDMORE DETAILS
Now the Powers of HeavenAlexander GretchaninovHolst SingersVespers - Grechaninov 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Nunc DimittisAlexander GretchaninovSt. Olaf ChoirMy Spirit Sings of Wondrous Things 2 CDsMORE DETAILS
Nunc DimittisAlexander GretchaninovNational Lutheran ChoirWe Sing With Joy 2 CDsMORE DETAILS
O Gladsome LightAlexander GretchaninovSt. Olaf ChoirOut Of Darkness, Let Light Shine 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Of thy mystical supperAlexander GretchaninovHolst SingersIkon II 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Of Thy Mystical Supper Alexander GretchaninovSt. Petersburg Chamber ChoirRussian Easter 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Of Thy Mystical Supper, Op. 58, No. 7Alexander GretchaninovDale Warland SingersLux Aurumque 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Only Only Begotten SonAlexander GretchaninovSt. Olaf ChoirChild Of Light Be Born In Us 2 CDsMORE DETAILS
Our FatherAlexander GretchaninovWorld VoicesA Global Palette 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Our FatherAlexander GretchaninovBemidji Choir and Chamber SingersAwakening 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Our FatherAlexander GretchaninovSt. Olaf ChoirChild Of Light Be Born In Us 2 CDsMORE DETAILS
Our FatherAlexander GretchaninovSt. Olaf ChoirChristmas in Norway 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Our FatherAlexander GretchaninovConcordia ChoirEvocations 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Our FatherAlexander GretchaninovWorld VoicesHope For Our Time 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Our FatherAlexander GretchaninovLuther College Nordic ChoirI Will Sing To The Lord 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Our FatherAlexander GretchaninovCantusIntroit 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Our Father Alexander GretchaninovCantusLive Vol. 2 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Our FatherAlexander GretchaninovWorld VoicesMosaic 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Our FatherAlexander GretchaninovConcordia ChoirSavior of the Nations 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Our FatherAlexander GretchaninovConcordia ChoirStar Of Wonder 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Our FatherAlexander GretchaninovConcordia ChoirThe Lord Is My Shepherd 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Praise the LordAlexander GretchaninovSt. Olaf ChoirChoral Masterworks Series Vol 2 (2CD) 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Praise the Lord, O My SoulAlexander GretchaninovLuther College Nordic ChoirWest Coast Tour 2001 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Slumber SongAlexander GretchaninovJoan Frey BoytimThe First Book Of Mezzo-Soprano / Alto Solos Part IIISongbook & CDMORE DETAILS
The Cherubic Hymn Alexander GretchaninovSt. Olaf Viking ChorusIn Concert 1 CDMORE DETAILS
The Cherubic HymnAlexander GretchaninovRalph AllwoodRussian Choral MasterpiecesSongbookMORE DETAILS
The Lord is God... The noble JosephAlexander GretchaninovPhoenix Bach Choir / Kansas City ChoraleGrechaninov - Passion WeekSACDMORE DETAILS
The wise thiefAlexander GretchaninovPhoenix Bach Choir / Kansas City ChoraleGrechaninov - Passion WeekSACDMORE DETAILS
Thou who clothest ThyselfAlexander GretchaninovPhoenix Bach Choir / Kansas City ChoraleGrechaninov - Passion WeekSACDMORE DETAILS
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