Voices from Russia

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Video. Любовь святая. Holy Love. Composed by Georgi Sviridov, words by Aleksei Tolstoy.

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This is one of the most moving and tragic pieces in the Russian choral literature. One could say that it is Sviridov’s “requiem” for all those who perished in the Bolshevik repressions. Usually it is sung with a mixed chorus, with the solo taken by a soprano, but, this recording uses a male chorus (the “Optyna Pustyn” Male Chorus from Russia) with a counter-tenor soloist (Dmitri Popov). The background vocals appear to transposed down a fifth in comparison with the mixed choir version. Originally, this was written as incidental music to a play by Aleksei Tolstoy, it was the only way that such music could be written in the Soviet period. The words are simple:

Thou art Holy Love,
From the beginning, thou wert persecuted,
Covered in blood.
Thou art Holy Love.

Spare a prayer for the millions lost in the repressions.

Vechnaya Pamyat

BMD

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