MOSCOW, April 16 (Itar-Tass) — A choral music concert at the Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Savior opened a choral program of the 11th Moscow Easter Festival on Monday. Stabat Mater, a music piece written by Metropolitan Ilarion, the head of external relations department of the Moscow Patriarchy, was performed at the Congress Hall of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior for the second time after the Christmas festival of church music held last January.
“A choral program is a good chance for broad audiences to get to know the classical music of the past and works by contemporary composers,” the metropolitan said. He added that paschal themes were dominating in the choral program much more than in other programs of the Easter festival.
“Church music is permeated with a high feeling of God’s presence. That makes it different from secular themes. A church music composer is a person who conveys a bond that links a human being to God through music sounds,” Metropolitan Ilarion went on to say.
More than 20 church and academic choirs from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Latvia and Israel are participating in the choral program. They will give a total of 54 concerts in 18 Russian towns and cities, including Tula, Kolomna, Suzdal, Fryanovo, Pushchino, Oryol, Dmitrov, Elektrostal, Tuchkovo, Yegorievsk, Segiev Posad, Murom, Aleksandrov, Pushkin, Zaraisk, Serpukhov and Gus-Khrustalny. Most concerts will be charitable. The proceeds gained from sold tickets will be handed over to low-income people, Lyudmila Pavlova, the choral program’s curator, told Itar-Tass.
The choral program will end with a gala concert on May 6.
Metropolitan Ilarion of Volokolamsk has created an original genre of Russian church choral oratories to liturgical texts. His music is based on tonal technique and polyphony, intonations of Russia church singing, the elements of music baroque and the style of Russian 20th century composers.
A 13th-century Latin text believed to belong to Italian poet Jacopone da Todi lies at the heart of Stabat Mater. It tells about the feat and prayer of the Mother of God near Christ’s Cross. The music piece consists of four parts.
The annual Moscow Easter festival kicked off in the Russian capital on Sunday. Concerts will be held in 30 Russian towns and cities as well as in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. It will attract world famous stars such as Denis Matsuyev, Olga Borodina, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Olli Mustonen and Christian Blackshaw.
The Moscow Easter Festival is being held for the eleventh time on the initiative of Valery Gergiev and with the blessing of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill. A total of one hundred fifty concerts will be held from April 15 to May 9.
The festival will end with a gala concert on Moscow’s Poklonnaya Hill on May 9.