TO THE SOBBING OF THE BELLS
With the support of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Lyrica Classic presents a concert of symphony and choral music at Moscow International House of Music
“To the Sobbing of the Bells”
As a part of the International Music festival
Dedicated to Sergei Rachmaninoff’s 150th Birthday Anniversary
“Requiem” by Eli Tamar
Mass for mixed choir and mezzo-soprano solo in 14 movements
Performed by the Moscow Synodal Choir and Ensemble Arielle, conducted by Arif Dadashev, and soloist of the Metropolitan Opera and ensemble MusicAeterna, countertenor Andrey Nemzer.
“The Bells” by Sergei Rachmaninoff
Vocal-symphonic poem on the poetry by Edgar Allan Poe, translated by Konstantin Balmont, for soloists, choir, and orchestra in four parts
Performed by the Moscow Synodal Choir, the Arielle Ensemble, and the Voce Anima Orchestra conducted by Arif Dadashev, and soloists: soprano Yulia Petrachuk, tenor Sergey Ababkin, bass Grigory Soloviov.
Concert Broadcast – I part
Lyrica Classic YouTube Channel
Concert Broadcast from the House of Music
TV Soyuz YouTube Channel
“To the Sobbing of the Bells” concert program includes two large-scale choral works – “Requiem” by the contemporary American-Israeli composer Eli Tamar and the poem for soloists, choir, and orchestra “The Bells” by the Russian-American composer Sergei Rachmaninoff performed by the Moscow Synodal Choir, the Arielle vocal ensemble and the Voce Anima orchestra under the direction of the leading conductor of the Stanislavsky Musical Theatre and Mariinsky Theater, Arif Dadashev, as well as the leading soloists of the world music scene:
One of the main artists of the evening is the famous video artist Sue Slagle, a Creative Capital award winner, and a MacDowell Fellow; she was featured in The Wire, BoingBoing magazines, and in the book Programming Media MIT Press. Her digital works specially created for festival concerts are projected onto large screens during performances. Sue uses the latest technology and invents her own. Her digital visual worlds are created with the active participation of composers. The artist does not use digital graphics or ready-made video materials in her work. She makes her worlds with her hands. A live recording on camera of the action of her hands with various objects is not an illustration of music but an independent voice of the composition’s score.
Eli Tamar began work on his “Requiem” in 2020, at the height of the coronavirus epidemic. The work was completed in 2021 and is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the pandemic. The composer chose the texts for his requiem from two sources: a Catholic funeral mass and a Jewish prayer for the dead, “El Male Rahamim” (“God full of mercy”). The work consists of 14 movements and is built according to the concerto principle, with a pronounced dialogue between solo and tutti. On a symbolic level, the soloist in “Requiem” personifies both the grieving individual and the community leader represented in the music by the choir.
The world premiere of “Requiem” was performed in 2021 at the Sobornaya Palata in Moscow by the Moscow Synodal Choir, conducted by Michael Kotelnikov, and the renowned mezzo-soprano Polina Shamaeva, soloist of the Novaya Opera Theater and the Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest.
“The Bells” is Sergei Rachmaninoff’s most significant and major work of the early 1910s, designated in the score as “a poem for symphony orchestra, choir, and soloists.” “The Bells” are among the outstanding Russian musical works on the eve of the First World War and were first performed in 1913 in St. Petersburg by the choir, soloists, and orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater conducted by the composer.
This work is based on a poem by the American writer Edgar Allan Poe. Rachmaninoff’s focus is not on individual human destinies but on a Man with a capital letter whose appearance and private-individual features have been erased. Likewise, the choir represents not a living mass of people but Mankind in a state of extreme confusion and horror before an imminent impending catastrophe.
Arif Dadashev, conductor
Graduated from the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory (class of choral and operatic-symphony conducting), over the years, Arif has been Principal Conductor of the Ryazan Regional Musical Theatre and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra of the Pavel Slobodkin Centre as well as a conductor of the St Petersburg Theatre of Musical Comedy.
The artist founded and headed the Arielle Chamber Orchestra. Since 2014 he has been a conductor of the Moscow Operetta Theatre, where in his capacity as Music Director, he has worked on numerous productions.
Arif Dadashev is currently a conductor of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre and the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Saratov Regional Philharmonic Society.
