Lyrica Classic, in collaboration with Foundation for Assistance to the Revival of the Synodal Choir, presents:
An evening of contemporary sacred choral music "TO YOU, THE FALLEN"
featuring two composers, Eli Tamar and Michail Kotelnikov, and their substantial choral works “Requiem” and “Chants of the Divine Liturgy” composed in memory of the coronavirus victims.
As a part of the festival of contemporary sacred music
A Mass for mixed choir
Performed by Moscow Synodal Choir and conductor Michail Kotelnikov.
A Mass for mixed choir and mezzo-soprano solo
Performed by Moscow Synodal Choir, conductor Michail Kotelnikov, and mezzo-soprano Polina Shamaeva.
Quite recently, our lives were divided into “Before” and “After,” and no one knew the ordeal that was in store. We were separated from loved ones nearby and abroad, in some cases forever. There is no person whom the worldwide tragedy has spared: the coronavirus pandemic was a “blow” that disconnected almost all of us from society.
“Chants of the Divine Liturgy” by Michail Kotelnikov was premiered by the Moscow Synodal Choir during the Divine Liturgy on June 14, 2020 at the Joy of All Who Sorrow Church in Moscow. It was later recorded by the Youth Moscow Synodal Choir. Repeatedly, the recording had to be stopped: the choristers could not hold back the tears caused by the music.
The chants will be performed by Moscow Synodal Choir, conducted by Michail Kotelnikov.
Eli Tamar composed his Requiem in 2020-2021 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and dedicated it to the memory of its victims. Based on selected texts of the Catholic mass for the dead, the work also features the text of the Jewish prayer for the departed “El Male Rachamim” (God full of mercy). The soloist in the composition represents the mourner as an individual, and as a leader of a “Congregation” (choir).
The Requiem will be performed by Moscow Synodal Choir, mezzo-soprano Polina Shamaeva, and conducted by Michail Kotelnikov.
Russian native Michail is a graduate of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory under L.Z. Kontorovich, People’s Artist of Russia. Michail Kotelnikov is one of Russia’s leading young conductors and composers and laureate of many international competitions and festivals. He also participates as a conductor in divine services with the participation of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. His concert career as a conductor began in 2012. Since then, Michail has performed at the best concert venues of Russia, such as the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, the Moscow International House of Music, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Kremlin Palace, and many others. Currently, he is the founder, artistic director, and conductor of musical groups including the Voice Fusion Choir, the Moscow Conservatory Youth Choir, and the Synodal Youth Choir.
Eli Tamar’s multicultural background has contributed to his ability to explore and synthesize elements of different styles, overcoming spiritual barriers between various musical, literary, and religious traditions. His compositions were featured in such venues as St. Paul's Knightsbridge Church in London, American Church in Paris, Rachmaninov Hall at Moscow Conservatory, Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, San Marcello al Corso Church in Rome, “De Boni Arte” Foundation series of sacred music and “Great Names in Art” – Charitable Foundation in Russia, Diaghilev Festival in Perm, and Prism concerts in New York. Many of his compositions have been premiered by the renowned Russian countertenor, soloist of the Metropolitan Opera, Andrey Nemzer. In 2021 Eli Tamar served on the jury of the First International Competition of Christian Music Composers, held in Moscow.
Russian native Michail is a graduate of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory under L.Z. Kontorovich, People’s Artist of Russia. Michail Kotelnikov is one of Russia’s leading young conductors and composers and laureate of many international competitions and festivals. He also participates as a conductor in divine services with the participation of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. His concert career as a conductor began in 2012. Since then, Michail has performed at the best concert venues of Russia, such as the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, the Moscow International House of Music, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Kremlin Palace, and many others.Currently, he is the founder, artistic director, and conductor of musical groups including the Voice Fusion Choir, the Moscow Conservatory Youth Choir, and the Synodal Youth Choir.
Polina has performed as a soloist at the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, the International House of Music, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Red Square, the State Kremlin Palace, Megaro Mousikis Athinon (Greece), Hungarian State Opera (Hungary), The Symphony Hall (Osaka, Japan), Minato Mirai Hall (Yokohama, Japan), and Auditorio de Tenerife (Spain). She has also taken part in many festivals including the International Festival of Colmar in France, Rheingau Musik Festival in Germany, Moscow Easter Festival, Arts Festival “Transfiguration” in Yaroslavl, “Kremlin Evening” in Ryazan, “Lace” in Vologda, Dinara Alieva’s festival “Opera Art,” the International Festival of Modern Music by Sofia Gubaidulina, “Concordia” in Kazan, Russia, the Musical Festival of Vasily Laduk “Opera Live,” the International Festival “de Musica de Canarias,” and others. Polina Shamaeva has worked with Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Spivakov, Mikhail Pletnev, Thomas Sanderling, Vladimir Fedoseev, Vladimir Yurovsky, Alexander Sladkovsky, and other known conductors.
Moscow Synodal Choir
The Synodal Choir, one of the oldest professional choirs in Russia, was founded in Moscow in 1721. The Patriarchal Choir of singing sextons, originally established in the 16th century, served as a basis for the Synodal Choir. Initially, the Patriarchal Choir included only male singers from the clergy. The singing remained monophonic until the middle of the 17th century; later on, the choir began singing polyphonic scores which brought children’s voices (altos and child sopranos) into the group. When the Patriarchate was abolished in 1700, the choir became known as “Sobornal” (“cathedral”) and joined the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Kremlin. Following the establishment of the Holy Synod in 1721, the choir was transferred to this congregation and became known as the Synodal Choir.
At the turn of the 19th–20th centuries, the choir’s repertoire had greatly expanded. Many Moscow composers wrote specially for the Synodal Choir. At one point in time, even Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky took an active part in the choir’s activities.
Today’s Moscow Synodal Choir was revived in 2009 when Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk was appointed Father Superior of the Church of the Joy of All Who Sorrow. Over many years, under the direction of N. Matveyev, the choir recorded and propagated Russian sacred music on gramophone records. Alexey Puzakov became one of the choirmasters of the Skorbyashchenskiy Church (All Who Sorrow) in the 1980s.
Besides participating in solemn liturgies, the Moscow Synodal Choir also performs concert programs. The choir works with the Russian National Orchestra and the P.I. Tchaikovsky Grand Symphony Orchestra. It is also involved in programs designed for Moscow Christmas and Easter festivals and important international church projects.
Alexey Puzakov, Honored Artist of Russia, is artistic director of the Moscow Synodal Choir.