CCM Presents Rachmaninoff’s ‘All-Night Vigil’ at Covington’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption

CCM's Chamber Choir.

CCM’s Chamber Choir.

Under the music direction of Earl Rivers, the CCM Chamber Choir performs Sergei Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil (Vespers), Op. 37, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Kentucky.

The All-Night Vigil (Vespers) is a series of 15 liturgical/concert settings from the Russian Orthodox tradition in 60 minutes, which achieves great heights of expressive power and intensity through “choral orchestration” by continually varying the textures and sonorities. Subscribers have access to a preferred section of best seats at this can’t-miss, free concert. Ask your usher for more information at the event.

All Night Vigil (Vespers) premiered in 1915 in Moscow, just two years before the revolution that brought the Soviet Union into existence and quashed the performance of sacred music in Russia. Some musicologists view this work as the musical grand finale of religiously-minded imperial Russia, as it enjoyed great success just before the Russian revolution. Interestingly, the All-Night Vigil is one of two liturgical works that Rachmaninoff wrote after his devotion to religion flagged.

It is sung in Church Slavonic, which is used by the Christian Orthodox Church. The bass part stretches to a low B-flat; guest basso profundos Cameron Beauchamp and Craig Peterson will join the choir on these incredibly low parts.

Earl Rivers has conducted CCM’s forces in acclaimed regional premieres of John Adams’ On the Transmigration of Souls and El Niño, J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor with Bastian Clevé’s film The Sound of Eternity, Tan Dun’s Water Passion after St. Matthew, Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 5 ­­– Requiem, Bardo and Nirmanakaya and Krzysztof Penderecki’s Credo. He has also produced and conducted American university premieres of staged productions of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion, as well as Arthur Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake. He has championed early music at CCM with successful productions of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 and Music of Love and War that introduced students to guest artists and coaches. He produced the Shakespeare quadricentennial celebration, which featured CCM Chamber Choir premieres of three settings of Shakespeare texts by composers Judith Bingham, Dominick DiOrio and Jake Runestad. Rivers has received Choral America’s Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art, which honors individuals with a lifetime of significant contributions to the professional choral art, and Chorus America’s Director Laureate Award, an honorary title that recognizes an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and has had significant impact on the choral field. In June 2017 Rivers will conduct South Korea’s Suwon Civic Chorale and Orchestra in the South Korean premiere of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610. He will also give conducting master classes and lessons while in Seoul.

The CCM Chamber Choir has been acclaimed for its staged productions of Bach’s St. John Passion at Christ Church Cathedral and St. Matthew Passion at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, which were produced in conjunction with CCM’s Opera Department. The choir hosted renowned early music artists with its Monteverdi Project, which was produced for public television by WCET Arts Connect, and also advocates for new music by performing contemporary works, including David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion, Tan Dun’s Water Passion after St. Matthew and Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for Choir. The CCM Chamber Choir has performed at the conventions of the American Musicological Society, American Choral Directors Association and the National Collegiate Choral Organization, as well as Chorus America’s Conducting Masterclass. The choir will perform a staged production of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 9, 2017 at Christ Church Cathedral, 318 East 4th Street.

The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption was built in 1895 and was designed to replicate the Basilica of St. Denis in northern Paris, albeit at a smaller scale. It purportedly houses the world’s largest handmade stained glass window found in a church, as well as three pipe organs, an altar carved from Italian marble, several murals and marble floors. Pope Pius XII elevated the cathedral to the rank of minor basilica in 1953. The UC College-Conservatory of Music has held concerts in the basilica regularly since the early 1970’s.

Performance Time
3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6

Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption
1101 Madison Ave., Covington, KY 41011

Free and open to the general public, no reservations required. Subscribers have access to a preferred section of best seats at this can’t-miss concert. Ask your usher for more information at the event.

Parking and Directions
The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption is located at the corner of 12th and Madison Avenue in Covington, Kentucky. There are public parking lots to the north and east of the church.

From I-71/75, take the 12th St./Pike St. exit from either direction. Turn east on to 12th Street to Madison Avenue. Turn left on to Madison Avenue. Turn right on 11th Street and enter the lot or go to Scott Boulevard and turn right to access the rear lot.

From Scott Street, travel south to 11th Street. Turn right on 11th, then left into the public parking lot or go past 11th Street and enter the east lot between 11th & 12th facing the Apse.

For additional information, please refer to
Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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Cincinnati's Christ Church Cathedral.

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