Since 2015 he has collaborated with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra (under the direction of Pavel Kogan) and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra Musica Viva. In 2017, he made his debuts with the Russian National Orchestra, the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia (Svetlanov Symphony Orchestra), the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, and the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra (under the direction of Ivan Rudin). That same year the artist joined the trainee-conductor team of the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia. Since 2015 he has been a conductor of the Summer Ballet Seasons at the Russian Academic Youth Theatre.
In 2019, at the invitation of the Musa Jalil Tatar State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, as part of the Fyodor Chaliapin International Opera Festival, Arif Dadashev staged The Tsar’s Bride. That same year he staged Minkus’ ballet Don Quixote at the Opera Śląska (Silesian Opera; Bytom, Poland) and Lehár’s operetta Die lustige Witwe at the Jan Kiepura Mazovian Music Theatre (Warsaw). Has collaborated with the Anadolu Symphony Orchestra (Eskişehir, Turkey), the Prattica Terza baroque music ensemble (St Petersburg), and many other ensembles as well as the St Petersburg Chamber Opera and the Baltic House Theatre-Festival (St Petersburg).
Since 2020 the artist has been conducting Rigoletto at the Mariinsky Theatre, and in 2021 he made his debut at the Stars of the White Nights festival.
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, initially established in the 16th century, served as a basis for the Synodal Choir. Originally, the Patriarchal Choir included only male singers from the clergy. The singing remained monophonic until the middle of the 17th century; later, the choir began singing polyphonic scores, bringing 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, 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 the artistic director of the Moscow Synodal Choir.
Vocal Ensemble Arielle
Arielle was established by its conductor Elmira Dadasheva, a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory. It brings together talented and enthusiastic young people, graduates of the Moscow Conservatory, Gnesins Academy, and the Popov Academy of Choral Art.
The ensemble regularly participates in the programs of the Moscow Conservatory, the Moscow International House of Music, the Concert Hall of the Gnesins Russian Academy of Music, the Russian National Museum of Music, the Lutheran Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, the Central Museum of Ancient Russian Culture and Art of Andrei Rublev, the State Tretyakov Gallery, etc. The ensemble performed on the stage of the Moscow Academic Musical Theater of Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko and Mariinsky Theater, at the festivals “Moscow Spring a cappella,” “Summer of the Lord” (Suzdal), “See the Music,” the International Lenten Choir Festival, the Moscow Easter Festival, and the Tevlin International Autumn Choir Festival. Arielle was a resident choir of the opera and symphony laboratory New Opera World.
In 2021 they presented the European premiere of Linda Kathleen Smith’s chamber opera Facing South at the Rachmaninov Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, and in 2022 Arielle participated in the world premiere of Alina Podzorova’s children’s opera The Princess and the Swineherd.
Voce Anima, symphony orchestra
The orchestra “VOCE ANIMA” was founded in 2012 in Moscow by a Gnesins Russian Academy of Music graduate, Alexei Medvedev. The orchestra’s repertoire includes works by classical and contemporary composers, military-patriotic music, and programs for children and youth. But sacred music occupies a special place in the orchestra’s repertoire.
In 2020, VOCE ANIMA performed several Russian premieres of spiritual works by foreign composers: the oratorio “Theophanes the Greek and St. Andrei Rublev” by Greek composer Savvas Karatzias, “Requiem” by N. Iomelli, the oratorio “Andrei Rublev” by Italian composer Monsignor Marco Frisina, and the oratorio “Requiem for the Fallen” by American-Belgian composer Emmanuel Dubois. The orchestra also performed the Russian premiere of J. Tavener’s “Elizabeth Filled with Grace” and the online performance of the English version of the oratorio “St. Matthew Passion” by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev). The orchestra has performed at various concert venues in Moscow, such as the famous Moscow Concert Hall “Zaryadye,” the Great Hall of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, the Tretyakov Gallery, the Column Hall of the House of Unions, the Hall of Church Cathedrals, the Central Museum of Musical Culture, and many others. The orchestra has also performed with renowned conductors such as Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), Honored Artist of Russia Alexey Puzakov, Monsignor Marco Frisina, and others.
Today the orchestra is conducted by its artistic director and graduate of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Michail Kotelnikov.
Andrey Nemzer, countertenor
Andrey Nemzer is a countertenor who has been a soloist of the musicAeterna choir since 2018.
