Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Paul Hillier and mystery of missing movements
Hard on the heels of my post about concerts getting shorter comes the mystery of the missing movements in Rachmaninov’s All-night Vigil. On Friday (May 4) the 2007 Norwich & Norfolk Festival opens with a concert in Norwich Cathedral by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir conducted by Paul Hillier (pictured above).
The first half of the concert is a treasure-trove of Orthodox church music, Kedrov, Pärt, Tchaikovsky and Kreek, although at 28 minutes it is not the most generous of programmes. But then comes the mystery. The second half is the Rachmaninov All-night Vigil Op. 37 with the first two sections of the Matins service (The Six Psalms and Praise the Name of the Lord) omitted. This cut removes just over four minutes of music from a 55 minute work.
The reason for the cut completely escapes me, and a call to the festival organisers came up with no explanation. The newly released recording of the All-night Vigil by the same forces on Harmonia Mundi is, of course, complete. Can any reader solve the mystery of the missing movements?
Stop press: just as I was about to upload this post the following email was received - I'll keep you posted:
Hi Bob, I’m chasing Paul Hillier, the Estonians’ conductor, for the answer to your question about the Rachmaninov.
Meanwhile, I’m delighted that you remain such an avid supporter and follower of the Festival! When I see articles like the one in the Guardian a few weeks ago bemoaning Norwich’s lack of arts festival – despite the fact that we are now one of the dozen largest city festivals in the uk – it takes the support of people like you to remind me why we do it. Thank you.
Norfolk & Norwich Festival
* On the same path I offer you the ultimate time travel. After the Norwich concert Paul Hillier and the Estonian choir travel to the superb new Perth concert hall in Scotland. On Monday they give a lunchtime concert, the programme is the All-night Vigil!
Now read about another unorthodox take by Paul Hillier on a familiar work
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