The major work on Chorale’s upcoming concert is the Vespers portion of Einojuhani Rautavaara’s All-Night Vigil (Vigilia). In Orthodox tradition, the All-Night Vigil is a liturgy including both Vespers and Matins that prepares participants for a major feast day. Rautavaara (1928-2016), perhaps the best-known contemporary Finnish composer, composed Vigilia specifically in memory of St. John the Baptist, who announced the coming of Christ and then was beheaded by Herod, at the behest of Salome. The work was inspired by his visit, as a young boy, to the island monastery of Valamo, in Finland’s Lake Ladoga—an experience that remained in the composer’s mind as an overwhelming vision of domes, bells, and icons. Rautavaara’s stirring music has a raw, visceral, yet euphoric quality that is totally unique in twentieth-century a cappella repertoire.
Rautavaara composed the two sections of Vigilia for separate events, Vespers in 1971 and Matins in 1972, and later combined them into a single concert work. In his foreword to the published score, he writes:Read More