He graduated from the Sveshnikov Choral College, the Popov Academy of Choral Art (Moscow), and a graduate programme of Duquesne University (USA). He is the winner of the Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition (2012) and Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition (2014; III Prize).
He was the lead singer of the Mendelssohn in Pittsburgh, a soloist of the Metropolitan Opera, the San Antonio Opera (USA), the Royal Theatre in Victoria (Canada), took part in the Opera Festival in Pittsburgh, the Salzburg Festival, and many others. He has performed with various vocal and instrumental ensembles including The Pocket Symphony conducted by Nazar Kozhukhar, the Intrada vocal ensemble conducted by Ekaterina Antonenko, Questa Musica ensemble conducted by Philipp Chizhevsky, the Berlin Philharmonic, and maestro Vladimir Yurovsky.
He performs as a soloist in numerous musical and theatrical projects.
Yulia Petrachuk, soprano
Russian-American soprano Yulia Petrachuk studied at Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and is a graduate of Bern Opera Studio in Bern, Switzerland.
Her debut as a professional opera singer was with the State Theater Bern, Switzerland, in 2010. After that, she performed with many other recognized opera companies and concert venues such as Theater Biel (Switzerland), Ash Lawn Opera Festival (US), Opera Ischia (Italy), Dicapo Opera Theater in New York (US), Great Moscow Hall (Russia), Vocal Productions NYC (US), Nova and Opera Camerata in Washington, D.C. (US), Smetana Hall in Prague (Czech Republic), Carnegie Hall in New York (US), Musikverein and Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna (Austria), and many others. Yulia specializes in contemporary opera and other forms of vocal music of the 20th and 21st centuries. She has performed many World and US premieres.
Out of her passion and drive to sustain and give lesser-known and unknown music a voice, Yulia Petrachuk founded Lyrica Classic Entertainment as a sounding beacon to deliver superior-level presentation of music. Yulia has robust experience in international performing arts projects, execution, and collaborations in the US and EU.
In addition, through her teaching studio, Ms. Petrachuk instills the love for classical music to new generations.
Grigory Soloviov, bass
He graduated with honors from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory. In 2009 he graduated from the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist’s program under Placido Domingo.
Grigory Soloviov – is the laureate and the finalist of many prestigious international vocal competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions in Washington, DC, the XIII International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition, the Giulio Gari Foundation Competition, the Competition Opera Index and the Sullivan Foundation Competition.
He has been performing on the theatres’ stages all around the world, among which there are Metropolitan Opera, Gran Teatro La Fenice, the Washington National Opera, Bolshoi Theatre, Opera theatre in Chicago, the Sarasota Opera, Helikon-opera, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Opéra National de Lyon, Opera Tour, Opéra De Montréal, the Palm Beach Opera, Connecticut Grand Opera, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, New Rome Opera Festival, and the Ischia Opera Festival.
Since 2016, Grigory has been the leading soloist of the Moscow Musical Theatre “Helikon-opera.”
Sergey Ababkin, tenor
Sergey is graduate of the St. Petersburg State Conservatory, named after N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov (2017). Since 2019, he has been studying at the La Scala Theater Academy. Ababkin is a laureate of the International Competition “Romanciada” (1st prize, Moscow, 2011), a laureate of the International Competition named after A. Lo Forese (2nd prize, Milan, 2018), and a finalist of the International Competition of Vocalists named after B. Franchi (2018, Pienza).
In the 2015/16 season, he performed the roles of Don Jose (Carmen by Bizet) at the Hermitage Theatre, Antonio (Betrothal in a Monastery by Prokofiev) at the Opera for Everyone festival in St. Petersburg, Duke and Alfredo ( “Rigoletto” and “La Traviata” by Verdi), Lykov (“The Tsar’s Bride” by Rimsky-Korsakov), Lensky and Vaudemont (“Eugene Onegin” and “Iolanta” by Tchaikovsky), as well as the Young Gypsy (“Aleko” by Rachmaninoff).
From 2016 to 2018, he worked at the Staatsoper Hamburg opera studio (Hamburg), where he performed proles in the operas The Magic Flute by Mozart, Salome by Strauss, Dialogues of the Carmelites by Poulenc, Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti, Prince Igor by Borodin, The Flying Dutchman and Parsifal by Wagner, Madame Butterfly by Puccini, Wozzeck by Berg, Beautiful Elena by Offenbach, Fidelio by Beethoven, Aida by G. Verdi, Miriveys by Telemann.
In the 2017/18 season, he participated in the productions of “Garbage, Coward, Villain!” based on the opera The Magic Flute by Mozart (Monostatos part) in Shanghai (China) and the opera La Bohème by Puccini (Rodolfo part) in the city of Daegu (Korea). He also performed the role of Rodolfo in December 2018 at the Plovdiv National Opera House (Bulgaria).
Sergey also participated in productions of the La Scala Theater – “La Traviata” by Verdi (as Alfredo), “Khovanshchina” by Mussorgsky (as Kuzka Streshnev), “The Dead City” by Korngold (as Quiz).
Sue Slagle, digital artist
Sue Slagle, who goes by the stage name SUE-C, is a video and light artist working at the intersection of creative coding and live performance. For the past 18 years, she has created handmade videos and live media performances, traveling extensively in Europe and the US. Her works challenge the norms of photography, video, and technology by blending them all into an organic and improvisational live performance setting. Employing a variety of digital tools to create an experimental animation “instrument,” she synthesizes cinema from photographs, drawings, watercolors, handmade papers, fabrics and miniature lighting effects.
Sue Slagle (SUE-C) is an award-winning artist, engineer and educator whose work in “real time cinema” presents a new, imaginative perspective on live performance. Her evolution as a new media artist began in late-90s San Francisco where she was an influential member of the electronic music scene, owning the experimental record label Orthlorng Musork, organizing audio-visual cultural events and teaching the first creative coding classes in Max Software. After finishing her masters degree in engineering at UC Berkeley she moved to Oakland where she became co-owner of the Ego Park gallery and helped launch the First Friday art walks.
Sue is a Creative Capital awardee and MacDowell Fellow and has been covered in The Wire magazine, BoingBoing and the MIT Press book Programming Media. She has performed at the Library of Congress, REDCAT, Ars Electronica, MUTEK, SONAR, Ann Arbor Film Festival, NPR’s Tiny Desk and Transmediale, collaborating with musicians such as Morton Subotnick, Luc Ferrari, Laetitia Sonami, AGF, Paul DeMarinis, Wobbly, Ava Mendoza and Negativland. Her video installations have been exhibited at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, LaBoral and Marco Museum. She has held adjunct positions at George Mason University, Mills College, California College of the Arts, Portland Community College and the San Francisco Art Institute and has lectured at Stanford, UCLA and internationally. She is supported by the Maryland State Arts Council as a member of their Touring Artist Roster and has toured the west coast, southwest and east coast in 2021–22, in addition to the UK/EU in 2019.
Sergei Rachmaninov was born on April 1, 1873, in the Oneg estate of the Novgorod province. From a young age, the boy began to show a special interest in music, so his mother, Lyubov Petrovna, began to teach him to play the instrument from the age of four. When Sergei Vasilyevich was nine years old, the whole family was forced to move to live in the northern capital, as their estate was sold for debts.
The father of the future composer left the family, so one mother now took care of the children. It was she who decided to give Sergei exactly the musical education, as she originally wanted. Soon Rachmaninov was admitted to the junior department at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. But the boy did not work out with his studies because he preferred to spend time on the street and not at the piano. Then, on the advice of Alexander Siloti, who was Rakhmaninov’s cousin, it was decided to transfer the young musician to the Moscow Conservatory, class of Zverev. This teacher has long been famous for his special system of educating gifted students. He chose two or three talented children from the class and took them to his home for full board. There, Nikolai Sergeevich taught his students discipline, the highest organization, and systematic studies, dealing with each of them individually. In 1887, Rachmaninoff began composing and recording his first works. At that time, Taneev became his teacher in counterpoint. Sergei Vasilyevich graduated from the conservatory in two classes – piano (1891) and composition (1892). His graduation work was the opera “Aleko,” created by him in just seventeen days. For his essay, he received the highest score of “5+”. In 1892, Sergei Vasilyevich first appeared before the public as a pianist with his famous Prelude in C sharp minor, which became a real gem of his work. In 1897, the long-awaited premiere of the First Symphony took place, on which Rachmaninov had been working for a long time. After this concert, which was extremely unsuccessful for the composer, he did not compose anything for three years, as the work failed. The public and ruthless critics greeted the symphony negatively, and Rachmaninov himself was extremely disappointed. As a result, he destroyed the score, forbidding it ever to be performed. Leaving the composition for a while, Sergei Vasilievich came to grips with performing activities. In 1900, he returned to his favorite pastime and began to write the Second Piano Concerto. Following him, other popular works of the composer come out. In 1906, Rachmaninoff left his permanent job at the Mariinsky Women’s College, where he taught music theory, to take up creativity. In 1917, the composer and his family went to Sweden with a concert program, and it was assumed that they would return in two months. However, as it turned out, they said goodbye to their native lands forever. Soon the Rachmaninoff family moved to America. Americans greatly appreciated the talent of Sergei Vasilyevich and considered him a world-class pianist. He had to work hard and hard, preparing concert programs, sometimes because of which his hands hurt a lot. During this period, Rachmaninoff again takes a long break and does not compose anything for almost eight years. Only in 1926 did the Fourth Piano Concerto appear from his pen. In 1931, the Rachmaninoff family bought a plot on the lake in Switzerland, and soon the Senar villa appeared there. Here, he created his iconic compositions – the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and the Third Symphony. The composer wrote symphonic dances in 1940, and this was his last work. On March 28, 1943, the seriously ill Rachmaninoff died in the circle of his family in Beverly Hills, USA.
Eli Tamar’s compositions have been recognized for their high emotional intensity and personal expression.
His multicultural background has been a contributing factor in his ability to synthesize elements of different styles while transcending spiritual barriers between diverse musical, literary, and religious traditions.
His sacred works were presented in such venues as Congress Graz Stefaniensaal in Austria; Catholic Cathedral and Sobornaya Palata in Moscow; Zeglebiowsky International Organ Festival in Poland; St. Paul’s Knightsbridge of London in the U.K.; American Church in Paris; Rachmaninov Hall at Moscow Conservatory; San Marcello al Corso in Rome; and St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh. Since 2021 many of his works have been featured in concerts of Lyrica Classic Entertainment Company (Washington, D.C.) In 2021 he represented the U.S. on the jury of the First International Competition of Christian Music Composers. Among his dedicatees are Metropolitan Opera soloist Andrey Nemzer, the Bolshoi Theatre soloist Yekaterina Scherbachenko, Moscow State Philharmonia soloists Pavel Bykov and Svetlana Polianskaia, soprano Charlene Canty and bass Guenko Guechev. Among other soloists-performers of his vocal works – Musikverein Vienna soloist mezzo-soprano Hermine Haselbock, Viener Staatsoper soloist soprano Elisabeta Marin, Moscow Great Hall soloist soprano Yulia Petrachuk, Hungarian State Opera House soloist mezzo-soprano Polina Shamaeva, and Tchaikovsky Concert Hall soloist soprano Natalia Pavlova. Tamar’s works were featured by Moscow Synodal Choir, Elysian Singers (London), Edgewood Symphony Orchestra, Duquesne Symphony Orchestra and Contemporary Ensemble, Russian “XX Century” chamber ensemble, Chrysalis Duo, Jerusalem Chamber Music Group, and Tel Aviv Young String Quartet among others. He composed for flutists Alberto Almarza and Lindsey Goodman, violinist Genaro Medina and Mark Daniel van Biemen (Concertgebouw Orchestra), and cellists Felix Wang and Misha Quint. In 2020 his “Lacrymae” for violin solo was featured in Altoona Symphony Orchestra Musician Spotlight Series. The composer’s instrumental music was presented at Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, Prism concerts in New York, U3 New Music Festival, Diaghilev Festival in Perm, Russia, Prokofiev Museum and Jurgensen Chamber Hall in Moscow, Pittsburgh Concert Society, as well as at numerous colleges in the U.S. In 2016 Tamar’s sacred works were released in the U.S. by Navona Records (“Eli Tamar: Laudato Si”). In 2011 Eli Tamar co-produced the American-Russian award-winning independent film “Leningrad”, for which he composed the soundtrack. The film received the Russian Guild of Film Critics’ award at the International Film Festival “Spirit of Fire” (Russia) in 2014 and won the Grand Prix at the Yeysk Film Festival. Eli Tamar earned his M.M. from Tel-Aviv University and his Ph.D. in composition from the University of Pittsburgh.
Between 2002-2011 Dr. Tamar served on the musicianship faculty of the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. His contribution to the American education system was recognized in “Who’s Who Among American Teachers- Honoring Our Nation’s Most Respected Teachers” (2006-2007).
This concert is funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.